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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.

hale residence exterior 2

A New Slant

In Seattle, where others saw only a severe slope and lack of municipal hookups, one couple spotted their ticket to their dream home.

Dunbar Astrkhan 1

Just Redo It

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.

Designer Christiane Hogner, Bruxelles

Kind of New

For Brussels-based furniture designer Christiane Högner, inspiration comes less from glossy design mags than the castoffs she finds on the streets of Belgium.

Barbara Hill's Dancehall/House in Marfa, Texas
September 14, 2010
Misty Keasler

Dance Dance Renovation

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.

krastev nikolova

All Together Now

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.

bishop kitchen portrait  1

Modern Angular Rural Family Home in Canada

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. 

Yellow North Face tent atop a wooden deck

A Platform for Living

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.”

Modern beach bungalow renovation in Long Island

Long Island Found

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.

John Tong

Play's the Thing

With ingenuity and plenty of elbow grease, architect John Tong turned an old Toronto dairy into the ultimate family clubhouse.

everett house

A Well-Grafted Home

Working creatively to meet strict preservation codes, architect Roberto de Leon affixes a modern annex onto a historic Louisville house.

residential urban wooden box harpoon house

Small Wooden Box Home in Portland

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.

Marmol Radziner–designed prefab house

A Simple Plan

A Marmol Radziner–designed prefab house, trucked onto a remote Northern California site, takes the pain out of the construction process.

tagliabue house andalusian tile plaster walls peter and allison smithson armchair josef frank textile

Arch Support

Layer by layer, a crumbling 18th-century flat in the middle of Barcelona finds new life at the hands of architect Benedetta Tagliabue.

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