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Granite Peak Photography
Many tiny home designers are guided by the principles of flexibility when it comes to being mobile, but rarely have we seen a tiny home creation that can be enjoyed on land and on water. Designed and built by our new hero, Scott Cronk, the Heidi-Ho, is a beautiful solar-powered tiny cabin built on a 30-foot pontoon.

According to Scott, the ingenious floating home creation was inspired by his need to explore the world on his own terms, “After wildfires in the Fall of 2017, I sold my home in Santa Rosa, Northern California, and moved to the Palm Springs area, Southern California,” he explained. “This houseboat is a way for me to spend my summers visiting friends in Northern California.”

The Heidi-Ho houseboat was built on a 30-foot long pontoon boat that can be pulled by a trailer. In fact, one of the driving forces behind the flexibility of the tiny home design was that it was an acceptable size for legal road transport. Accordingly, the deck is capable of being reduced to just 8.5 feet wide. In addition to being road ready, the entire cabin can also be removed from the boat deck to be used as a camping trailer.

And although this may have been considered limiting to some, Scott took on the challenge head on and created a spectacular living space. Although compact, the tiny cabin boasts a comfy living and sleeping area, complete with all of the basics.

The interior is light and airy, with wood-paneled walls and plenty of natural light. The interior living space is made up of custom-made bench seating, a removable dining table and a galley kitchen.

All in all, the compact cabin can sleep three. The main sleeping area is created by transforming the dining table into a double bed. Then, a bunk bed drops down from the ceiling for additional sleeping space.

The kitchen has everything needed to create tasty meals, including a three-burner stove top and oven and a refrigerator. Additionally, there is plenty of storage for kitchenware as well as clothing and equipment found throughout the tiny home.

Adding space to the design, the cabin features dual rear doors that can be fully opened. The doors lead out to the pontoon platform, creating a nice open-air space with boat seats to enjoy.
Andre Aragon
Best known for his towering urban projects, the Uruguayan architect's private residence rests on five hilltop acres.

Rafael Viñoly's, FAIA is best known for his towering urban projects, many of which become icons on city skylines. The famed Uruguayan architect's 191 Ridgebury Road house, however, remains an outlier as one of Viñoly's rare private residences. Located in Ridgefield, Conn., International Style 191 Ridgebury Road is 16,000-square-foot and features three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Although the property has been on and off the market several times since 2008, 191 Ridgebury Road is back on the market for $9.75 million following a restoration by the current owner.

Viñoly originally designed the house for Alice Lawrence, the wife of real estate mogul Sylvan Lawrence, in 1984. Working with slabs of pre-cast concrete and glass windows, Viñoly assembled the house on a 35 ton steel frame, resulting in clean, open spaces. By the time the project was completed almost three years later, construction costs had reached an estimated $25 million plus an additional $3 million in landscaping for the five acre estate.

Built to display Lawrence's vast art collection, the Ridgeport house contains expansive, light-filled areas that include a living room, a dining room, a custom kitchen, and a sitting room. The house also features a penthouse office, indoor and outdoor heated pools, and an observation deck offering views of the Hudson River.

Following her death in 2008, Lawrence left the residence to Fairfield University, a private, Jesuit university in Farfield, Conn. The university listed the house for $10 million in 2008 and, after it sat on the market, relisted the property again in 2011 for $3.2 million. According to Connecticut Open Data, the house was sold to the present owner for $2.17 million in 2012.

Over seven years, the owner restored the property beyond its original condition, adding a lower-level suite to the original house and a driveway heating system. According to the Sotheby's International Realty listing, the price also includes the adjacent High Medow Farm at 224 Ridgebury Road, an 11-acre property with a five-bedroom farmhouse. While it is not part of the original Viñoly project, the current owner acquired 224 Ridgebury Road with the intention of having an associated equestrian facility, but is now is selling both together.

191 Ridgebury Road is listed by Laura Freed Ancona at Sotheby's International Realty.

Marsel Loermans via Studio Public
Dutch architectural practice Studio Public has carved out a slice of eco-friendly bliss in Houten, a nearly car-free suburb in Utrecht. Dubbed the Eco Villa, the 2,000-square-foot modern home slots in perfectly with its green and environmentally minded surroundings with an emphasis on natural materials, sustainability and the use of renewable energy. Powered by solar, the abode produces all of its own energy and is even complemented by a naturally filtered pool for chlorine-free swimming.

Built with an L shape to frame the outdoor garden and natural pool with a wooden walkway, Eco Villa features two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. A slim “technical zone” divides the master suite from the living areas. The exterior is clad in a combination of Corten steel panels, plaster and wood screens and is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling, triple-pane glass to bring the outdoors in. The operable walls of glass and strategically placed skylights fill the home with natural light.

As with the exterior, the interior features a natural materials palette and a minimalist design. Timber is the predominate material that ties the various spaces together, from the cabinetry in the bathrooms to the flooring in the living spaces. Clean lines, simple forms and select pops of color — like the blue tile wall divider in the bathroom — make the home look contemporary and cozy without visual clutter.

In addition to solar panels, the Eco Villa is equipped with a heat pump. The use of renewable energy combined with highly efficient insulation and an emphasis on natural daylighting has made the home capable of generating all of its own energy — sometimes with power left over to send back to the grid.

PAD Studio
The Lane End House by PAD studio incorporates natural building material and sustainable solutions to increase energy-efficiency. The resulting design creates a passive home with a smaller environmental footprint and a focus on sustainability.

The exterior of the house contains balcony areas that act as solar shading for the property, complete with thoughtfully-placed openings to create a greater distribution of natural ventilation to rid the home of intense heat during the hot Summer months.

Landscape-wise, the clients wanted to incorporate a natural feel as often as possible, with large windows to connect the inhabitants with the outdoors and a functioning herb garden located on the first floor balcony. The placement of the grand windows creates natural sunlight to light the home during the day while incorporating more profound landscape views.

According to the client, “we wanted a house that was big enough to comfortably accommodate the two of us and our lifestyle – and no bigger. For us that meant carefully considered, flexible, multipurpose spaces that created a sense of space whilst retaining a modest footprint.”

High quality, insulated timber wood used to create the frame both reduces the need for artificial cooling and heating in the home, and provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional (and heavy carbon emission-inducing) building materials. Additionally, the timber is locally-produced from renewable sources and the brick used to make the fireplace is hand-made by local vendors. On the ground floor, concrete was inserted to make the structure even more air-tight and regulate interior temperatures even further.

The builders installed a MVHR system designed to recycle heat produced from the kitchen and bathroom and mix it with clean air circulated through the ventilation and naturally colder areas of the house.

In addition to completing the standard methods such as SAP calculations and EPS ratings, the impressive home was also built to Passive House ideology.

Deborah DeGraffenreid via North River Architecture & Planning
In New York’s Hudson Valley, a beautiful new beacon for sustainable, net-zero design has taken root. New York-based North River Architecture & Planning recently added another energy-efficient build to its growing portfolio of environmentally friendly projects — the Accord Passive House, a modern home that has not only achieved PHIUS+ Certification but also boasts no net energy costs annually.

Located in the hamlet of Accord, the contemporary house is sensitive to both the environment as well as the local culture and history. The architects drew inspiration from the rural farm buildings for the design of a gabled, barn-like house that emphasizes connection with the outdoors and flexible living spaces accommodating of the homeowners’ changing needs. As with traditional farm buildings, the construction materials were selected for longevity, durability and low-maintenance properties.

Galvanized corrugated steel siding wraps the exterior, while a trowel-finished concrete slab is used for the floor inside and is visually tied to the xeriscaped pea gravel patio that requires no irrigation. “Trim materials inside and out were chosen for their adaptive reuse and low resource extraction properties, including the use of engineered lumber for trim work, salvaged white oak slats and carmelized cork throughout the project,” the firm added. “The cork was used inside and out for its sustainable harvest and broad utility for acoustics, water resistance and insulation value.”

Topped with a 9kW photovoltaic array, the impressive net-zero energy build was also created to show how Passive House design can be beautiful, resilient and comfortable without incurring sky-high costs. The firm said it has achieved “a competitive price per square foot relative to regional costs for this market niche.” During construction, the architects hosted open-house learning events to promote open-source sharing of energy-efficient design methods and solutions with the local community.

Chris Mottalini
A weekend retreat in upstate New York brings creative renewal for jewelry scion Evan Yurman and his young family

When Manhattanites are looking for a weekend home, they typi­cally go one of two directions: Jump into the high-octane social swirl of the Hamptons or head for the hills upstate. Born and bred in the former camp, Evan Yurman wanted a little quiet escapism when the time came to plant roots of his own. “There are a lot of people that you know here,” the chief creative officer of David Yurman says of the historically artistic Catskill Mountains where he and his wife, Ku-Ling, retreat with their three children. “But you never see them.”

