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The 20 Most Popular Homes in Dwell

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When compiling the list of the 20 most popular modern homes featured throughout Dwell's 12-year history, certain themes began to surface: small space projects, renovations, unconventional living situations, and crisp, Spartan interiors. Click through for a look at the projects, ranging in scope from prefab prototypes to communal living and more.

  • 
  A Platform for Living
Photographer Dean Kaufman described this retreat in Japan's Chichibu mountain range as “finely balanced between rustic camping and feeling like the Farnsworth House.” One of the most unique projects we've featured, the minimalist structure includes platforms upon which to pitch tents for sleeping and an enclosed space for cooking, eating, bathing, and lounging. Favorite features include a series of wall-mounted climbing holds and products from the residents' camping gear company.  Photo by: Dean KaufmanCourtesy of: Dean Kaufman
    A Platform for Living Photographer Dean Kaufman described this retreat in Japan's Chichibu mountain range as “finely balanced between rustic camping and feeling like the Farnsworth House.” One of the most unique projects we've featured, the minimalist structure includes platforms upon which to pitch tents for sleeping and an enclosed space for cooking, eating, bathing, and lounging. Favorite features include a series of wall-mounted climbing holds and products from the residents' camping gear company.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

    Courtesy of: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  Undivided Intentions
A 1972 David Boone design proved to be the perfect site for Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander, principals of San Francisco interior design consultancy Studio O+A. The sprawling 2,8000-square-foot  modern house perched on a hillside in Orinda, California, includes two separate sections: one for living and one for working. The interior features an eclectic mix of design classics and contemporary pieces in bright and airy rooms capped with a redwood-clad ceiling. In the studio space is a visual pandemonium of colorful photographs, architectural models, art supplies, and bric-a-brac.  Photo by: Noah Webb
    Undivided Intentions A 1972 David Boone design proved to be the perfect site for Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander, principals of San Francisco interior design consultancy Studio O+A. The sprawling 2,8000-square-foot modern house perched on a hillside in Orinda, California, includes two separate sections: one for living and one for working. The interior features an eclectic mix of design classics and contemporary pieces in bright and airy rooms capped with a redwood-clad ceiling. In the studio space is a visual pandemonium of colorful photographs, architectural models, art supplies, and bric-a-brac.

    Photo by: Noah Webb

  • 
  A Narrow Victory



A family of four manages to squeeze into this shoebox-sized New York apartment thanks to brilliant design tactics by no roof architects. To combat the constraints of living in a small space—a familiar dilemma for apartment dwellers—the residents opted for Murphy beds, fold-down tables, and storage in nearly even nook and cranny to make the most of the 700-square feet they occupy.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    A Narrow Victory A family of four manages to squeeze into this shoebox-sized New York apartment thanks to brilliant design tactics by no roof architects. To combat the constraints of living in a small space—a familiar dilemma for apartment dwellers—the residents opted for Murphy beds, fold-down tables, and storage in nearly even nook and cranny to make the most of the 700-square feet they occupy.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

  • 
  Basic Instincts
“There’s a soulfulness in this small house that’s impossible to replicate in something completely new. The sweetness truly lingers," says architect Michael Lee of this Manhattan Beach, California, house. Originally built in the 1930s, it recently underwent a gut renovation that included vaulting the ceilings, adding custom storage, and building a sliding door system that hides the compact kitchen. Though small in size, the residence contains owner Matt Jacobson's collection of vintage furniture—including pieces by George Nelson, Alexander Girard, Massimo Vignelli, Willy Guhl, and Robin Day—the blend of old and being a winning combination.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen
    Basic Instincts “There’s a soulfulness in this small house that’s impossible to replicate in something completely new. The sweetness truly lingers," says architect Michael Lee of this Manhattan Beach, California, house. Originally built in the 1930s, it recently underwent a gut renovation that included vaulting the ceilings, adding custom storage, and building a sliding door system that hides the compact kitchen. Though small in size, the residence contains owner Matt Jacobson's collection of vintage furniture—including pieces by George Nelson, Alexander Girard, Massimo Vignelli, Willy Guhl, and Robin Day—the blend of old and being a winning combination.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

  • 
  Creative Commons

The rooftops of country buildings in Holland were the inspiration for Villa van Vijven's orange facade. The structure consists of five apartments and brings an experiment in communal living where five families banded together to create an architecturally minded retreat just outside of Amsterdam. “I think we all still wonder what on earth it was that made us go for this unusual design,” say one of the residents. “It surprises me every day that we dared to do it. It really is the building of our dreams.”  Photo by: Dean KaufmanCourtesy of: Dean Kaufman
    Creative Commons The rooftops of country buildings in Holland were the inspiration for Villa van Vijven's orange facade. The structure consists of five apartments and brings an experiment in communal living where five families banded together to create an architecturally minded retreat just outside of Amsterdam. “I think we all still wonder what on earth it was that made us go for this unusual design,” say one of the residents. “It surprises me every day that we dared to do it. It really is the building of our dreams.”

