This modern villa just west of Edinburgh's bustling city centre has been built by ZONE Architects on a plot of land previously designed as a tennis court and garden, and later a playground which was attached to a neighbouring property. The villa, which is made up of 3 separate flats, is surrounded by grand period properties, mostly from the Edwardian and Victorian eras, and the architects have designed the new build with these other houses in mind. The brief that ZONE Architects set themselves was to
create an exceptional contemporary house in an established historic setting which complemented the scale and prestige of the other houses in the area. The project was well received, winning the RIAS Award 2012, and making the shortlist for RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2012.
The idea behind the aesthetic of this house was to draw inspiration from the scale, weight, and effort of extraction of a large block of hewn stone fresh from a quarry, in homage to Edinburgh's long tradition of stone quarrying. The exterior stands out from its Victorian and Edwardian neighbours, but the neutral tones and natural wooden window frames compliment the leafy suburban surroundings. The cubic form of the house is undeniably modern, and gives us a taste of the sharp, contemporary interiors within.
The south facing exterior boasts impressive glazed panels which create a visual flow between the domestic indoor space and the beautifully landscaped garden. Light radiates out from the kitchen and dining area at night, illuminating the garden, whereas during the day, sunlight floods the interior.
A wooden garden terrace frames the lower ground floor, complete with a barbecue and dining area. Just above, a glass balustrade divides off a small, cosy balcony area which leads off from the bedroom. The spotlights above the balcony light up the area at night, providing a warm and welcoming ambience.
Rich hues of green and blue welcome us when we enjoy a birds eye view of the manicured lawn and sophisticated terrace area. The considered design with perfectly pruned borders and freshly cut grass evokes a 'holiday home' vibe, and the garden looks particularly glamorous in the summer sunshine.
The design incorporates various elements, perhaps in a nod to the practice of feng shui—earthy tones of green and brown are complimented by the contained but constantly flowing water feature.
The open plan layout of the internal space suits a busy and sociable family life, whilst providing plenty of relaxing and quiet areas to enjoy 5 minutes of peace. The accommodation is spread over 3 floors with a garage and swimming pool on the lower ground level, living areas on the ground floor, and four bedrooms on the upper level.
This large family living room can hold a large group of people, and if some want to sit and chat whilst others watch T.V., it's no problem. The four seater couch divides up the vast space, closing off a cosy corner for relaxing in front of a screen. The other part of the room is furnished with a modern take on the chaise lounge, which looks extremely inviting if you want to lay your head down for a little while after a long day. There is also a seating area focused around a contemporary glass coffee table, offering an ideal place to catch up over afternoon tea.
The décor in the room is both soothing and refreshing, with a clean colour palette of soft beige, grey and cream. The blue and silver decorations, along with the emotive seascape artwork, adds depth and vibrancy to the room. This is reinforced by the glass walls, spotlights, and white ceiling, which guarantees the room remains light and bright at all times.
The same tiled flooring is employed in the kitchen as in the living area, and is accompanied by crisp white walls and modern white work tops to complete the contemporary look. The row of low hanging ceiling lights add an edge to the design, as well as dispersing light along the kitchen island and throughout the room. The hardwood cabinets lend a classic touch to the kitchen, which blends the best of current and traditional interiors for a tasteful and timeless look.
The dining area is the crowning glory of the lower floor. Looking out over the garden, the green of the grass and the trees beyond appear to be reflected in the interior décor. The light green seat covers provide an injection of colour in the otherwise understated, monochrome dining room. The low-key colour scheme is ideal as it allows the pastoral scene outside to act as the focal point, achieving the architects aim of breaking down the boundary between nature and the home.
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