The couple spent years house-hunting before they happened upon the perfect spot: an old bluestone quarry (Evan quips that it wasn’t a very productive one) perched on the side of a mountain with nearly 200 acres unfolding beneath it. The base structure had originally been built as a commercial studio for fine-art photographer Hans Gissinger and was converted into a bachelor pad before the Yurmans came into the picture. “It just wasn’t homey,” Evan says, adding with a laugh, “We had to exorcise the place.” Enlisting Moschella Roberts Architects, with whom they also collaborated on their West Village residence, they redesigned and expanded the existing structure to fit their aesthetic and familial needs, while adding a swimming pool and converting a barn into a poolhouse. A 14-seat basement screening room that was discovered only after they closed on the property remains happily intact for popcorn-fueled movie nights.

The interior of the home is now wrapped in linear slabs of wood and concrete that simultaneously project coolness and warmth. “I have an allergy to drywall,” remarks Evan of the design choice. He and Ku-Ling collaborated on the decorating, which features a revolving roster of midcentury pieces, from Ib Kofod-Larsen and Hans Wegner chairs to Noguchi lamps, all in honest, authentic materials. “Nothing fussy,” he notes, adding, “I love chairs. I don’t know if it’s a guy thing. My wife says it is. If we find ourselves in an area with good furniture, we just buy stuff and fill containers. We have more furniture than we have a place for.” It’s turned out to be a convenient predicament for his role overseeing the design of the new David Yurman flagship on 57th Street in New York City, where he’s parked some of his most prized possessions—among them a pair of Philip Arctander clam chairs and a Heinz Lilienthal brutalist table. “They’re on loan,” he says with a wink.

The creative cross-pollination between his worlds doesn’t end there, though. He regularly sneaks away to the country solo during the week to work on the collections. “It’s so quiet. You can really focus when you’re here. Then you drive back to the city the next morning for work.”

Trent Bell
In Englishman Bay, where his relatives have summered since the 19th century, a musician builds an idyllic hideaway for his family and their three parrots.

"When I was growing up, we went to a little log cabin in Maine," says a musician now based in Colorado. "It sounds romantic, but it really was three boys stuck in a one-room cabin with a loft. Maine can be rainy, foggy, and dreary. We’d go a little stir crazy." Like many childhood summers, his was a mix of boredom and adventure. Part of the romance was his family’s deep roots in the isolated area of Englishman Bay, a two-hour drive east of the bustling seaside community of Bar Harbor. His father had been born in the cabin, and relatives had been summering in the region since the 1880s. And, on sunny days, Maine was fun. He and his brothers played in the woods and clambered over the rocks by the ocean. All the same, he and his brothers were ready to go home at summer’s end.

Englishman Bay Retreat resides on a plot of land next door to the homeowner’s parents’ property; he remembers traversing it as a child to get to the pebbled beach. Clad in hardy local hemlock and raised on galvanized steel piers with board-formed concrete wrapping the ground floor’s mechanical systems, the residence is designed to endure through the ages.

Now he, his wife, and their two daughters still visit Englishman Bay, but their vacation home is decidedly more stylish. In late 2015, they asked Whitten Architects and Nate Holyoke Builders (in Portland and Holden, respectively) for a durable, minimalist home, simultaneously rustic and Scandinavian, that would sit lightly on the land and make use of local materials whenever possible. (They knew Whitten and Holyoke’s work because the team had built a nearby Norwegian-inspired home for the musician’s cousin.) Principal architect Russ Tyson translated the family’s request into a striking, partially transparent house with simple geometries. The U-shaped dwelling comprises three primary forms: a three-story entry tower with a roof deck, a rectangular bedroom wing, and a dramatic, three-season glassed-in porch—organized around a double-sided concrete chimney—that serves as a great room.

Michael Moran
When a husband and wife purchased five acres of bluff top property overlooking the Peconic Bay in the Hamptons, they knew from the beginning that landscape preservation would be a major focus of their future home. To bring their vision of an environmentally sensitive residence to life, the couple turned to Mapos, a New York-based architectural studio that they had worked with previously. By treading lightly on the site, the architects crafted a modernist multigenerational family retreat—the Peconic House—that blends into its meadow setting with a lush green roof, Corten steel exterior and timber interior.

Designed in part as a reaction against the “insensitive residential development…and reputation for showing off” that has characterized recent real estate development in the Hamptons, the Peconic House is a callback to the modernist legacy of Long Island’s South Fork. Featuring simple and low-slung proportions, the rectangular 4,000-square-foot shuns ostentatious displays and instead uses a roof of native meadow grasses to camouflage its appearance and minimize its impact on the watershed. The residence also embraces indoor/outdoor living with a 2,000-square-foot terrace that faces the Peconic Bay and culminates in a 75-foot-long infinity-edge lap pool.

In positioning the building, the architects were careful to preserve the property’s existing vegetation—particularly a 70-foot-tall sycamore located at the center of the meadow. To relate the architecture to the old-growth forest, the architects relied on a predominately timber palette that includes cedar and reclaimed ipe wood that are complemented by concrete and Corten steel. All materials are left unfinished and will develop a natural patina over time.

Inside the open-plan living area “further abstracts the bluff-top landscape, with unfinished cedar and reclaimed white oak,” note the architects. The blurring of indoors and out are also achieved with 100-foot-long walls of glass that slide open and seamlessly unite the indoor living spaces with the outdoor terrace. The cantilevered roof helps block unwanted solar gain and supports a thriving green roof of native grasses that promote biodiversity.

Adrià Goula via Guillem Carrera
In between the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal mountain range in northern Spain, Tarragona-based architect Guillem Carrera has completed Casa VN, an energy-efficient luxury home that pays homage to the region’s historic heritage. Set on a steep slope, the modern home uses terraces to step down the landscape and is faced with walls of glass to take advantage of panoramic views. To reduce energy demands, the house follows passive solar principles; it is also topped with insulating green roofs and equipped with home automation technology.

Casa VN is located in Alella, a village near Barcelona that was historically used for farming and marked by large estates and stonewall terraces. However, in recent years, changes in the economy have led to increased urbanization in the area. Given the landscape history, Carrera strove to conserve the original character of his client’s property while introducing modern comforts.

The goal was to “preserve the soul and the morphology, to preserve each one of those things that make it unique and characteristic: the terraces, the retaining walls, the different elements of pre-existing vegetation and the dry stone chapel,” Carrera said. “These elements are delimited and identified to be preserved in the plant, and once they have been delimited, a respectful implementation of housing directly on the existing land is established, so that the house coexists and interacts spatially and functionally with these elements. The resulting ensemble seeks to be a whole, timeless and heterogeneous, that is part of the place and the landscape.”

At 869 square meters, Casa VN recalls the large estates that were once typical in Alella. Locally sourced stone — the same used in the preserved stone chapel — and native Mediterranean landscaping also respect the local vernacular. Meanwhile, the residence features modern construction with a structure of reinforced concrete, steel and glass. Passive solar principles also guided the design and placement of the house to reduce unwanted solar gain and promote natural cooling.

Humble Hand Craft
Founder Ryan O’Donnell takes us inside three of his artful, handcrafted tiny homes and camper vans.

Woodworker and tiny home builder Ryan O’Donnell has been honing his craft since he was a kid, when he first worked for his father, a contractor in Ojai, California. "I worked for him for about 15 years, or since I was just a little guy of about 12, sanding boards for him," says O’Donnell.

Fast forward to 2012, and O’Donnell started applying his love of finish carpentry and custom building to tiny houses. He set up a small shop off the "main drag in Ojai" and spent about a year and a half of nights and weekends building his first model. "I ended up finding a buyer for that house, and the rest is sort of history, from one tiny house to the next," he says.

Since August of 2018, O’Donnell has run Humble Hand Craft out of a 1940s Quonset hut in Ventura, where he builds artisanal tiny homes and converts vans into campers using a more "conscious approach." This includes powering his shop with solar energy and relying on salvaged and sustainably sourced wood, as well as other green building materials such as low- or no-VOC finishes and vegan, recycled denim insulation.

The material that O’Donnell finds on his "wood-sourcing adventures" up and down the West Coast often guides the aesthetics of the finished home. "California has really good wood if you look enough and you’re willing to travel for it," he says. "I have a passion for working with old-growth material and trying to source it as ethically as possible."

Each house ends up being unique because of the nature of the reclaimed wood. "There are a lot of stories behind the material," says O’Donnell. "That might be why I like it so much."

Rory Gardiner
A 110-metre-long shed has been named Australian House of the Year at the 2019 Houses Awards, announced on Friday 26 July.

Daylesforld Longhouse by Partners Hill is at once a “remarkable home”, a “hardworking farm building” and a “verdant greenhouse,” commented the jury, and a demonstration of “a compelling idea executed in its purest form” and an “innovative approach to a complex brief.”

“This year’s winning projects are all very sensitive to site and context … and they’re tactile,” said juror Lindy Atkin. “They’re much more about place-making and space-making than they are about form-making, which is a really good thing. They are also respectful of what’s come before them, particularly in the alteration and addition and heritage categories.”

