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Mapping Design: 9 International Homes We Love

From a barn revival in the UK to a houseboat in Amsterdam to a bright small space in Bratislava and a sustainable glass house commune in Japan, the following homes comprise a brilliant showcase of international innovations in modern design.

maximizing small space in japan

Simple Division

A Tokyo architect’s shape-shifting apartment takes a holistic approach to live/work style.

true value kitchen

True Value

The budget was nearly as tight as the space in this cheerful renovation of a 516-square-foot flat in Bratislava.

Exterior of modern barn house in England

Barns Ennobled

Subverting the traditional, conservatively cozy British barn conversion, Carl Turner created a getaway in rural Norfolk for himself and his friends to visit, repose, and consider the beauty of agrarian minimalism.

Modern home in Scotland with Japanese and Scottish influences

A Piece of Home

Made of hardy Scottish materials and holding a Japanese heart, this Edinburgh house shows that two architects from disparate cultures can design a home that bridges the gap.

Façade with custom cedar windows and wooden dowels

Almost Perfect

Inspired by tansu chests and raw materials that show patina, a pair of Sydney-based architects renovated their own home—slowly.

visser van der ende residence houseboat interior kitchen

At the Elm

When a couple in Amsterdam decided to upgrade their residence from a small houseboat to a larger one, they sought a design that would elevate the kitchen—literally. Set on the top floor and opening onto a large terrace, the airy room is the hub of the house(boat).

katz residence stairs portrait

Katz's Cradle

Gregory Katz proves that three times is a charm with his trio of concrete homes, which challenge the status quo in this quiet Johannesburg suburb.


Inclined to Relax

Hidden on a hill overlooking Australia’s Pittwater Bay, Rob Brown’s design for the James-Robertson house happily opens itself (and its occupants) to all that Mother Nature can dish out.

millennium city exterior overview

Low-Tech Utopia

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, which probably isn't an issue when the glass house is a commune.