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

    Courtesy of: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  The Airstream Life

Andreas Stavropoulos describes the metamorphosis of his kitted-out Airstream as "an archeological study in all things Americana." After scouring Craigslist to find the 1959 travel trailer, Stavropoulos added "cork flooring, track lighting, fresh colorful paint, and custom designed cabinets and furniture to fit the sinuous interior topography."  Photo by: Mark ComptonCourtesy of: Mark Compton
    The Airstream Life Andreas Stavropoulos describes the metamorphosis of his kitted-out Airstream as "an archeological study in all things Americana." After scouring Craigslist to find the 1959 travel trailer, Stavropoulos added "cork flooring, track lighting, fresh colorful paint, and custom designed cabinets and furniture to fit the sinuous interior topography."

    Photo by: Mark Compton

    Courtesy of: Mark Compton

  • 
  Underground House in Seoul

All that's visible of architect Byoung Soo Cho’s Earth House is a slab of concrete and a staircase leading below ground. An exercise in Taoist ideas about positive and negative space, the residence is used as a weekend retreat and for stargazing.  Photo by: Wooseop Hwang
    Underground House in Seoul All that's visible of architect Byoung Soo Cho’s Earth House is a slab of concrete and a staircase leading below ground. An exercise in Taoist ideas about positive and negative space, the residence is used as a weekend retreat and for stargazing.

    Photo by: Wooseop Hwang

  • 
  New Grass Roots

With its corrugated-aluminum exterior, X House in Hennepin, Illinois, was built to resemble rural silos. The inside, however, features rich wood paneling and spare furnishings. From floor-to-ceiling windows, the residents have a view of the surrounding grassland.
    New Grass Roots With its corrugated-aluminum exterior, X House in Hennepin, Illinois, was built to resemble rural silos. The inside, however, features rich wood paneling and spare furnishings. From floor-to-ceiling windows, the residents have a view of the surrounding grassland.
  • 
  Park Street Renovation

The renovation of a Victorian in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood nearly doubled its size. Behind its unassuming traditional facade lies a spacious modern kitchen, bright bedrooms, and a roof deck.
    Park Street Renovation The renovation of a Victorian in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood nearly doubled its size. Behind its unassuming traditional facade lies a spacious modern kitchen, bright bedrooms, and a roof deck.
  • 
  Prefab Proven

In January 2003, Dwell issued a challenge to 16 architects: Design a modern prefab home for $200,000. Resolution: 4 Architecture entered this prefab wonder clad in red cedar and surrounded by decks to facilitate outdoor living into the contest.  Photo by: Roger Davies
    Prefab Proven In January 2003, Dwell issued a challenge to 16 architects: Design a modern prefab home for $200,000. Resolution: 4 Architecture entered this prefab wonder clad in red cedar and surrounded by decks to facilitate outdoor living into the contest.

    Photo by: Roger Davies

  • 
  Designed In-House

Here's the house that started it all: Dwell founder Lara Deam's Mill Valley abode. Her husband, architect Christopher Deam, recently spearheaded its renovation. "It feels like this design unlocked what the house wanted to be," says Lara. "We had the advantage of being here since ’94, studying how the sun moves throughout the year, seeing how we all lived in it, and finally figuring out how we wanted to live in it. I think it allows for that now. To use the kids’ words, we made it 'more awesomer!'"  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    Designed In-House Here's the house that started it all: Dwell founder Lara Deam's Mill Valley abode. Her husband, architect Christopher Deam, recently spearheaded its renovation. "It feels like this design unlocked what the house wanted to be," says Lara. "We had the advantage of being here since ’94, studying how the sun moves throughout the year, seeing how we all lived in it, and finally figuring out how we wanted to live in it. I think it allows for that now. To use the kids’ words, we made it 'more awesomer!'"

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

  • 
  A Rational Approach

The stainless steel Bulthaup kitchen of typography guru Erik Spiekermann and his wife, designer Susanna Dulkinys, “cost as much as a small house,” said Spiekermann. Their sleek Berlin domicile was designed with function and aesthetics in mind—the same principals as designing a typeface, says Spiekrmann.  Photo by: Pia Ulin
    A Rational Approach The stainless steel Bulthaup kitchen of typography guru Erik Spiekermann and his wife, designer Susanna Dulkinys, “cost as much as a small house,” said Spiekermann. Their sleek Berlin domicile was designed with function and aesthetics in mind—the same principals as designing a typeface, says Spiekrmann.