Daylesford Longhouse was also awarded winner of the New House over 200m2 category. Elsewhere in the awards House In Darlinghurst by Tribe Studio clinched two categories: House Alteration and Addition under 200m2 and House in a Heritage Context.

The full list of winners are:

Australian House of the Year
Daylesford Longhouse – Partners Hill

New House under 200 m2
Bay Guarella House – Peter Stutchbury Architecture

New House over 200 m2
Daylesford Longhouse – Partners Hill

House Alteration and Addition under 200 m2
House in Darlinghurst – Tribe Studio

House Alteration and Addition over 200 m2 – joint winners
Brisbane Riverbank House – Owen Architecture
Teneriffe House – Vokes and Peters

Apartment or Unit
The Bae Tas – Work by Liz and Alex

House in a Heritage Context – joint winners
Balmain Rock – Benn and Penna
House in Darlinghurst – Tribe Studio

Garden or Landscape
Whynot St Pool and Carpark – Kieron Gait Architects with Dan Young Landscape Architects

The Garden Bunkie – Reddog Architects

Emerging Architecture Practice
Edition Office

A total of 26 entries and two emerging practices received commendations across nine categories.

Now in its ninth year, he program has become one of the country’s most sought-after accolades, with 502 entries submitted in 2019 – five percent more than the previous year.

On the 2019 jury were: Lindy Atkin (co-director, Bark Architects), John Choi (partner, Chrofi), Luigi Rosselli (director, Luigi Rosselli Architects), Rachel Nolan (principal, Kennedy Nolan) and Katelin Butler (editorial director, Architecture Media), with sustainability adviser Dominique Hes (director, Place Agency) and architectural advice in House in a Heritage Context category provided by Bruce Trethowan (director, Trethowan Architecture).
Daylesford Longhouse – Partners Hill
ricky jones, courtesy of matthew barnett howland
this house in berkshire, designed by matthew barnett howland with dido milne and oliver wilton with monolithic walls and corbelled roofs, is built almost entirely from solid load-bearing cork. currently on the shortlist for the 2019 RIBA stirling prize, the project is an attempt to make solid walls and roofs from a single bio-renewable material.

matthew barnett howland, dido milne and oliver wilton developed the house as a radically simple form, providing an innovative self-build construction kit designed for disassembly, which is carbon-negative at completion and has exceptionally low whole life carbon. with a focus on simplicity and sustainability, the project provides an inventive solution to the complexities and conventions of modern house construction, built almost entirely from a single bio-renewable material instead of an array of materials, products and specialist sub-systems. designed, tested and developed in partnership with the bartlett school of architecture UCL, the house incorporates a dry-jointed construction system, so that all 1,268 blocks of cork can be reclaimed at end-of-building-life for re-use, recycling, or returning to the biosphere.

the house is conceived as a kit-of-parts, with prefabricated components off-site and assembled by hand on-site without mortar or glue. its structural form reimagines the simple construction principles of ancient stone structures such as celtic beehive houses, while the exposed solid cork creates a sensory environment where walls are gentle to the touch, smell good, and provide soft and calm acoustic conditions.

Gustavo Alkmim via PITTA Arquitetura
Designed by Brazilian firm PITTA Arquitetura, the aptly named Casa Modelo serves as an architectural model for sustainable home design. Built using numerous bioclimatic principles, the solar-powered home has minimal environmental impact on its idyllic tropical setting just outside of São Paulo.

Built for the owner of a sustainable real estate development company, Casa Modelo is located in the remote area of Ubatuba. Surrounded by acres of lush, green, protected biospheres that span out to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, the home has a setting that is as idyllic as it gets.

The incredible location set the tone for the design. Working with the homeowner, the architects sought to create a model sustainable home that could serve as a platform for future constructions in the area.

At the forefront of the design was the objective of reducing the home’s impact on the pristine natural setting. Inserting the 1,100-square-foot building into the lot with minimal interference was essential to the project. Accordingly, the timber home is elevated off of the landscape by a concrete platform and pillars that allow natural vegetation to grow under and around the structure.

The local climate is marked by severe humidity, ultra hot summers and considerable rainfall, all of which prompted the designers to create a resilient structure that could stand up to the extreme elements. Not only did elevating the home reduce its impact on the landscape, but it also helps keep ground humidity at bay and improves natural air circulation.

Passive, energy-saving features are found throughout the home, namely in the structure’s large openings and high interior ceilings. The open-plan living area and kitchen open up to the outdoors thanks to a long stretch of sliding glass doors with retractable timber screens on either side of the house. The doors can be completely or partially left open to ensure cool temps and natural ventilation on the interior, a feature that also creates a strong, seamless connection with the outdoors.

Interior Design Media
Hot summers in the city get old pretty fast, so having a weekend house in the country is a luxury. But that doesn't mean that luxury can't be rustic. Here are 10 residences that are stunning in their get-away-from-it-all simplicity.

1. Hilltop Aerie by Aidlin Darling Design Provides Respite in Northern California

Two San Francisco denizens working in finance and tech came to Aidlin Darling Design with a straightforward proposition. Create a simple, efficient house, restrained in cost and scale, for their empty hillside site in Glen Ellen, about an hour north of the city. The couple’s only imperative? A single-story plan. Since Barry Mehew and David Rice were familiar with tending to aging relatives, they knew to avoid the hazards staircases present (their main residence, a four-story Victorian in the city, has plenty). Although they envisioned this new house as a weekend getaway for now, they anticipate eventually spending most of their time there, and downsizing to a pied-à-terre back in the city.

2. Jan Henrik Jensen Designs Unconventional Round House in Denmark

In the Danish shelter magazine that Finn and Janni Holm subscribe to, architect Jan Henrik Jansen was pictured sitting in front of a house that he had constructed with his own hands. “We just rang him and asked him to do one for us,” Janni Holm says. “That’s where our adventure started.” The Holms had decided to build a new home on a lot and a simple wooden farmhouse was what they had in mind. What they got was entirely different, thanks to Jansen’s standard procedure: always conceiving more than one solution for a project. He first showed the Holms a design that corresponded exactly to their farmhouse brief. Then he surprised them with plans for a radically different idea: a round house.

3. SPG Architects Transforms Lilian Swann Saarinen's Former Cape Cod Residence

Modernist royalty, by marriage, Lilian Swann Saarinen had met her husband, Eero, when she was studying sculpture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, headed by his father, Eliel. After the younger Saarinens’ divorce in 1953, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, with their two children and asked former Eero Saarinen and Associates architect Olav Hammarstrom to expand a fisherman’s cottage in the Cape Cod town of Wellfleet for use as a low-budget family getaway. “On the Cape, a lot of architects built on a dime and a prayer,” SPG Architects principal Eric Gartner explains. Considerably more painstaking was his own task: updating the Hammarstrom design for repeat clients, one in financial services and the other a sculptor.

4. The Success of Andreas Martin Löf's House Near Stockholm Lies in Being Playful and Taking Risks

“Everybody was against it,” Andreas Martin-Löf says, looking at the offending infinity pool outside his weekend house in the Stockholm archipelago. “My friends thought it was nouveau riche. They wondered why I couldn’t just go down to the jetty for a swim, like everyone else.” Traditionally, Swedes favor rustic summer retreats, and Martin-Löf concedes that he usually dislikes “luxury” architecture both personally and in his work at Andreas Martin-Löf Architects. Yet he was intrigued by the possibility of the infinity pool as a mirror for the property’s pine trees and expansive water views. “The pool is a crucial part of the success of the house,” he continues. “You have to be a bit playful and take a few risks.”

5. Michigan Lake House by Desai Chia Architecture: 2016 Best of Year Winner for Country House

A real-estate entrepreneur clipped and saved a newspaper story about Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia’s glassy weekend pavilion that won a Best of Year Award in 2013. The entrepreneur was intrigued by the way the house practically floated above its spectacular surroundings, a bucolic estate in rural New York—because he had just bought 60 acres on a remote peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan. Arguably even more extraordinary than the New York site, this one sits between a cherry orchard and a bluff plunging 120 feet down to the water.

Juliusz Sokolowski
An intricate brick pattern lends depth and texture to Red House, whose glass rear opens to a forest glade.

Recently nominated for the prestigious EU Mies Award, Red House by Biuro Toprojekt is located in Poland’s Upper Silesia on the edge of an forest glade. The 3,900-square-foot home, built of easily accessible materials, reflects a strong ecological bent.

The walls are constructed from hand-sorted, recycled bricks from nearby brick works. The bricks alternate in depth and orientation, with every other pair of bricks turned to have the short ends facing out. The unexpected placement with an otherwise standard building material creates an enriching movement of light and shadow across the facade.

Brick encases the interior living spaces, while also quietly revealing them at special moments through an openwork pattern. At night, when the building goes dark, the openings shine as glowing pieces in the composition.

