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20 Modern Living Rooms

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Space, light, and twists on color use define this collection of some of our favorite modern living rooms from issues past. View the collection all the way through to discover a surprising application of coral paint.
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  A glowing interior palette of bright pinks and reds is defined by jet-black steel frames, water tanks, and roofs in this Australian weekend home. Organic spacial form harmonizes to cohesive effect with the contrasting elements of black window frames and joinery. Refreshingly, the architect departed from a prevailing school of thought that insists rural dwellings blend sympathetically with the Australian bush. Instead, he imagined his building as a bold insertion. (Or the inside of a whale, ribs and all, according to the architect's friends.) Bold though it may be, the house is also practical, making use of clever solutions for resource use and child safety. Read more about the Judd home here.  Photo by: Peter Hyatt

    A glowing interior palette of bright pinks and reds is defined by jet-black steel frames, water tanks, and roofs in this Australian weekend home. Organic spacial form harmonizes to cohesive effect with the contrasting elements of black window frames and joinery. Refreshingly, the architect departed from a prevailing school of thought that insists rural dwellings blend sympathetically with the Australian bush. Instead, he imagined his building as a bold insertion. (Or the inside of a whale, ribs and all, according to the architect's friends.) Bold though it may be, the house is also practical, making use of clever solutions for resource use and child safety. Read more about the Judd home here.

    Photo by: Peter Hyatt

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  Geometric elements such as square windows and a semicircular lounge frame the ample light coming from a southern greenbelt in this living room. Despite lot and permit limitations, the home is a remarkable ode to modern living in Austin—complete with a special family backstory. Click here to see every room.  Photo by: Peter Yang

    Geometric elements such as square windows and a semicircular lounge frame the ample light coming from a southern greenbelt in this living room. Despite lot and permit limitations, the home is a remarkable ode to modern living in Austin—complete with a special family backstory. Click here to see every room.

    Photo by: Peter Yang

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  A path of dark stone flooring creates a strong visual line through the open rooms and floating furnishings (such as these Metropolitan chairs by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia). But there's much more to see in this home: Loyal readers will recognize the House of Earth + Light as the cover feature of the premiere issue of Dwell. See it all here.  Photo by: Daniel Hennessy

    A path of dark stone flooring creates a strong visual line through the open rooms and floating furnishings (such as these Metropolitan chairs by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia). But there's much more to see in this home: Loyal readers will recognize the House of Earth + Light as the cover feature of the premiere issue of Dwell. See it all here.

    Photo by: Daniel Hennessy

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  Once a warren of small, dark rooms, the main floor now offers a clear sight line from the patio straight through the kitchen, dining room, sitting area, and spare room to the street-facing window. Skylights deliver additional light into the 9.5-foot-wide home. Read more about this iconic San Francisco house that is often (erroneously) cited as the city's smallest.  Photo by: Zubin Shroff

    Once a warren of small, dark rooms, the main floor now offers a clear sight line from the patio straight through the kitchen, dining room, sitting area, and spare room to the street-facing window. Skylights deliver additional light into the 9.5-foot-wide home. Read more about this iconic San Francisco house that is often (erroneously) cited as the city's smallest.

    Photo by: Zubin Shroff

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  Architect Chad Everhart demolished a rotting Depression-era home (evidenced by cardboard-stuffing as insulation) and rebuilt it from the foundation up for just $159,000, land included, using locally-sourced pine and salvaged materials. Learn how he did it in Farmhouse Redux.

    Architect Chad Everhart demolished a rotting Depression-era home (evidenced by cardboard-stuffing as insulation) and rebuilt it from the foundation up for just $159,000, land included, using locally-sourced pine and salvaged materials. Learn how he did it in Farmhouse Redux.

