10 Homes With Nets to Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

10 Homes With Nets to Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

By Samantha Daly
Playground design is all grown-up in these whimsical homes with suspended nets.

From play areas and guardrail substitutions to hammocks beneath the stars, these suspended nets take hanging out to new heights.

This Transformed House Resembles a Quirky Village in Melbourne, Australia 

Inspired by the Sydney Opera House, Austin Maynard Architects paid careful attention to this home's "fifth elevation"—the way it’s seen from the sky. "The roof plan, rather than the street façade, is now the most public face of a building thanks to Google Earth," they explain. The Tower House is made up of tiny houses, clustered at the southern end of the property and clad in white steel panels and western red cedar shingles. Spinning off the living room on the north side of the main house, the children’s study sits separate from the other pavilions. On its upper level, Oxley netting forms a web on which the kids and their friends can sit and read with views of the leafy street and garden.

If you're looking for a unique way to explore the wonderful world of Bali, Seascape Villa might be the perfect place to start. Designed by Bali–based Italian architect—and founder of the design studio Word of Mouth—Valentina Audrito, this relaxing retreat is an oceanfront property on the island of Nusa Lembongan, just southeast of Bali's main island. The open floor plan allows the space to feel bright and airy. The upstairs living room is one large net, "the biggest hammock on Nusa Lembongan." Here, guests can lounge while interacting with people in the kitchen or living room below.

Full of bohemian soul, the heritage neighborhood of Fitzroy in Melbourne is known as a real estate hot spot. But rather than capitalize on their block and exploit a vacant garden east of their property, the family of four who own King Bill decided to create a new pocket park to bring more greenery to the streetscape. When it came time to renovate their double-story terrace home, the owners sought out local studio Austin Maynard Architects—a firm known for its sustainable ethos—who incorporated the empty garden to the east, and an old stable at the rear, to the new floor plan. A large, curved, sliding wall separates the master bathroom from an open net lounge area above the study. 

When Marieken Verheyen and Martin Hansen found a dilapidated vicarage after three years of searching for the right property, their friends warned them against purchasing it. Dating back to 1870, the farm—a home, barn, and two stables situated at the edge of a national park—featured overgrown gardens, derelict buildings, and haphazard repair work done by inexperienced builders. The artist couple from Amsterdam, however, were determined to realize their dream of creating a sustainable holiday destination that would celebrate simplicity and modern architecture. It took another three years for the couple to transform the complex into Re:hof Rutenberg. There are eight accommodations dotting the property in addition to a multipurpose barn, sauna, and farm shop. There are plenty of playful touches—a hammock hung between beams, accessible from the mezzanine, provides a sunny spot to lounge. 

An extension of Treehotel’s mission of bringing modern design to a serene natural environment, the 7th Room is a cabin lofted among the treetops that blurs the distinction between indoors and outdoors. Designed by the renowned firm Snøhetta, the structure hovers 10 meters above the ground with a black-and-white print of the canopy covering the bottom façade, creating a trompe l'oeil effect. The two bedrooms, bathroom, lounge area, and netted terrace are arranged across two slightly different levels, accommodating up to five guests. Barring a fear of heights, you can choose to lay your sleeping bag on the double-layered net that connects the two bedrooms and enjoy a night under the stars.

By merging typical Saigon architectural and stylistic details, architect Toan Nghiem of a21 Studio created a space that brings family together. Stacking roof layers, open flowering balconies, and an alleyway that serves as a living room, dining room, and outdoor playground are all filled with colorful, rich materials. Inside Saigon House, reclaimed and second-hand furniture lend history and spirit to the home. With so many small interior rooms and divisions between spaces, the addition of a net ceiling brings openness to the back alleyway, where the family often gathers to eat dinner. Not only does the net allow for ventilation and light, but it offers a place to play for the children, who love to climb and lounge above their parents. 

The Atrium Townhome by Robitaille Curtis has a 32-foot atrium with a skylight running the full width of the house. The third story features a net "floor" at the top of the atrium that turns the void into a dramatic play surface adjacent to the kid’s bedrooms. The use of a net in this location precludes the need for guardrails and opens the floor plan to unimpeded views to and from the third floor. Riggers from Cirque du Soleil provided and installed the trapeze net.

Jean-Yves Rouleau, designer of the Lac Brûlé House, enthuses that the home’s "clean, rectilinear volumes create spaces that intersect, letting light into the sky and give a view of the forest at all times." Near the living room, a skylight filled with a hammock allows the homeowners to view the stars at night.

If sun, surf, and socializing are part of your vacation agenda, then put Casa Comunal at the top of your list for places to visit. Situated on an idyllic Caribbean shoreline on Isla Colon, the largest and northernmost island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama, the modern vacation house enjoys a private beachfront with ample access to the outdoors. "It was important to me to unite travelers, the locals, and nature, and that was the triumvirate behind Casa Comunal," says Jordan Christopher, the surfer, traveler, and self-taught architect who rallied a team of co-designers and friends to realize the project. Above the beds in Casa Norte (a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit), a net provides additional lounge space for guests to enjoy a book or listen to a record.

Acclaimed designer Numen installed this riveting art piece in the House for Contemporary Art in the summer of 2011. "Net" is a series of flexible nets suspended in the air, connected at various points to create an undulating and disorienting landscape. Or, as the designers call it, a "community hammock."


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