The interior living spaces are muted and subdued in contrast to the warmth and texture of the exterior walls. Bright and light spaces look out onto the forested surroundings. Large picture windows and sliding glass doors bring nature to the forefront.

There is no band that separates the brick walls from the ground below. The house appears to grow out of the ground, blurring the line between land and building, building and sky. The colors and textures of the wall extend to the roof line, which over time will be covered with greenery and plantings, further harmonizing the house and its natural surroundings.

Trevor Mein
Architecture studio Woods Bagot has completed the latest stage of a weathered seaside house in Australia that has been 20 years in the making.

Designed as a home for Woods Bagot CEO Nik Karalis, the St Andrews Beach Villa began in 1999 as a simple shack on Mornington Peninsula.

Over the years it has gradually evolved into what is now a five-bedroom villa with a pool, cabana, glasshouse and full-width deck.

"Longevity of design in historic houses is not unusual – many European villas took 10-30 years to build," Karalis told Dezeen.

"In our case, it was a combination of increasing family needs and also a detailed understanding of place and context."

Over time St Andrews Beach Villa has been adapted and altered to deal with its challenging site.

The peninsula is subject to intense winds, constantly shifting sand-dunes and a high concentration of salt in the atmosphere, which speeds up the corrosion of materials.

"The project could not be transported anywhere else in the world," said Karalis.

"It is a building intensely sensitive to place, recognised most importantly by the locals and the surf community."

St Andrews Beach Villa is a simple steel box raised on supports with a panoramic living space facing south-west towards the sea.

A 25 metre-wide stepped deck is cut through by a passage that leads into the undercroft, slotted below to provides a more intimate, sheltered space.

The villa's entrance sits on its sheltered rear facade, where a steel ramp leads up to a reception area and also to the pool and cabana.

Bedrooms sit arranged along this more sheltered, northern side of the plan, while the glazed front provides far more exposure.

This theme of contrasts continues in the exterior finishes. The rear and sides of the villa have clad with a rainscreen of jarrah wood panels, through which north light can filter in.

Internal finishes have been created through a mixture newer elements and old, worn materials from St Andrews Beach Villa's previous iterations

"The villa's ongoing deterioration inspired the material selections, and the details celebrate the temporality of all things," said Woods Bagot.

"A deliberate juxtaposition of eroded and resilient surfaces, of mundane and exquisite materials, reflect a sensitivity of a beguiling nature."
Interior Design Media
These bright and modern beach houses are the perfect spot to enjoy a long holiday weekend. We wish we were at any one of them right now—don't you?

1. Max Núñez Arquitectos Embraces the Topography in an Avant-Garde Beach House

Building a house with Max Núñez is like climbing a peak in the Andes with a seasoned guide. The summit looms and the rocky terrain feels treacherous to the novice, but the leader inspires enough confidence that hikers suddenly take real risks, no longer worried about a fall. That was certainly the case for the owners of a property in Cachagua, Chile, a remarkable but precarious Pacific bluff with a 25-degree pitch. Like an expedition leader, Núñez encouraged his clients to go bold and tackle the topography head-on.

2. MODE Interior Designs and CCS Architecture Infuse a Hamptons Retreat with West Coast Sensibilities

Mode Interior Designs founder Sharon Bonnemazou and her husband had purchased a secluded waterfront lot in Water Mill, New York, even though the house there was a teardown. The sketch she handed to CCS Architecture's Cass Calder Smith showed a house she describes as “rustic, low-key, quietly luxurious.” That vision was partially informed by the modernist residences she had encountered in Southern California. The resulting collaboration is a look Bonnemazou has nicknamed, "Tomboy Chic."

3. Bates Masi Brings Sophistication to Amagansett Beach House

A New York City city couple purchased a 1950s cottage on a mere 1/7 acre in Amagansett, New York with neighbors on one side and a 16-acre preserve’s huge sand dune, billowy beach grass, and windblown coastal pines on the other. The couple and their young son had spent a few summers in the cottage before hiring Bates +Masi Architects to build a new house there. Although zoning would allow only 1,700 square feet, the Interior Design Hall of Fame members made the effort worthwhile.

4. Kingdom of Light: A Modern Beach House in Scotland

Replacing a clunky 1970s bungalow in Elie—a harbor town in a part of Scotland traditionally known as the Kingdom of Fife—the 3,000-square-foot house’s straightforward form was designed to pay tribute to “the big, pale, southern sky,” WT Architecture principal William Tunnell says. In the main wing, the downstairs centers on an open living-dining area with a window wall that frames views of the Firth of Forth, a lighthouse, and Edinburgh on the opposite coast. “As the tide flows in and out, colors reflect off the golden beach and the water,” Tunnell says. To capture those reflections, he rendered everything inside “as clean and simple as possible,” he says. Read more about the project

5. Steven Harris Architects and Rees Roberts + Partners Wins 2016 Best of Year Winner for Beach House

Simplicity itself. Practically monastic. This house by Interior Design Hall of Fame members Steven Harris and Lucien Rees Roberts is a 4,500-square-foot board-formed concrete box set on top of two piers. One pier is faceted, tapering to its smallest possible footprint. The other, partially embedded in the natural fall of a sand dune, is large enough to contain the garage. To ascend from the ground-level breezeway, the owners walk up a delicate staircase suspended on steel cables. Read more about the project

Tom Ferguson
Taking a neighbourly approach to design and construction, this addition to one in a pair of historic attached cottages by Archisoul in beachside Sydney preserves a connection to Australia’s coast-dwelling past.

All buildings have a story to tell: the story of the lives of the people that have interacted with them and the story of their place. Archisoul Architects was entrusted with reimagining and restoring two unassuming timber-clad cottages in Manly that occupy a unique place in the area’s history and in the story of Australia’s beach culture.

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the Sly brothers, a couple of local fishermen, built the pair of semi-detached cottages, which sit close to Manly beach. From the rear of these houses they would take their boat to the nearby beaches and patrol the waters, in what some historians see as the establishment of surf lifesaving in Australia. With a story such as this that goes to the heart of Australian beach culture, there is little wonder these two humble cottages were deemed to be of high heritage value.

In addition to the heritage importance, the project also dealt with an unusual, but effective, client arrangement that generated almost as many stories as the building’s past. One of the owners of the cottages asked Archisoul to take on the renovations. After initial contact with the council, it was recommended that both cottages should be tackled as one project. This was not as easy as it sounds, as the owner of the adjoining cottage lived 16,000 kilometres away in continental Europe. Nonetheless, when contacted, the jetsetting neighbour was more than happy to collaborate in the rebuilding of the cottages and the result is an Australian beachside home in the spirit of European sophistication and comfort.

The first challenge the architects faced was the variance in the briefs, budgets and timeframes of the two separate clients. While the fronts of the cottages were given the same aesthetic treatment, that’s where the similarities ended. Jo Gillies, principal and director of Archisoul, says the project was “two different houses that share a common wall.” There were complex negotiations between the design team and the two clients in order to agree on an aesthetic strategy for the common aspects of the project. A strong juxtaposition between the old and new was used as a way of “honouring the past and defining the new,” and this is no more evident than in the southern cottage, where its small site and long, south-facing facade called for some clever architectural interventions to overcome the limitations.

The first tactic was to retain and reuse as much heritage material as possible in the existing cottage. All the timber floors were retained, and timber wall panelling was restored along with the ornate pressed metal ceilings. A clear delineation between the existing cottage and the new addition is made with sand-coloured polished concrete flooring. This, along with the warm tones of the plywood ceiling, give the space a beach-like feel. Bricks reused from a demolished chimney extend the original ground-floor fireplace to the first floor, connecting the two levels and offering a textural feature in the new living space, which is otherwise smooth and slick.

Over the dining area, a glass ceiling forms the floor of the upstairs study and allows light to pour into the downstairs space. Far from being dark and pokey, the central section of the house is dramatic and open. The client wanted people to “look up” when they entered the new section of the house and the glass connection allows for this to happen.

The kitchen island acts as a mediating device between the dining area and the living area, which connects out to the back courtyard. The whole of the ground floor can be opened up or screened off, and the polished concrete floors have in-slab heating, ensuring year-round comfort and flexibility. In general, the colour palette is conceived as “timeless and flexible” – nuanced neutrals of white and sand are contrasted with black, grey and brass accents.

Despite the proximity to the neighbours and the southerly aspect, the upstairs rooms are light-filled and private. Screening devices and windows have been carefully positioned to maximize light and minimize overlooking. The soft palette is continued on the upper levels, with oak flooring in the bedrooms and plywood ceilings. Clerestory windows from the internal bathrooms borrow light from the glazed study space, ensuring that they too are well lit from multiple directions.
Inspired to take a long summer adventure in a sweet tiny camper? Well, French start-up Carapate has unveiled a 10.5-foot-long, boat-like travel trailer for adventurous souls to travel in style and comfort. Although compact, the interior space of the Carapate Travel Trailer is incredibly flexible with a modular bed/sofa combo, a sliding galley kitchen and an extra-wide swing door to take in panoramic views.

