October 5, 2009

DvH 200907 Marina del Rey, California

penthouse re-model

This style has evolved; it is refined-like sugar.
There is no clutter and the final appearance does not depend on accessories,
the concept was strongly formulated from the start...
...clear-cut, pared-down, absolutely to the point.
Less is always more and compromise anathema. 
It is as simple as that.

September 6, 2009

DvH200904 Trastevere, Rome, Italy
Apartment re-model

Your first look at the Trastevere may be somewhat perplexing, even disappointing. Just what, you wonder, do Romans find so glamorous about this old neighborhood? Narrow, poorly paved alleys with no sidewalks wind among strangely shaped houses, their tile roofs seething with chimneys.
This colorful section of the old city slid into less-than genteel poverty several centuries ago, only to be 'discovered' in the 1960's. Suddenly, the Trastevere became the place to Live. Any scrap of property with restoration potential was scooped up by architects equipped with skill and imagination.
The Trastevere's impoverished veneer hides an impressive heritage. Here was the home of Raphael's favorite model, called Fornarina, who, with her eyes amandine, posed as modest Madonna and equally demure nude in 1515. But the Trastevere's foundations long predate Raphael. In fact, they helped Emperor Augustus fortify Rome an A.D. 271 against barbarian attacks from the north. The walls survived countless assaults in the intervening centuries, only to be left in ruins after the struggle for unification of Italy in 1870. Numerous proposals urged razing them, but in the end, conservation carried the day.
All creative tools will be needed to transform this clients tiny hole-in-the-wall into a compact elegant home. The apartment offers little separation of space and none of the assets that enhance the popular Roman palazzi: no fine ceiling; none of those majestic staircases or loggias; the ceilings are low and rustically beamed. The windows are small, and the staircase narrow and off balance. But, despite these drawbacks, we will make the apartment blossom.
The apartment is an integral part of the enclosing walls.
Its terrace is the roof of one of the city gates and was overlaid with pink marble in the 15th century. The layout of this long terrace with its terra cotta floor will provide a pleasant setting for entertaining. A light staircase connects upper and lower levels of the apartment.
A survivor of mean streets and tougher times, this unique niche will once again welcome company graciously.

September 5, 2009

DvH200902 Dalmatia, Croatia
private Gallery remodel 

The new gallery is a beautifully crafted architectural structure nestled in gently rolling hills.
What will not be so obvious is the structure’s responsiveness to environmental sustainability.
The building and gardens embrace green principles. Thus the environmental functionality of the structure was designed to build and operate in a sustainable manner: controlled water runoff, enhanced energy efficiency, climate-control systems, and responsible landscaping practices.
The building was designed to allow a consistency of natural illumination into the gallery. The play of light will begin with the surrounding landscape to catch the changing light of the day; it continues into the gallery with daylight illumination, which will provide a large percentage of the lighting required to view the art under optimal visual conditions. Exterior louvers above the skylights will emit only indirect north light into the gallery, while lenses and diffusing filters control daylight exposure in order to conform to art conservation standards.
The windows consist of a ceramic frit pattern within the glass screens. In addition, roof-mounted photocells will signal changing sunlight conditions, allowing track lighting and shading systems to be optimally tuned for protection of the collection and heat-gain control. The lighting is programmed to complement the works of art during the day and provide full illumination after the sun has set to help reduce energy consumption. Each time you enter the gallery it will have a slightly different feel as lighting conditions shift and transform.
The gallery was upgraded with more than 50-percent recycled materials and is about 40-percent more energy efficient than standard buildings.

August 10, 2009

DvH 200903 Sonoma County, California
Small winery and artist retreat

Artists and Isolation…
… are a potent mix. The hypnotic sense of privacy offered by the best caravansaries brings out the most creative tendencies. Granted they also have been self-destructive. Writers, painters, and musicians have dissolved in such places and the annals of Rock-and-Roll’s music ‘greats’ have the most public and notoriously self-destructive stories to tell. Howard Hughes lost his mind, a little more discreetly, looping a Rock Hudson film in his room at the Las Vegas Desert Inn, completely succumbing to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Nevertheless, there are retreats that bring out the best and I will design such a place. In other words, I will put the needle to the record and let the music play without calling the paramedics.

