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Fogo Island Inn Offers Design Inspiration for Modern Lifestyles

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The Fogo Island Inn located in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada was designed and built by Saunders Architecture. With 29 rooms for guests it is a veritable cornucopia of ideas that can be translated into residential design – starting with the building itself. It is a highly insulated steel frame building with triple pane glazing on the windows to keep the heat in and the cold out. Rainwater from the roof is collected into two cisterns in the basement where it is then filtered and used for the toilet water and the heat sink. The building lies on the land without impacting the adjacent rocks, lichens and berries and the exterior of the building is clad with locally sourced and milled Black Spruce. An outbuilding next to the inn holds storage, wood fired boilers, a backup generator and solar thermal panels on the roof, which provides hot water for in-floor heating, laundry and kitchen equipment. The space between the Inn and the outbuilding creates an entry courtyard that frames the main entrance.

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Each room on the 3rd and 4th floors has a wood-burning stove. In a climate that is used to power outages, this is a cozy way to stay warm while winds prevail outside. The wood burning fireplaces are freestanding models with space to boil a kettle or toast some bread on top. In this location a heat resistant hearth is elliptically shaped and located directly under the stove as though it where an area rug. The wide flight of stairs that leads to the next floor uses the cavity below for wood storage and a simple wooden chair casually waits to be used. This setting could just as easily be recreated in a two storey home, right down to the floor to ceiling windows.

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The bedrooms continue the floor to ceiling windows and the bed is situated in such a way to take advantage of the panorama. The use of a shelving unit as a headboard is a simple solution to keep the bed near the windows while at the same time creating a secondary storage space behind it. Here, the bathtub is part of the bedroom – and yet not. The headboard creates a pony wall division to the bathing area and the sleeping area, while allowing both spaces to soak up the view.

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Not all suites have the bathtub as part of the sleeping zone. Here, the bathtub is part of a large ensuite that includes a walk in shower. Placing the large free standing soaker tub centrally in the room creates that awesome spa feeling, while at the same time freeing up the surrounding walls for the shower, vanity and toilet areas. For an added dimension, a hand braided rug on one side and a small traditional pedestal table on the other gives the bather a setting of comfort and luxury.

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Soaker tubs are just as awesome next to a wall; here a row of pegs along the wall, above the tub offers a great place to store a bathrobe and a few towels. A small chair is a great place to sit and test the water before climbing in and the floor standing faucet makes a beautiful sculptural statement. Simplicity and elegance all in one.

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For the ultimate water experience there is the perennial favourite of a hot tub, or in this case 3 hot tubs. What better way to enjoy the view then on a roof top deck with an outdoor fire crackling against the building. Surveying the ever-changing waters of an ocean on a chilly evening while enjoying the warmth of the water within a hot tub is the ultimate in relaxation.

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To get to the hot tub area you must first traverse the outdoor deck. Here, the deck is kept simply decorated. A few chairs and a table is all that’s needed. What makes the minimalist approach to the space work is the injection of the deep rose red finish of the outdoor furnishings. Against the white washed floor planking and siding, the red makes a statement that is fun and lively without detracting from the view beyond.

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The sitting areas of the various rooms are not large, but they have all they need. The fireplace for warmth, a few chairs in a cozy grouping, an area rug to ground the grouping and a fun pattern on the non view walls.

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The dining area is a large and open space full of banquet style seating. What makes this space unique is the choice of large, intricate mobiles hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling art is a great way to keep a large and tall area feeling smaller and more intimate while at the same time offering visual interest that is only rivaled by the spectacular views.

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Even the outdoors offers inspiration. This collection of posts, all angled slightly differently is as much art as it is a necessary support structure. Walking in and amongst the columns is more like walking through an outdoor installation rather then walking below a building, kids could have so much fun playing here, I can almost hear the laughter.

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Whether looking at the various eco systems implemented in the design of the Fogo Island Inn, the exterior finishes, or the layout of the various spaces, there are so many inspiring features that can easily translate into residential design to give your home that sought after appeal of Hotel Chic.

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Saunders Architecture

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