According to the company, the design for the trailer was inspired by the beloved teardrop campers. Using the classic teardrop design as a starting point, the designers gave the camper a rounded trapezoid shape to create a bit more square footage. With traditional shipbuilding techniques, the team constructed the trailer to be incredibly lightweight. Coming in at approximately 990 pounds, the tiny trailer is easily towed by most vehicles and is extremely road-friendly. The nautical inspiration can also been seen in the camper’s exterior cladding, which includes wood, white and navy detailing. This sleek, yet classic feel continues throughout the interior.

The entrance is through an oversized door that swings open and upward. This extra large doorway provides plenty of natural light to the interior as well as wide, unobstructed views of whatever incredible scenery may be surrounding the vehicle.

Inside, white walls and wood detailing pay homage to boat interiors, as does the savvy storage solutions found throughout. The tiny camper comes equipped with a number of flexible furnishings that are meant to make the most out of minimal space.

A modular bed layout includes three single mattresses that can be folded up into a sofa or fit together on the floor to create a sleeping area for two. The galley kitchen is also a smart, space-saving design. The concealed countertop slides out to reveal the basic amenities, including a single-burner stove, sink and a pull-out cutting board.

The basic Carapate trailer package, which unfortunately is only available in Europe at the moment, starts at just under $16,000. However, the campers can also be customized with extra features including LED lighting, solar panels, an electric/gas fridge box and more.

Benny Chan/Fotoworks
John Friedman and Alice Kimm are thoroughly modern architects. That said, Friedman sounds a caveat about contemporary residential design: “I’m tired of boxy, stacked architecture,” he says firmly. He and Kimm—married co–principals of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects—were waiting for what she calls “simpatico clients who would let us explore the curved forms we’ve used in the interiors of more institutional projects.” That’s precisely what they got when a couple with multicultural heritages—including North African and South American—commissioned a new home in Santa Monica, California. Blame it on the Bossa Nova.

Well, not literally. But the clients’ respective backgrounds factored strongly in JFAK’s visualization and design process: Born in L.A. and raised mere blocks from the present site, the husband has European–Moroccan roots; the wife, a Brazilian, grew up in Rio de Janeiro, where her parents moved often, building homes along the way. Play a word–association game with those givens, and thoughts of whitewashed villages under intense blue skies, colorful tile work, and gracefully shaped buildings redolent of the samba, Brazil’s insinuating national dance-rhythm, spring to mind.

But before the architects let such seductive imagery flood their creative imaginations, they had to establish a general floor plan. The house needed to be large—there were two young daughters to accommodate—but not a behemoth that overwhelmed the mid-block site. Besides, there had to be yard space in which the kids could play. JFAK determined that a two-story building of just under 4,000 square feet would be perfectly scaled for the suburban neighborhood. It would also allow for appropriately spacious rooms and an efficient layout that flowed attractively.

In part, the plan pays homage to traditional Moroccan houses: “They typically have a gathering space next to the dining room where people close to the family socialize before eating,” Friedman, who was project lead, explains. “It is not the living room”—the classic salon marocain—“which is a more formal space close to the front entrance and separated from the more private areas deeper in the house.” Following suit, JFAK located the family’s everyday quarters at the rear of the house, where the kitchen, den, and dining areas conjoin to create a convivial hang-out space that opens up via stacked sliding doors to the back yard and swimming pool. A double-height living room at the front of the residence provides an elegant environment for less casual entertaining, while a guest room with compact bath completes the ground floor. Upstairs, the master suite and terrace face the back yard; the children’s bedrooms and baths look out to the front and side.

With the plan largely in place, the architects could concentrate on what the house would look like, inside and out. “Our decision not to put a second floor over the living room gave us freer rein in manipulating exterior and interior forms,” says Friedman, who was able to show the clients a number of options. When the most biomorphic scheme was revealed—an undulating wood shell finished in brilliant white plaster—the wife zeroed in on it “with a huge smile,” Kimm reports. “They’re not frivolous forms but relate to movement,” she says of the interlocking curved volumes. “There’s something joyful about them.”

Matthew Millman
Given a truly spectacular oceanfront site on Hawaii’s Big Island—set along an ancient footpath, atop a hardened lava flow, with views of sky, sun, and water for days—you would think that the design team could just lay back and chill. How could you screw it up? A hut would nearly suffice.

Turns out it took nearly three years to perfect a Kona Coast vacation home on just such a plot for a couple based in Portland, Oregon. The clients’ wait was rewarded with spectacular results. Architecture and interior are ultramodern and yet rely heavily on traditional materials and touchstones. Old and new ebb and flow as easily as the tides right outside the home's copious sliding-glass doors.

Principal Greg Warner of Walker Warner Architects and Philpotts Interiors partner Marion Philpotts-Miller approached the project in a thoughtful and methodical manner. “We call it the 'Village,'” Warner says of the unusual arrangement, a grouping of four separate structures linked by a lush courtyard and a series of walkways and patios. Indeed, traditional Hawaiian villages, typically organized in loose clusters, inspired both the site plan and the daring architectural style, an angular composition of canted steel columns, steep-pitched roofs, and rhomboidal window and door openings. “The structures represent a contemporary interpretation of early hale shelters,” Warner says. “They’re like modernist lean-tos.”

The clients wanted to use the compound to entertain friends and family. But they also desired privacy. So, Warner located the volumes housing the master suite and the main living areas on the site’s ocean side. Set back deeper in the property are pods containing the two guest suites and communal relaxation areas. Bedrooms open onto concrete-walled private courts for additional seclusion. The parcel of land isn’t huge—around 1 ½ acres—and the buildable area is much smaller; in total, interiors encompass approximately 4,800 square feet. But the arrangement (not to mention the sweeping views) makes the three-bedroom residence feel expansive.

The rugged rock walls of historic Mokuaikaua Church, located in nearby Kailua, inspired the primary building materials: lava rock and other stones mortared with lime putty. Warner and his former colleague, senior project manager David Shutt, also chose durable Western red cedar as the dominant wood—both for cladding and the roof shingles—since it resists heat, moisture, and insects. Inside, stained and lightly polished concrete flooring keeps things cool during the day.

As for the decor, Philpotts-Miller and her team were inspired by what she describes as the “adventurous nature” of the clients. Accordingly, “the use of color is very playful and dynamic,” she says. In the rec room, for instance, custom surfboards are mounted on the wall like artworks.

Otherwise, the scheme is no-frills, simple, and airy, with a midcentury vibe that Philpotts-Miller explains was inspired by the work of Hawaiian modernist Vladimir Ossipoff. And the rooms aren’t stuffed to the gills with furnishings. “Because the architecture is so thoughtfully put together and there’s so much natural texture, we didn’t need to load up the interiors,” Philpotts-Miller continues. She is particularly proud of how the living room riffs on an abstract oil on canvas by Lee Kelly. “We really let that piece define the palette,” she says. Note the neutral-toned Christian Liaigre oak sofa and wenge lounge chairs, plus a custom wool-cotton rug in a funky orange hue. “All the furniture is in harmony and set up to celebrate the view,” she summarizes.

The master bedroom is likewise grounded with earthy, timber-toned accents—whitewashed wood wall paneling, a walnut bench—and also lifted via a sky-blue rug and throw pillows. Philpotts-Miller and her team designed the project’s biggest pieces, including the master suite’s clean-lined bed with raffia and white-oak headboard, as well as the living room’s cocktail table in butterfly-jointed Australian mahogany.

By design, there’s very little barrier between indoors and out. Sapele-framed sliders glide open to the elements, and operable windows swivel to coax in the breeze and encourage cross ventilation. “The living room unfurls to become porchlike,” Warner adds, noting the continuity of floor and ceiling materials between interiors and adjacent alfresco sp
Andy Macpherson
A thoughtful response to its unique setting and climate in the Gold Coast’s Sanctuary Cove, this house, by Justin Humphrey Architect, embodies principles of subtropical modern architecture to create a textured home for living and entertaining.

Frank Sinatra and Whitney Houston headlined the Ultimate Event at Sanctuary Cove in 1988. The five-day festival heralded the grand opening of the Gold Coast canal estate, which had been ratified under its own legislative act, the Sanctuary Cove Resort Act 1985 . Over time, the secure, gated community has, for better or worse, resulted in an enclave of architectural expression. Set amongst all of this, Cove House by Justin Humphrey Architect is a visual delight, poised to make a valuable contribution to its surrounds for many years to come.

Director Justin Humphrey worked closely with the client to deliver the distinctive visual identity of Cove House. The client’s previous home had subscribed to the estate’s typical aesthetic and, in engaging Justin, she sought to make a defined departure from that vernacular. The result is a house that speaks to a much broader context, beyond the confines of its gated community. In addition to providing a beautiful home environment for living and entertaining, Cove House embodies a thoughtful response to its unique setting and climate.