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  Guitarist Andrew McKenzie built his first home squat in the middle of a commercial apple orchard. Resembling a floating barn on the exterior, the interior is all modern, including McKenzie's choice of "honest" plywood walls over New Zealand's popularly-used GIB (a brand of plasterboard). A high ceiling - viewable as an asymmetrical apex from the outside - aids acoustics and makes the home feel larger than its modest 26x26 footprint. Read more about the McKenzie Residence here.  Photo by: Patrick ReynoldsCourtesy of: Patrick Reynolds

    Guitarist Andrew McKenzie built his first home squat in the middle of a commercial apple orchard. Resembling a floating barn on the exterior, the interior is all modern, including McKenzie's choice of "honest" plywood walls over New Zealand's popularly-used GIB (a brand of plasterboard). A high ceiling - viewable as an asymmetrical apex from the outside - aids acoustics and makes the home feel larger than its modest 26x26 footprint. Read more about the McKenzie Residence here.

    Photo by: Patrick Reynolds

    Courtesy of: Patrick Reynolds

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  The soaring living room of architect Alejandro Sticotti could stand in for a furniture showroom: The architect designed the couch, coffee tables, and stumplike stools, while shelving was impressive enough to be picked up by Design Within Reach for production. But the Sticotti house is also remarkable for presenting a distinctively Argentinean dose of modernity, which stands in contrast to the century-old Tudors surrounding it. View the entire slideshow here.  Photo by: Cristóbal Palma

    The soaring living room of architect Alejandro Sticotti could stand in for a furniture showroom: The architect designed the couch, coffee tables, and stumplike stools, while shelving was impressive enough to be picked up by Design Within Reach for production. But the Sticotti house is also remarkable for presenting a distinctively Argentinean dose of modernity, which stands in contrast to the century-old Tudors surrounding it. View the entire slideshow here.

    Photo by: Cristóbal Palma

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  The second level of this reinvented factory features an open kitchen and dining room that does double duty as office. But this isn't your typical live/work space. Basic Village brings the entire business operation (factory, office, retail) of its owner, Marco Boglione, under one roof and throws in a bank, bar, supermarket, salon, roof garden, and residence for good measure. See all of "Basic Living."  Photo by: Jacob Langvad

    The second level of this reinvented factory features an open kitchen and dining room that does double duty as office. But this isn't your typical live/work space. Basic Village brings the entire business operation (factory, office, retail) of its owner, Marco Boglione, under one roof and throws in a bank, bar, supermarket, salon, roof garden, and residence for good measure. See all of "Basic Living."

    Photo by: Jacob Langvad

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  When Los Angeles architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt began building their own home, they became their own ideal clients: Open to adventurous ideas, but still within the mainstream. They were also mindful of the historic Mount Washington neighborhood on which the home is built, avoiding the locale's development trend toward too-high dwellings. A high ceiling in the living room is architecturally stunning, but also serves a neat purpose of better capturing the home's northern-slope light. Modern and livable, Eames chairs are equally at ease with a sod seat on the deck. Take a peek into Domestic Democracy.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

    When Los Angeles architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt began building their own home, they became their own ideal clients: Open to adventurous ideas, but still within the mainstream. They were also mindful of the historic Mount Washington neighborhood on which the home is built, avoiding the locale's development trend toward too-high dwellings. A high ceiling in the living room is architecturally stunning, but also serves a neat purpose of better capturing the home's northern-slope light. Modern and livable, Eames chairs are equally at ease with a sod seat on the deck. Take a peek into Domestic Democracy.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

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  A modern three-story Boston residence features an innovative roofdeck, making use of the area's flat roof style. Inside, this "big room" contains a kitchen, a washer-dryer, and ample work surfaces. Three may be company for the owners (an architect duo and an elder brother), but it didn't take long for a restlessness at living in one's own project to develop. "It’s hard to live with stuff you designed,” John Hong, the younger brother and one-half of Single Speed Design, says. “It’s like having a painting you made hanging over the bed. When you see it every day, you can go nuts thinking about what needs reworking.” There is plenty else to work on: Single Speed Design garnered enough attention with this project to begin new projects, including the world's first home to be made from highway beams and roadbeds. Read more.  Photo by: Roger DaviesCourtesy of: Justin Reid

    A modern three-story Boston residence features an innovative roofdeck, making use of the area's flat roof style. Inside, this "big room" contains a kitchen, a washer-dryer, and ample work surfaces. Three may be company for the owners (an architect duo and an elder brother), but it didn't take long for a restlessness at living in one's own project to develop. "It’s hard to live with stuff you designed,” John Hong, the younger brother and one-half of Single Speed Design, says. “It’s like having a painting you made hanging over the bed. When you see it every day, you can go nuts thinking about what needs reworking.” There is plenty else to work on: Single Speed Design garnered enough attention with this project to begin new projects, including the world's first home to be made from highway beams and roadbeds. Read more.

