Our Favorite Dwellings of 2011
On the last day of the year, we look back at 2011's ten issues to select a few (but not all!) of our favorite stories. These homes, designed by innovative, passionate people from all over the globe, are a testament to what's possible in the modern world. We can't wait for what's yet to be discovered in 2012.
In Seattle, where others saw only a severe slope and lack of municipal hookups, one couple spotted their ticket to their dream home.
What do you get when you give a couple of designers unlimited creative license on a very limited budget? For Andrew Dunbar and Zoee Astrakhan, the possibilities were limitless.
For Brussels-based furniture designer Christiane Högner, inspiration comes less from glossy design mags than the castoffs she finds on the streets of Belgium.
The first time Houston-based architectural designer Barbara Hill set foot inside what would become her future second house, a 100-year-old adobe in Marfa, Texas, she found a cramped warren of rooms filled to the brim with trash. The structure, originally built as a private dance hall, had lived through many incarnations, from a grocery and candy store to, more recently, a haven for detritus. Undaunted, Hill purchased the property and spent the next year and a half transforming the derelict building into a sophisticated and slightly rough-around-the-edges retreat. Here she shares the story of a true West Texas revival.
When Svetlin Krastev and Dessi Nikolova had their second child, they saw two options: Go broke buying a bigger apartment, or renovate their existing 620-square-foot home.
Surrounded on all sides by a sweeping Canadian hayfield, the 23.2 House is an angular ode to rural life. Out of “respect for the beams and their history,” Designer Omer Arbel insisted that not a single reclaimed plank—still marked by nailheads and chipped paint—be cut nor altered during construction, which gave the home its striking geometric motif. It’s what he refers to as the “alchemy between material and process,” which also inspired the textured concrete walls and crisply milled walnut furniture.
Setsumasa and Mami Kobayashi’s weekend retreat, two and a half hours northwest of Tokyo, is “an arresting concept,” photographer Dean Kaufman says, who documented the singular refuge in the Chichibu mountain range. “It’s finely balanced between rustic camping and feeling like the Farnsworth House.”
When the Fisher family’s 1960s Long Island beach bungalow started to crumble, they sought an architect who’d preserve the home’s humble roots and mellow vibe, while subtly bringing the place up to date.
With ingenuity and plenty of elbow grease, architect John Tong turned an old Toronto dairy into the ultimate family clubhouse.
If good fences make good neighbors, then Shino and Ken Mori are the best neighbors ever. They invite us past the charred cedar facade of their Southern California home.
Working creatively to meet strict preservation codes, architect Roberto de Leon affixes a modern annex onto a historic Louisville house.
This pair of handy Portlanders doesn’t crave any more of Oregon’s territory than what’s taken up by their 704-square-foot home, hard-working garden, and smartly designed outdoor spaces.
A Marmol Radziner–designed prefab house, trucked onto a remote Northern California site, takes the pain out of the construction process.
Layer by layer, a crumbling 18th-century flat in the middle of Barcelona finds new life at the hands of architect Benedetta Tagliabue.