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of the site was the need to contend with three outlooking interfaces – one to the canal, another facing an easement for a public path, and the street front – positioning the house very much at centrestage. The covenant required that the facade facing the pathway be built on the boundary and therefore fire rated. Rather than see this as a constraint, Justin used this wall as an opportunity to express the materiality of the house with board-formed concrete, articulated by powdercoated metallic louvres that cleverly assist in naturally ventilating the interior.

The home’s street front employs the external cladding materials to communicate its internal functions. The board-formed concrete continues around to express the public areas within the home, while the delicate timber battens proffer contrast and convey the private spaces, such as the bedrooms and bathrooms. Separating these two domains is a central axis that draws visitors inward from the entrance to the canal. The floating roof, with finely tapered edges, ties all of these elements together and gives lightness to the form. Many of these formal elements are propositions unique to tropical and subtropical modern architecture.

A further nod to tropical modernism exists in the sequence of internal gardens and courtyards. The large entry courtyard garden at once fulfils alternate definitions for the homograph “entrance” and performs several functions in the planning of the house, providing for entry to two bedrooms, designed for guests and adult children, and framing a view through the living areas to the water beyond. Smaller, open-roofed courtyard gardens, enclosed by sliding glass doors, work to visually demarcate circulation paths. They are seam-lessly integrated into the plan, adding light, texture and acoustic sensations reminiscent of those qualities found in Geoffrey Bawa’s domestic architecture.

The gardens are, collectively, a response to the client’s desire to work with honest materials, which extends to the refined materials palette chosen for the interior finishes. Most pronounced of those finishes are the timber battens used for screening and as a continuous element that ties the internal spaces together. When applied to sliding doors, they assist in providing cross-ventilation and passive cooling to the house. Each batten’s concave profile creates a seductive tactility through shadow and depth. The smart detailing evident in the screens represents so much about the project – most significantly, a collaboration between architect, fabricator and builder as a bespoke solution.

The internal finishes are also used to zone rooms within the open, public areas of the home. Individual spaces are sculpted using height and volume changes, the arrangement of garden courtyards and changes in ceiling finishes. This approach to creating rooms within the larger volumes encourages flexible inhabitation, from a quiet night in, to a large sprawling party. The capacity to entertain a small crowd was stipulated in the brief and, undoubtedly, Cove House will delight many party guests now and into the future.

Sanctuary Cove sits within the booming region of the northern Gold Coast, an area that is a growing hub for family entertainment. Cove House has the potential to play an influe
Simon Devitt
Two thick, wooden sleds allow this 430-square-foot beach hut to be relocated along the white sands of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula.

Placed on the dunes of New Zealand’s idyllic Coromandel Peninsula, Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects makes the most of its 430 square feet. Despite its petite stature, the timber-clad cabin is a relaxing retreat for a family of five, framing picturesque beach views.

Given that the Coromandel beach site lies within a coastal erosion zone where all buildings must be removable, the New Zealand–based architects have designed the home to rest on two thick wooden sleds, which allows for easy movement—whether it be back inland or across the beach and onto a barge.

With a brief from the clients requesting a small, simple, and functional design, the team have created the home to enable the family to explore the real essence of holiday living. "The normal rituals of daily life—cooking, dining, sleeping, and showering—are all connected to the outside," explains the firm. "Within, every available space is used: there are even secret cubby holes in the children's bunks."

A large, two-story shutter on the front facade opens up to reveal double-height, steel-framed glass doors, which instantly creates an intimate indoor/outdoor connection with spectacular seaside views.

When not in use, the holiday retreat can be completely closed up, protecting the structure against the elements. The home’s rough macrocarpa cladding blends harmoniously into the landscape.

The building's modest size and primary use of timber cladding embodies the client's desire for sustainability. "Apart from food delivery and non-recyclable waste removal, the hut functions as a self-sustaining organism with rain-catchment tanks, a worm-tank waste system, and separate potable and gray-water tanks," describes the firm.

Nic Lehoux
Built entirely of teak harvested on-site, this breezy solar-powered home near the beach ticks all the right boxes for a pair of avid environmentalists who love surfing.

When a couple of surfers with a passion for sustainability wanted a surf getaway in Costa Rica, they turned to Olson Kundig to bring their dream to life.

"The clients are surfers as well as avid environmentalists, and were seeking a vacation home that would reflect their deep commitment to sustainable land management in Costa Rica," explains the Seattle–based architecture firm, whose commitment to sustainable design and contextual craftsmanship drew the clients’ attention.

"Designed as an open-air surfer hut, the project engages the Costa Rican landscape in various ways, from the vegetation accessible just off the main floor, to the larger weather and surf patterns one can experience on the top level."

The architects dubbed the 2,140-square-foot home the Costa Rica Tree House after its tall and slim three-story structure that rises above the treetops, as well as for its use of locally harvested teak as a primary building and finish material.

Since the clients wanted immersion in nature, the house is set amidst dense jungle on a fairly secluded peninsula near Playa Hermosa beach. Instead of treating the remote location as an obstacle, Olson Kundig saw the property as an "ideal opportunity to source local materials and be inventive with solving design challenges."

In addition to locally felled timber, the architects worked with the contractor to craft fully custom balcony railings out of welded steel instead of rebar, which would have been difficult to import to the site. Many of the furnishings were also locally purchased or fabricated by the contractor.

The clients also wanted the home to operate passively and remain open to the outdoors. "Creating an open, naturally ventilated house in such a wet climate was certainly a challenge," notes Olson Kundig. "The double-layer movable screens help to keep water out, and the large roof overhang and gutter drainage systems are likewise designed to keep the interior of the home protected and dry."

Marty Peters and Brooks + Scarpa
In a Chicago suburb full of traditional gabled rooflines, California-based architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa has inserted a modern dwelling that puts a sculptural twist on a humble and overlooked building material: Chicago “Common” brick. Historically considered unattractive and only fit for unseen areas such as chimney flues, Chicago “Common” brick is given renewed attention in a recently completed courtyard house, dubbed the Thayer Brick House. Not only does the contemporary home use the brick for almost its entire facade, but it also shines the spotlight on the local resource with a sculptural, street-facing facade that’s made with twisting columns of stacked brick.

Made from indigenous Michigan clay, Chicago “Common” brick has long been considered undesirable and cheap due to its variations and irregularities. Instead of the classic red color, the prosaic material takes on a more yellow hue and has been traditionally used for areas hidden from the street, such as the side and back walls, chimney flues and structural support behind the facades. In making Chicago “Common” brick highly visible in the Thayer Brick House, Brooks + Scarpa is celebrating a local material and inviting passersby to reconsider unexpected uses for everyday materials and concepts.

“By using the familiar in an unfamiliar location and application, the material becomes perceptually both old and new at the same time,” the firm said. “This makes one more aware of not just the building, but also our sense of place. There is a sense of discovery, something spontaneous and unexpected. The object is important, but it’s the experience that has a profound impact and leaves something that lasts well beyond the mere physical and visual existence of the building. This gives us the opportunity to not only learn about design but also about ourselves, our collective cultures and our place in society.”

The use of Chicago “Common” brick helps contextualize the building and gives the building an unexpected appearance. The street-facing facade is made up of columns of brick rotated at varying degrees to make the courtyard look open or closed depending on where the viewer stands. Passersby can see the full effect of the facade, which has a moire-like pattern that appears to move as one walks past it. The sculptural facade also has the added benefit of reducing glare and providing privacy to the fully glazed interior volume.

Nelson Garrido
When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish.

The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban.

“As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.”

Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter.

Alex Welsh for The New York Times
A Lloyd Wright house, linked to the Black Dahlia murder, is now a photogenic backdrop for fund-raisers, music videos and cannabis gatherings.

In Los Angeles, where even houses get their proverbial close-ups as TV or movie locations, a property’s appeal can crest on its IMDb credits alone.

But only the Sowden House in the Los Feliz neighborhood can claim film cameos, a pedigreed architect and a history as the possible site of a grisly unsolved murder. Never mind the fact that the exterior entryway resembles a menacing maw, earning it the apt nickname “the Jaws house.”

Designed by 1926 by Lloyd Wright (the son of Frank Lloyd Wright), the Mayan Revival-style mansion most recently appeared in the TNT limited TV series “I Am the Night,” a fictionalized account of the Black Dahlia murder of an aspiring Hollywood actress, Elizabeth Short, in 1947.

Some believe that Ms. Short was murdered and mutilated in the basement of the Sowden House when it was owned by George Hodel, a prominent gynecologist who lived there from 1945 to 1950. Mr. Hodel was known for hosting wild parties in its basement.