    Photo by: Roger Davies

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  In the living room, Caspar educates his young son Roemer about the finer points of modern design. The red leather Gigi is van den Berg’s racy yet refined swivel armchair. Looking at this chair, it comes as no surprise that the designer drives a Porsche. “It’s from the late ’90s, but it’s already a classic,” says Caspar. “I just love the versatility of this one—you can sit forwards or sideways in it.” The window wall behind is one of a pair at each end helping to bring light in while maintaining the aim of "living behind walls." See the entire Collette Residence here.  Photo by: Martien MulderCourtesy of: Justin Reid

    In the living room, Caspar educates his young son Roemer about the finer points of modern design. The red leather Gigi is van den Berg’s racy yet refined swivel armchair. Looking at this chair, it comes as no surprise that the designer drives a Porsche. “It’s from the late ’90s, but it’s already a classic,” says Caspar. “I just love the versatility of this one—you can sit forwards or sideways in it.” The window wall behind is one of a pair at each end helping to bring light in while maintaining the aim of "living behind walls." See the entire Collette Residence here.

    Photo by: Martien Mulder

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  White lighting elements, finishes, furnishings, walls, and moldings create a feeling of modern openness to this traditional floor plan in New York. Architect Stephan Cassell helped the transplanted couple see past the "43 layers of paint" to the modern potential within. “These old buildings always have interesting layouts that work well,” Cassell notes, “and have a certain elegance to them." See the transformation.

    White lighting elements, finishes, furnishings, walls, and moldings create a feeling of modern openness to this traditional floor plan in New York. Architect Stephan Cassell helped the transplanted couple see past the "43 layers of paint" to the modern potential within. “These old buildings always have interesting layouts that work well,” Cassell notes, “and have a certain elegance to them." See the transformation.

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  Zahle and Rich’s home has just one bedroom, so they put up a wall (hidden by the bookshelf) and sliding door to create a master bedroom at one end of the glass-walled main room. Thanks to modern insulation technology, “there is almost no difference between outside and inside,” says Zahle. It's a peek inside one home in the incredible urban development project of star architect Bjarke Ingles. Read more.  Photo by: Jens Passoth

    Zahle and Rich’s home has just one bedroom, so they put up a wall (hidden by the bookshelf) and sliding door to create a master bedroom at one end of the glass-walled main room. Thanks to modern insulation technology, “there is almost no difference between outside and inside,” says Zahle. It's a peek inside one home in the incredible urban development project of star architect Bjarke Ingles. Read more.

    Photo by: Jens Passoth

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  The witty echo between skylight and ottoman is one of many clever features of this Poland dwelling. The resident inherited the apartment from his grandmother, and he cobbled her various wooden furnishings into a multipurpose storage and functional unit called the Hardbox. Soft elements contrast with the wooden unit (view it in our slideshow), including sheer curtains that softly conceal shelving and separate spaces.  Courtesy of: Justin Reid

    The witty echo between skylight and ottoman is one of many clever features of this Poland dwelling. The resident inherited the apartment from his grandmother, and he cobbled her various wooden furnishings into a multipurpose storage and functional unit called the Hardbox. Soft elements contrast with the wooden unit (view it in our slideshow), including sheer curtains that softly conceal shelving and separate spaces.

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  Clean white is supercharged with a background-to-floor-to-fore dose of coral. The adventurous decision to paint the floors makes the room. The background to the home's story is even more beguiling, as one urban resident brings Usonian design to a small city space. It works. Read more.  Courtesy of: Justin Reid

    Clean white is supercharged with a background-to-floor-to-fore dose of coral. The adventurous decision to paint the floors makes the room. The background to the home's story is even more beguiling, as one urban resident brings Usonian design to a small city space. It works. Read more.