Picture perfect.
First minimalist, than rien. Stripped to its essence, since artists are sensitive to, and often distracted by, strong colors and objects, the interiors will remain blissfully ‘undecorated’. A neutral color and texture scheme will carry throughout the main house and the guest cabins. Colors and textures will come from the artists’ contributions and the surrounding landscape.

August 1, 2009

DvH 200905 Decker Canyon, Los Angeles, California
residential (new concept design) re-model

This is Hamburg calling. “Is this DvH design?” and then a man’s voice on the telephone, a civilized voice. Mr. X announces himself. I did not know him, but friends had told him to contact me. He spoke with the faintest trace of a German accent- “I just bought a property in your town,” and then the smallest hesitation. “Do you know of anybody who would do it up for me?” Hesitation then on my part. “Why yes…” And then obviously having gathered up his courage Mr. X comes out with it: “Would you consider doing it yourself, including the landscaping?” I understand the property is near you. Go and look at it and tell me what you think.” And then with amusement, “It’s almost a ruin.” I accepted. Mr. X said he would call again the next morning after I had seen the place. No sleeping dogs here, I thought. The house proved to be anything but a ruin and the architect responsible for the restoration met with me and showed me around. Young and efficient, a native of the area, he understood and respected the local building traditions –how one wishes more people of his calling had the same qualities-what alterations there will have to be made will be made with tact. In fact, it will be difficult to notice exactly where the changes will occur. Lost at the end of a long winding road, the house has a magnificent view over the area with not another building in sight. It is a small house and will stay that way, thank you. The following day Mr. X arrived. “Do you like the place?” Immediately he put me at ease. “My wife and I hate decorated spaces and dark colors. I have seen your work and I know you will make everything white.” “ Well, not quite,” I answered. “That’s all right, that’s fine with me. Everything is to be very simple, you understand?” I understood. Mr. X wanted to have the house as a retreat from the pressure of his life and his constant travels. He gave me the guiding lines and has left me to it.

All native plantings have been enhanced. Mature trees were kept, ‘naturally’. A sunken garden has been added. The view was left unobstructed. The guesthouse garden has been re-terraced. Stone structures, woodwork, iron & tile work have been left in their original state. Interior and exterior color and texture schemes are subdued to compliment and harmonize with the surrounding landscape. All furnishings were custom designed and built.

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February 3, 2009

DvH200901 Malibu, California

residential (new concept design) re-model

On any sunny afternoon, it's impossible to travel anywhere along Malibu's coast and miss the hundreds of wet-suited surfers paddling out into the big blue. Every new wave rolling into the shore, presents a new and exciting challenge putting the surfer one step closer to the wave of their lives. On any sunny afternoon, it's impossible to travel anywhere along Malibu's coast and miss the hundreds of wet-suited surfers paddling out into the big blue. Every new wave rolling into the shore, presents a new and exciting challenge putting the surfer one step closer to the wave of their lives.
One thing for certain about Malibu, this is not your standard cookie-cutter residential community. Compared to the large tracts of monolithic housing that stretch out all over the southland, Malibu is a small cobblestone of intriguing residential structures, that are as creative and inspiring as the individuals that build them.
From the rocky heights of the Santa Monica Mountains to the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific, Malibu's unique geography provides a diverse landscape onto which the architects has applied their visions and talents. With the creation of the new 'GOING GREEN' movement, Malibu strives to be on the forefront of supporting new techniques to sustain our beautiful landscape.

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January 7, 2009

DvH 200805 Hammamet Bay, Tunisia
residential (new concept design) re-model

The resort of Hammamet Bay is often described as the St Tropez of Tunisia situated on the Gulf of Hammamet. A former fishing village, it has evolved into one of the most popular resorts in Tunisia as it the ideal place from which to discover the country's golden beaches and year-round blue skies. The area is guarded by a 15th century fortress and boasts acres of colorful gardens and miles of wide sandy beaches and sparkling seas.


The house is an “off the grid” new-concept-design. What is new-concept-design? Self-sustained, sustainable construction

It has solar collectors, wind generators and passive solar heating from strategically placed windows and a seawater desalination facility with underground storage tanks. The house is also equipped with a greywater recycling system.

Stone was reused for the home’s retaining walls and foundations. Reclaimed materials was used for floors and fittings, while essentially everything else – from the window frames to the plumbing, wiring and even the fireplace – was recycled. Skylights allow for natural lighting.