Seven decades and five owners later, Sowden House is once again a swinging social center. Last year Dan Goldfarb, an entrepreneur and former hedge fund analyst from New York, bought the 5,600-square-foot, four-bedroom home for nearly $4.7 million with the idea to make it a cultural hub for cannabis. (Mr. Goldfarb is the founder of Canna-Pet, a company in Seattle that sells hemp-derived CBD products for cats, dogs and other pets.)

But Mr. Goldfarb, who has been called a “marijuana millionaire,” doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.

“There is this misconception that every event here is about cannabis,” he said on a sunny afternoon inside the sprawling living room. (In all fairness, however, it was hard to miss a sizable bong on the kitchen counter.) “This is not like ‘Cheech & Chong’ or a descent into ‘Reefer Madness.’”

Indeed, Mr. Goldfarb and his wife, Jenny Landers, have held fund-raisers for politicians (including one for Representative Katie Hill, Democrat of California) and nonprofits (Kindred Spirits Care Farm, which teaches students about farming). The house has also been used for a music video (for the XX song “I Dare You”), photo shoot (In Style magazine), art exhibition (by the Gagosian Gallery) and dance performance (for HomeLA, an arts group).

“You really don’t need to add much to the house because it has so much character,” Ms. Landers said.

The couple have no plans to redecorate (the furnishings were included in the sale), and they arrived at their new home in a minivan with just cats — eight of them — and suitcases. An 11-foot sofa fronts an ottoman fit for an ogre. A giant antique Japanese door serves as a coffee table.

“Everything is scaled up, like in “Alice in Wonderland,’” Mr. Goldfarb said. “A normal couch would look rinky-dink in here.”

With its undulating textile block walls, soaring ceilings and pavilion courtyard, the home certainly craves a crowd. Empty, it’s as incongruous as a woman in a ball gown at a bus stop.

The original owners, John Sowden and his wife, Ruth, envisioned it as a bohemian playhouse for aspiring actors and Hollywood bons vivants. The once grassy courtyard served as seating during performances. Now, a wading pool and an ornate fountain shimmer in the sunlight.
Muller Van Severen, Studio David Thulstrup, and Note Design Studio lend their talents to create captivating new cabinet fronts and countertops for your IKEA kitchen.

Your IKEA kitchen doesn’t need to be basic. Reform, a Copenhagen–based company founded in 2014 by Jeppe Christensen and Michael Anderson, offers architect-designed fronts and countertops to give your kitchen a chic, affordable upgrade. "We are here to challenge the traditional kitchen industry," say Christensen and Anderson. Reform collaborates with some of the biggest names in Scandinavian architecture and design, including Bjarke Ingels Group, Norm Architects, Sigurd Larsen, and Cecilie Manz.

Now, timed to coincide with International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York and 3daysofdesign in Copenhagen, Reform is launching three new collections. Muller Van Severen, Studio David Thulstrup, and Note Design Studio are bringing their acclaimed talents to Reform’s offerings.

Muller Van Severen

Ghent–based duo Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen form Muller Van Severen, are a design firm known for being at the intersection of art and design. Their new kitchen design for Reform, called MATCH, makes use of unconventional elements such as their signature material, the durable and wax-like HDPE, traditionally used in cutting boards. The duo playfully pairs the bright panels with classic features like brass handles and a marble countertop to create a bold, graphic look.

Studio David Thulstrup

Copenhagen–based Studio David Thulstrup’s series highlights materials and textures for kitchen options that are both classic and full of personality. "It's about how the materials come to life," explains Thulstrup. The collection is called PLATE, which is a reference to how the designer "plated" the solid, interior core material with different exterior materials as though making a sandwich. The result is a variety of elegant looks that include a rich, dark wood; a matte, industrial brushed aluminum and stainless steel; and a classic white option.

Note Design Studio

Multidisciplinary, forward-thinking, Stockholm–based Note Design Studio blends traditional, Scandinavian elements with a functional, human-centered approach in FRAME. "Our ambition was to create a kitchen that felt like something we could actually use ourselves," explain the designers. "There is so much going on in the kitchen—we wanted to keep the backdrop simple, elegant, and easy on the eye."
Bruno Zaitter
In the state of Paraná in the south of Brazil, architect Bruno Zaitter has created a contemporary and low-impact suite for the charming Hotel Fazenda Cainã in the countryside. Dubbed the Refúgio da Cainã, the building features walls of glass to take in sweeping views of the native forest, surrounding mountains and the city of Curitiba in the far distance. Elevated to reduce site impact, the prefab structure includes a repurposed container measuring nearly 40 feet in length.

Spanning an area of 538 square feet, the modern Refúgio da Cainã has been dubbed by Hotel Fazenda Cainã as their Hannah Arendt suite after the renowned American philosopher and political theorist. Included in their Villa do Bosque collection, the contemporary chalet is equipped with full-height windows for taking in views of the large native forest to the south, as well as city and valley views towards the east. The streamlined interiors are dressed with a natural materials palette that complements the outdoors.

“In this natural space marked by a wide green area and the characteristic geology of the site, the Refúgio da Cainã contemplates a simplistic structural concept that reveals the connection of the interior with the exterior by the minimal intervention in the natural environment,” explains the architect, who adds that the hotel is located in the area of a geological fault called the “Escarpa Devoniana.” “It has in its essence, the relation between the artificial structure and the natural universe, where the concept of the project is to harmonize with nature without trying to disguise it, revealing its straight lines as opposed the curved and organic lines of nature.”

To reduce environmental impact, the architect reused a nearly 40-foot-long metal container for the bulk of the building, which includes the bathroom on one end, the bedroom in the middle, along with a dining area and living room on the other end. A “glass box” was added to the container and houses a sitting area enclosed on three sides by floor-to-ceiling glazing. The building is elevated with pillars to preserve the natural terrain and minimize site impact.

MyAn Architects
Nestled in a misty pine forest, the Ta Nung Homestay Executive Office offers employees an environmentally sensitive space to work along with breathtaking views of Vietnam’s Central Highland landscape. Ho Chi Minh City-based architectural firm MyAn Architects designed the workspace to look like a cluster of geometric cabins that have been elevated on stilts to reduce site impact and to preserve mature pine trees. Floor-to-ceiling windows sweep an abundance of natural light and views of the mountainous landscape indoors.

Located in Ta Nung Valley about 11 miles from the city of Đà Lạt, the Ta Nung Homestay Executive Office was designed to foster collaboration and an appreciation of the site’s natural beauty. The nearly 5,400-square-foot construction was built from locally sourced pine to tie the architecture to the landscape, while full-height windows create a constant connection with the outdoors.

Oriented east to west, the building’s intimate workspaces and meeting areas, as well as two secondary bedrooms, are located on the east side. To the west is a spacious bedroom suite that is connected to the offices via an outdoor community terrace, which serves as the main entrance to the office and gathering space.

“The views and abundant daylight are celebrated and democratized,” the architects explained. “Bottom-to-top large panels of glass are lined up and combined with such vernacular, rich, textured material like pine wood for the rhythmic-formed roof, diffuse strong southern and northern sunlight while maintaining views and creating indistinguishable boundaries between indoor and outdoor space.”

The undulating roofline consists of two alternating gabled forms of different heights that give the project its sculptural appeal without detracting from the surroundings. Pine continues from the exterior to the interior, where it lines all the walls, ceilings and floors and is also used for furnishings. At night, string lights are used to illuminate the building to create an ethereal lantern-like glow in the darkness.

Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
Meticulously restored and relocated by the husband-and-wife team behind Polymath Park in Pennsylvania, Mäntylä House opens to tours and overnight stays near Fallingwater.

Tom and Heather Papinchak had their work cut out for them with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lindholm House, or the Mäntylä House. Above painted concrete blocks and tidewater cypress was a red roof of interlocking, Ludowici tiles—some 7,000 in all—and after sitting among the pines of Northern Minnesota since 1952, they’d become dilapidated, all coated in sap.

Yet that did not deter the Papinchaks, who took on the task of painstakingly removing, cataloging, and restoring by hand each and every tile—not to mention, every nut, bolt, and screw—in an effort to authentically preserve the Mäntylä House for its 990-mile trek to its new home in Pennsylvania, 20 miles from Wright’s famed Fallingwater.

This wasn’t their first rodeo at architectural preservation. In 2003, the couple purchased the Balter and Blum Houses designed by Wright apprentice Peter Berndston, along with the 130-acre property known as Polymath Park, with the intention of protecting the land from development. Then, in 2007, the couple relocated a midwestern Wright project, the Duncan House, to the grounds and opened up Polymath Park to lodging and tours.

So in 2016, after owners Julene and Peter McKinney (a Lindholm descendant) failed to find a buyer who would preserve the integrity of the Mäntylä House after years of trying, the Papinchaks’ nonprofit, Usonian Preservation, was granted a tremendous responsibility by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

"The hardest part was the first hit of the hammer," says Tom. "There were a lot of emotions, as it was a hard choice for everyone to move the house. We tried everything to keep it at the original location."