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  In Jens Risom's living room, his sofa, rug, table, shelving and fireplace mingle warmly with an Egg chair, the only piece not his own. Unconscious or not, it's an appropriate reflection of a prolific professional career that is still active. Risom was one of the first great midcentury modern designers, and recent work includes a Pucci collaboration. Our interview reveals fascinating insights and history—including Risom's relationships with other leading lights of modern design. Read more.

    In Jens Risom's living room, his sofa, rug, table, shelving and fireplace mingle warmly with an Egg chair, the only piece not his own. Unconscious or not, it's an appropriate reflection of a prolific professional career that is still active. Risom was one of the first great midcentury modern designers, and recent work includes a Pucci collaboration. Our interview reveals fascinating insights and history—including Risom's relationships with other leading lights of modern design. Read more.

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  Massimo Iosa Ghini's Casa Fluida features an open layout of fluid space inspired by the "fluid city" of Memphis. Ghini, said to be the founder of Bolidism, traces an insightful line from the speed-obsessed movement's influence on Memphis design philosophy to the current culture. Read the entire interview here.  Courtesy of: Justin Reid

    Massimo Iosa Ghini's Casa Fluida features an open layout of fluid space inspired by the "fluid city" of Memphis. Ghini, said to be the founder of Bolidism, traces an insightful line from the speed-obsessed movement's influence on Memphis design philosophy to the current culture. Read the entire interview here.

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  The open-plan living spaces act like a “giant kitchen” that invites guests to mingle throughout the house. Fresh white light gets the bookend treatment with parallel ruby sofas. You'd never know this home is made from shipping containers—unless you look twice. See more.  Photo by: Jack ThompsonCourtesy of: Justin Reid

    The open-plan living spaces act like a “giant kitchen” that invites guests to mingle throughout the house. Fresh white light gets the bookend treatment with parallel ruby sofas. You'd never know this home is made from shipping containers—unless you look twice. See more.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  Rocks dug up during construction were saved and incorporated into the poured-concrete floors and walls. Hydronic heating coils in the floor are augmented by a wood stove during the damp winters. One of the home's most innovative features, a sliding wall, opens completely to the outdoors—sometimes, bringing it in. "We get lizards inside and don’t bother to run them out. We’ve had wild turkeys wander in, and a baby squirrel used to sleep with the kids," says the owner. Read more.  Photo by: Todd HidoCourtesy of: Justin Reid

    Rocks dug up during construction were saved and incorporated into the poured-concrete floors and walls. Hydronic heating coils in the floor are augmented by a wood stove during the damp winters. One of the home's most innovative features, a sliding wall, opens completely to the outdoors—sometimes, bringing it in. "We get lizards inside and don’t bother to run them out. We’ve had wild turkeys wander in, and a baby squirrel used to sleep with the kids," says the owner. Read more.

    Photo by: Todd Hido

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  A spare space gives center stage to the oversize Jens Risom conference table in Bob Weinstein’s live/work loft. The table, he says, “supposedly came from the conference room of the Kinney Shoe Corporation.” Previously working and living in three pieces of real estate, the 5,600 square foot loft in Manhattan is a spacious, successful execution of the perennial work/live space. Read more.  Photo by: Elizabeth FelicellaCourtesy of: Justin Reid

    A spare space gives center stage to the oversize Jens Risom conference table in Bob Weinstein’s live/work loft. The table, he says, “supposedly came from the conference room of the Kinney Shoe Corporation.” Previously working and living in three pieces of real estate, the 5,600 square foot loft in Manhattan is a spacious, successful execution of the perennial work/live space. Read more.

    Photo by: Elizabeth Felicella

    Courtesy of: Justin Reid

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  The oversize conference table in Bob Weinstein’s live/work loft (like the cocktail table in the foreground) was designed by Jens Risom, and, he says, “supposedly came from the conference room of the Kinney Shoe Corporation.” Weinstein uses the table to display part of his Scandinavian pottery collection.

    The oversize conference table in Bob Weinstein’s live/work loft (like the cocktail table in the foreground) was designed by Jens Risom, and, he says, “supposedly came from the conference room of the Kinney Shoe Corporation.” Weinstein uses the table to display part of his Scandinavian pottery collection.

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