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Shell shocked: Nautilus inspired concrete live and work home

Washington-based architecture firm created this unusual studio space for a textile artist with an eye for fabulous functionality. According to the architects, “Most artists, if pressed, could produce their work in a bathroom, adapting to their means. Our client wanted a space that would ‘call’ her to create, while maintaining a connection to her family.” Dubbed Nautilus Studio, the home is a reflection of nature’s inspiration. Inside and out, the structure’s organic lines and earthy details keep bringing us back to the spiraling interior of a nautilus shell. While you can get a peek inside through the glass panels along the front facade, interiors offer a whole different experience that is equally inspired, and inspiring. Check it out.

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The curved roof of the house leads your eye down to the front facade, where windows and solid block walls alternate to provide the perfect balance of views and privacy. Set in a clearing among tall trees close to the existing main house, the studio was angled to make the most of the natural light reaching the site. The roof hangs over a small sitting area, providing a sheltered alfresco spot to reflect and take the outdoors in.

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From the architects, “We find inspiration in nature and the people that surround us, the history of our environment. From these, we take note of the things that grab our imagination and touch us in unexpected ways.”

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AAC, aerated autoclave concrete, was chosen for the exterior of the house for its earthy properties, weighty look and feel, and its ability to age gracefully – like the ancient nautilus itself. “Our design works with color, texture, and pattern of the block to ground the building to the site and our artist to her studio,” explain the architects.

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Inside, the arching roof features exposed wood beams that echo the inner chambers of a nautilus shell – a theme that is also carried through to the shelves lining the walls.

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We call this “organized chaos.” The eclectic interior design of this work space blends pretty functional decor items with work tools and things, all topped by this crude pressed-wood ceiling arching overhead.

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An industrial style ladder leads to the upper level loft area behind a steel cage. The loft seems to float across the center of the space, like a bridge connecting the front and the rear facades. The loft overlooks the live work spaces below on either side.

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The cage is an understated, contemporary detail that delivers a safety enclosure while also maintaining open sight lines throughout the home.

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Just overhead, the wood beams follow the line of the curved ceiling, bringing an organic edge to the room and enhancing its awesome sense of height and space.

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The beams extend past the front facade and continue to the underside of the overhanging roof.

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The volume itself also has an irregular shape that flares out at one end. At the front and rear of the space, outdoor living areas extend the home beyond its walls.

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The volume is deceivingly spacious, packing lots of live and work space into one sweet package.

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