At its new site in Polymath Park, Mäntylä House is in good company. Aside from the Duncan House and the Berndtson-designed residences, there are hiking trails and even a restaurant, where Heather cooks in addition to managing the day-to-day operations. "We do it for the purpose for preservation, but also for people to truly enjoy the space and appreciate the history in front of us and his legacy," says Tom. "It’s important for generations to understand that Wright was so ahead of his time. It makes sense in today’s standard of living, which is greener, smaller, and utilizes space efficiently."
decaARCHITECTURE and George Messaritakis
On the southern coast of Crete, Greek architectural firm decaARCHITECTURE has turned a commission for a modern residence into an opportunity for land preservation. Named the Ring House for its rounded shape, the house was created to follow the existing topography and looks like an extension of its hilltop location. The site had been scarred by environmentally insensitive infrastructural development but has now recovered its original morphology and has been replanted with native flora.

Located in the seaside village of Agia Galini, the Ring House is surrounded with beautiful sea views, yet suffers hot summers. To create a cooling microclimate, the architects built part of the structure into the earth and added several protected shaded areas, as well as an inner garden planted with a variety of citrus trees and edible plants. The resulting effect is one that the architects liken to an “oasis within an intensely beautiful but physically demanding environment.”

“At a broader scale, the house is a landscape preservation effort,” explain the architects. “In the past, the topography had been severely scarred by the random and informal carving of roads. The excavation material extracted during the house’s construction, was used to recover the original morphology of the land. Furthermore, a thorough survey of the native flora was done in order to understand the predominant biotopes in the different slopes in the plot. During the spring, prior to construction, seeds were collected on site and cultivated in a green house to grow more seeds. These were then sowed over the road scars for the regeneration of the flora.”

Concrete beams that follow the existing topography of the hill and frame the inner garden define the Ring House. The entrance sequence begins from the parking pad to a long, curved walkway that wraps around the inner garden and provides access to the bedrooms on one side of the home and the open-plan living areas on the other side. The house is powered with rooftop solar panels.

Now you can add a tiny home or cabin kit to your cart.

You can buy just about anything on Amazon these days, from mundane household necessities to garish novelty items—and now, there are even DIY kits to help you construct your own tiny guest house, shed, office, or lounge. Take a look at the prefabricated units Amazon has to offer below, and get ready to upgrade your backyard.

Allwood Arlanda XXL
Ideal as a detached office, garden shed, or yoga studio, this 273-square-foot kit unit from Allwood will run you $10,695. The structure has large windows, a small porch, and a simple, clean design.

The Arlanda XXL from Allwood is available on Amazon for $10,695.

Ecohousemart Laminated Log House Kit
Made out of glulam—an engineered wood product made out of glued, laminated timber—this house kit has a gross area of 1,290 square feet. The home is designed to have three bedrooms and one bathroom, but note that additional materials not included in the kit are required.

Allwood Solvalla
This studio cabin kit from Allwood provides 172 square feet of outdoor and indoor space. The indoor space is well-lit from large windows on two sides, while the partially enclosed portion is covered with a shed roof and has vertical battens on one side to provide shade. The kit sells for $7,250.

Weizhengheng Expandable Container House
Geared toward those with an interest in sustainable design and lowering their carbon footprint, this expandable container house is made out of a galvanized, light steel frame and runs on a solar power system. The home is made in Germany and is available for $24,800.

Timber Frame House Lounge Kit by Ecohousemart
This prefabricated, cabin-like building is made out of a glulam and clad in northern spruce wood. The 1,000-square-foot structure can be customized depending on the type of foundation, windows and doors, or other requirements you might have, but does not come with these items: the kit mainly includes framing elements.

Allwood Getaway Cabin Kit by Lillevilla
Priced at $18,800, this cabin kit features 292 square feet of space, including a sleeping loft in the taller portion of the gable roof. Because the home has minimal insulation, it would ideally serve as a summer house, home office, or even a stand-alone retail building, but could easily be used as a residence or in colder climates with utility hookups and extra insulation.

Sunray by Allwood
This 162-square-foot cabin kit is available for $8,690 and is typically available to ship within three to five weeks. The kit is ideal for a lake or beach house, with large windows and shading on a deep front porch.
Earthship Media
An earthship is an accommodation with low environmental impact. The design of an earthship incorporates natural and recycled materials in the architecture and decor. It is built with conservation of natural resources in mind so that it produces its own water, electricity and food. Most earthships reuse discarded tires, cans and bottles for wall construction, and mud is common for wall plaster and floors. The energy savings through self-heating and cooling properties are remarkable. Most earthships rely on solar and wind energy as well as rain and snow harvesting for water needs.

The Phoenix Earthship is a prime example, located completely off the grid with its own garden. Available as a short-term rental through Airbnb, the Phoenix sleeps up to eight people in the 5,300-square-foot structure near Tres Piedras, New Mexico, so you can try out earthship living. Like most homes, the Phoenix has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen and a living room, and then there’s a jungle — inside.

The architectural and decorative details are incomparable with the building creating its own microclimate. That means plants and animals thrive in a space that is basically a greenhouse surrounded by the dry, sage-brush covered mesa surrounding it. The greenhouse and jungle areas feature a fish pond, birds, turtles, a food garden, banana trees and even a chicken coop that can provide fresh eggs during your stay.

The water process functions as a semi-closed unit, beginning with water runoff collection. After use, gray water feeds into the indoor plants that both drink and filter it, where it is stored and then pumped to the toilets as needed. From the toilet, the water heads to a traditional sewer where overflow is consumed by outdoor plants.

The entire structure looks like it was carved out of a hillside, with rounded walls and alcoves making up each space. Natural glass, clay, wood and rock can be found in every nook and cranny. Dubbed a “work of sustainable art,” the Phoenix Earthship provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the actual nature outside the glass with a fire pit and seating, views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and spaces for unparalleled stargazing.

In contrast to the remote feel and off-grid design, the Phoenix provides solar-powered modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, television and a cozy indoor fireplace with a water fountain feature.
Philippe Joner / Blacksquare
Swiss studio Index Architectes has designed a house in Villarlod, Switzerland, with asymmetric gables and wrapped it in a skin of angular clay tiles.

Index Architectes designed the house as a modern version of the gabled form of the barns and farmhouses that typify the region.

A modern twist was given to the house by extending eaves on the southwest facade, exaggerating the building's shape and giving it more space inside.

The eaves ensure that the large glazed openings lining the living areas are protected from direct sunlight and give the gabled ends a distinctive, asymmetric shape.

Traditional building methods and materials were employed throughout the project to reinforce its connection with the local architecture.

Village House is constructed using a large timber framework and is clad almost entirely with small, traditional tiles that wrap around the facades and onto the pitched roof.

"Echoing typical farm configurations, only the southwest facade is covered with wood," the architecture studio founded in 2011 by Alexandre Noël and Wynd van der Woude said.

"Being well oriented and protected by a canopy, it is less exposed to the wind and the rain."

Village House's simple, uniform section enabled the creation of a sequence of different functional zones within a continuous open space.

The plot slopes slightly, so sets of steps descend on either side of the entrance to connect a bedroom at one end of the house with the double-height kitchen, dining and living space at the other.

Rooms are organised around a central core containing a toilet and utility spaces, as well as a staircase leading to the upper storey. Bedrooms and a large landing on the first floor receive natural light from a row of skylights set into the sloping roof.

An otherwise unusable space beneath the lowest part of the eaves on the landing level incorporates a floor made from white netting where children can play.

A separate freestanding structure to the east of the main house provides a simple garage and storage area that continues the building's gabled form.

Other Swiss houses that play with form include a house on stilts with circular cut-outs, and a house with curving pink and green walls that doubles as a piece of public art.
James Brittain Photography
The American Institute of Architects has announced the 12 winners of the 2019 Housing Awards, an annual best-in-show for new residential construction, along with renovation and restoration projects by U.S.-licensed architects.

“It’s a life necessity, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and many people’s first and most personal encounter with architecture: the house,” wrote the organization. “By recognizing the best in home design, AIA Housing Awards show the world how beauty, safety, sustainability, and comfort can come together.”

The winning projects were divided into four categories, ranging from compact single-family homes to large multi-family housing developments. The 5-member jury evaluated each for design excellence, as well as innovation, affordability, construction quality, site engagement, and social and environmental impact.

Among the most eye-catching designs are Tiny Tower by Interface Studio Architects, a 38-foot-tall, steel-clad home, which was built in response to an awkwardly narrow city lot, and Mirror Point by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, an 80-foot-long, shingled lake house, which recalls the vernacular of old fishermen’s sheds.

The other recipients include Bates Masi + Architects, Anacapa Architecture and Willson Design, Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Kennerly Architecture & Planning, Abacus Architects + Planners, Snow Kreilich Architects, Marvel Architects, William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, and Kevin Daly Architects.

The AIA Housing Awards is now in its 19th consecutive year. Detailed information on each of this year’s winners and additional images can be found on the award’s website.