    Photo by: Pia Ulin

  • 
  New Prospects

Jeff Sherman's Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, renovation took 10 years to complete. "Every time I got a paycheck, I’d go buy some materials and think of the next thing to do. It forced me to pace myself. I began by taking care of basic needs, like building a rudimentary kitchen and a closet so I could put away my clothes. I also knew I really wanted a big tree in the backyard, so I planted a baby American elm, knowing it takes a long time to grow. Ten years later, it’s taller than the house," says Sherman.  Photo by: Dustin Aksland
    New Prospects Jeff Sherman's Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, renovation took 10 years to complete. "Every time I got a paycheck, I’d go buy some materials and think of the next thing to do. It forced me to pace myself. I began by taking care of basic needs, like building a rudimentary kitchen and a closet so I could put away my clothes. I also knew I really wanted a big tree in the backyard, so I planted a baby American elm, knowing it takes a long time to grow. Ten years later, it’s taller than the house," says Sherman.

    Photo by: Dustin Aksland

  • 
  Comic book collector Mathieu Vinciguerra requested ample built-in shelving for his 635-square-foot Paris apartment. In a 21st-century homage to both the compartmentalization of Hausmann-era interiors and graphic novels, it features dozens of boxy shelves, highlighted by saturated colors.  Photo by: Céline Clanet
    Comic book collector Mathieu Vinciguerra requested ample built-in shelving for his 635-square-foot Paris apartment. In a 21st-century homage to both the compartmentalization of Hausmann-era interiors and graphic novels, it features dozens of boxy shelves, highlighted by saturated colors.

    Photo by: Céline Clanet

  • 
  Slim Fit

“We didn’t want to have a dark old Victorian. But we also didn’t want to have a contemporary bowling alley,” says David MacNaughtan of his Toronto house.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Slim Fit “We didn’t want to have a dark old Victorian. But we also didn’t want to have a contemporary bowling alley,” says David MacNaughtan of his Toronto house.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  How to Play FlatPak

“FlatPak didn’t start out as a grand plan,” architect Charlie Lazor says about his prefab system. “It started from my own frustration. Zelda and I wanted a house. We didn’t like what was out there. So I started to design a system appropriate to my needs.”  Photo by: Chad Holder
    How to Play FlatPak “FlatPak didn’t start out as a grand plan,” architect Charlie Lazor says about his prefab system. “It started from my own frustration. Zelda and I wanted a house. We didn’t like what was out there. So I started to design a system appropriate to my needs.”

    Photo by: Chad Holder

  • 
  Family Style

When a Japanese couple asked architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka to design a small home that would evoke the Italian love of food, informal gatherings, and natural settings, the result was la dolce vita in Tokyo.  Photo by: Adam FriedbergCourtesy of: Adam Friedberg
    Family Style When a Japanese couple asked architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka to design a small home that would evoke the Italian love of food, informal gatherings, and natural settings, the result was la dolce vita in Tokyo.

    Photo by: Adam Friedberg

    Courtesy of: Adam Friedberg

  • 
  Raise High the Roofbeams

“It was our love of the old materials that dictated a lot of the renovation decisions,” says Helen Rice of her resuscitated classic Charleston single. “We didn’t want to overshadow or alter those elements in any unnatural way. We wanted the space to feel warm but spare, with a mixture of old and new.”  Photo by: Daniel Shea
    Raise High the Roofbeams “It was our love of the old materials that dictated a lot of the renovation decisions,” says Helen Rice of her resuscitated classic Charleston single. “We didn’t want to overshadow or alter those elements in any unnatural way. We wanted the space to feel warm but spare, with a mixture of old and new.”

    Photo by: Daniel Shea

  • 
  A Place to Stand

Designed for her parents and generations to come, Amanda Yates's seaside New Zealand house is "somewhere between architecture and landscape" but firmly rooted in family life. The concrete wall mimics the slope of the hill outside as a reference to early Maori structures that were dug into the land. The simple kitchen has strandboard cabinetry and an MDF island that conceals a fireplace at one end. The ceramic works on the built-in seat at right are by Raewyn Atkinson and Robyn Lewis.  Photo by: Matthew WilliamsCourtesy of: matthew williams
    A Place to Stand Designed for her parents and generations to come, Amanda Yates's seaside New Zealand house is "somewhere between architecture and landscape" but firmly rooted in family life. The concrete wall mimics the slope of the hill outside as a reference to early Maori structures that were dug into the land. The simple kitchen has strandboard cabinetry and an MDF island that conceals a fireplace at one end. The ceramic works on the built-in seat at right are by Raewyn Atkinson and Robyn Lewis.

    Photo by: Matthew Williams

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

  • 
  An Attic Studio in Stockholm

In the 495-square-foot attic apartment of Jimmy Schonning, there's no wasted space. The reading corner can be turned into an extra bed. Schonning designed the leather pouffes himself, and made the cushions from an Ikea carpet. Under the concrete slab there is room for wood, books, and newspapers.  Courtesy of: Copyright Per Magnus Persson
    An Attic Studio in Stockholm In the 495-square-foot attic apartment of Jimmy Schonning, there's no wasted space. The reading corner can be turned into an extra bed. Schonning designed the leather pouffes himself, and made the cushions from an Ikea carpet. Under the concrete slab there is room for wood, books, and newspapers.

    Courtesy of: Copyright Per Magnus Persson

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