Perched on the hilltops of the town of Nosara in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Charred Timber House absorbs uplifting views of the Pacific Ocean and of a dense green landscape. Designed by Studio Saxe, the 515 square metre family home features an exterior of charred teak wood and black framed windows. Two extended horizontal roof planes provide protection from the natural elements, whilst also promoting a connection with nature by forming wide and welcoming terraces. The outer environment inspires an interior that is decorated with natural wood and dark, matte materials. Living spaces are open plan and airy, with full focus placed on the special views that are pulled in through floor-to-ceiling walls of glass.
The height of the modern property skims just below the canopy of surrounding trees, effectively blending the house into the natural surroundings. A wide driveway leads up to the house via the density of mature trees, eventually finding full shade beneath a stilted second-story overhang.
A glass column rises through the centre of the structure, framed in crisp white render. A double height expanse of glass reveals the rise of a modern staircase inside. Large terraces wrap around the edges of both floors, extending the usable living space out into the fresh air.
The modern exterior is clad in charred teak wood, which contrasts darkly against the light natural timber overhang of the roof and upper terrace. Black frames trim entire walls of windows on each floor of the home, causing neat squares of reflection.
A pool terrace is bedded at the side of the property, where the cool blue water ripples out toward the view of the Pacific ocean. Tall palm trees provide dappled shade around it.
Plant beds carve into the hillside that rises around the house. A small rustic rock wall borders the base of the slope, guiding the way toward stone steps that aid the ascent through the grounds.
The construction of this home was steered by the weight-bearing capabilities of the soil and the seismic conditions of Costa Rica. In answer, a lightweight steel structure was pre-cut to be assembled quickly on site. Local teak wood was sustainably sourced and treated with the ancient technique of charring and finishing with natural oils.
Split wide open to the dramatic ocean and mountain panorama, the interior is an intense space. Colourful accent furniture vies for attention in the lounge. Multicoloured scatter cushions add to the upbeat palette. A modern rocking chair counteracts the brights with a natural wood frame and neutral upholstery.
The open plan lounge arrangement backs onto a casual dining room setup and an open concept kitchen. An oversized rattan pendant light shade descends onto the dining table, creating a relaxed tropical aesthetic.
Three kitchen bar stools pull up to a kitchen island with a timber construction. Black countertops add visual weight to the light kitchen design.
The unique staircase achieves dramatic effect in the home entryway. A wide column of windows frame views of the ocean and sky.
Not only does the towering stairwell volume add interesting juxtaposition to the architecture, but it aids circulation of air to all parts of the dwelling. The bioclimatic design process of the build considered wind patterns, sun exposure, temperature, and more so that active energy measures could be avoided. In this home, the power of the sun is harnessed to heat water with minimal energy consumption, and water is recycled through filters using state of the art treatment plant systems.
Upstairs, bedroom decor schemes are simple and serene with natural timber furniture, wood slatted wall and ceiling feature panels, and crisp white bed linen. A rustic wooden end of bed bench melds with the unfinished wooden bed design. Modern white bedside units flank the sides for storage. Glass table lamps reflect the daylight from huge bedroom windows.
At the foot of the rustic wooden platform bed, a plain black bedroom rug lays soft texture upon the wood bedroom flooring.
Out on the large bedroom terrace, a small outdoor sofa is positioned to take in the tranquil panorama. The simple sitting area makes an irresistible spot in which to start the day with a fresh cup of hot coffee, or end it with a cold glass of wine.
Dual aspect floor-to-ceiling windows allow the lush mountain view to dominate the interior of the minimalist bedroom too, which negates the need for fussy bedroom wall decor and distracting trinkets.
Exterior lighting makes a warm glow along the edges of the main terrace, washing golden light onto the raw grey concrete ground. Recessed LEDs glow in the base of the overhanging first floor terrace, adding evening illumination to an outdoor sitting area just off the living room.
First floor plan, illustrating the main living space with open plan lounge, kitchen. and dining area.
Second floor plan, showing master bedroom and three additional double rooms.
Front elevation with main entrance.
Section drawing, showing arrangement of private bedroom quarters above the sociable living areas, and the stairwell that aids air circulation between volumes.
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