written by:
July 14, 2012

Spying a body of water—be it a placid lake, roaring ocean, glassy pond, or snaking river—from your bedroom window is one of the fairest sights one can see. And for the residents of these 18 homes, it was paramount. Take a spin through our favorite beach houses, waterfront retreats, and more in the following slideshow.

floating home living room renovation in Seattle, Washington
“I love being close to the water. There’s constant change, with boats and wildlife passing by,” says Denise Draper about her floating home on Seattle's Portage Bay. Read the story on the renovation 10 years in the making here.
Courtesy of 
Ninebark Studio
Originally appeared in A Renovated Boathouse on Seattle's Portage Bay
1 / 18
Interior view of outdoor deck
The Porter Cottage on Maine's Ragged Island—one of the outermost inhabited islands on the eastern seaboard—was built as close to the shore as possible. Read more about the house here.

Photo by: Eirik Johnson

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Tiny Cabin is This Writer's Off the Grid Getaway
2 / 18
modern River House façade in Virginia
Ziger/Snead Architects constructed this ode to rowing in rural Virginia for a Baltimore couple who share a love of sculling. “Everywhere in the house you can see the moment where land meets water,” says Douglas Bothner, an associate at the firm.
Originally appeared in Row House
3 / 18
outdoor wooden hanging bed
This Georgian Bay home shared by two families was an architectural experiment in communal living. Two-year-old Annika and five-year-old Soren make music on the "nap swing," a popular hangout spot for kids and adults alike. View 13 more photos of the home here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Four Friends Joined Forces to Realize This Idyllic Forest Retreat Outside Toronto
4 / 18
prefabricated glass greenhouse in Finland
Click here to read more about Linda Bergroth's prefabricated summer retreat in Finland.
Courtesy of 
arsi.ikaheimonen(at)gmail.com
5 / 18
With almost as much area dedicated to decks as to interiors, Peter Dwares’s house is truly made for outdoor enjoyment.
With almost as much area dedicated to decks as to interiors, Peter Dwares’s house is truly made for outdoor enjoyment. Elevated 12 feet above the ground, the house is engineered to withstand floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and sea level rise. See more of the Stinson Beach, California, home here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Rising Tides Are No Match for This Coastal Home
6 / 18
Nestled in Stinson Beach, an oceanside community about 45 minutes north of San Francisco, this green home offsets its energy consumption with a PV array and solar hot water system. “You can sit in any part of the house and feel this exquisite harmony. And it’s nice to know that in the future, my children and their children will be treading gently on nature—and won’t have to pay any utility bills!” says the resident. See more photos of the house here and read the full article here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in The Green Lagoon
7 / 18
Modern beach house exterior in New Zealand
Architect Gerald Parsonson renovated a traditional "bach," a modest beachfront house common in New Zealand, to create a modern getaway that pays homage to its roots. With loads of natural light streaming in, and an easy carefree sensibility, this home embodies the spirit of summer. Click here to see our slideshow with 15 more photos than we originally published.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
matthew williams
Originally appeared in Bach to the Beach
8 / 18
Modern kitchen dining area with Louis Poulsen and Tom Dixon pendant lights
When tasked with renovating this 1960s beach bungalow, architect Page Goolrick was inspired by the ocean—efficiency techniques and hardware commonly found in sailboats and materials that “just evolve and soften over time, like driftwood,” she says. See more of the house in Amagansett, New York, here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Long Island Found
9 / 18
Modern sustainable house by the beach
Casa Cuatro is sited on a cliff that rises 180 feet above the Pacific ocean. The green-minded house in Chile was built atop piers to minimize environmental impact, features locally sourced stone in its walls, is surrounded by drought-tolerant landscaping, and derives much of its electricity from rooftop solar panels. See more photos of the house here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Tunquen Treasure
10 / 18
modern oceanfront house in big sur with green roof
“I’ve been all around the world, and whenever I come back here, I realize that the Pacific Ocean seen from those cliffs is the most beautiful view on earth,” says the resident of this house built into a hillside in Big Sur, California.
Courtesy of 
© Robert Canfield (415) 472-1302
11 / 18
It’s mid-morning on the lanai. Cathy reads a Dr. Seuss book to Zane while Craig chats with a client about a project he’s working on back in San Francisco.
In "Go With the Flow," we featured a residence sited on a lavaflow on Hawaii's big island. The Craig Steely–designed house features an interior clad with blonde wood and a mix of design classics and contemporary pieces. View our slideshow in the Lavaflow 2 house here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Go With the Flow
12 / 18
Laid out in a 270-degree panorama in front of the house is the frosty expanse of Cook Inlet, cascading rocky mountains, and a white sun as big as a dinner plate.
We first featured the Phelps-Burke house in 2005, but the serene setting feels timeless. "Laid out in a 270-degree panorama in front of the house is the frosty expanse of Cook Inlet, cascading rocky mountains, and a white sun as big as a dinner plate," writes James Nestor about the house. Find the full story here and flip through our slideshow here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Alaska: The Final (Architectural) Frontier
13 / 18
All of the Worples' guests arrive by boat to the lower level of the Floating House.
On the northeastern side of Lake Huron, residents of this buoyant summer home live the life aquatic. “This place is my heaven,” says Becca Worple, who has made the trip every year of her life. “Every day is unpredictable and magical.” Glimpse our photo gallery of the house here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Floating House, Lake Huron
14 / 18
The Ski House H2o, a home in Hobe Sound, Florida overlooking a custom-built water-ski circuit.
In Hobe Sound, Florida, this passively cooled residence overlooking a custom-built water-ski circuit is hardly par for the course. “The home is really driven by exposure to the landscape,” says architect Scott Hughes. Read the full story here.
Courtesy of 
2011 Thomas Winter
Originally appeared in Ski for All
15 / 18
Modern boathouse with giant steel arches
When Margaret and Grant Pomeroy set out to build their boat house along the shores of Ontario's Balsam Lake, they insisted it recede into the surrounding landscape. "We really wanted to enjoy our views of the sunsets," says Margaret. Read more about the Houdini-like project here.
Originally appeared in About a Boat
16 / 18
farmhouse renovation in Eldred, New York
Resident Tom Givone likens the renovation of his 18th-century farmhouse to “an archeological dig: messy but rewarding.” The long porch is cantilevered over a stream that runs through the property. View 11 more photos of the project here.
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Originally appeared in Hope Floats
17 / 18
Reclaimed and recycled cypress beams measure 16 inches tall, six inches wide and are 36 feet long. Courtesy <a href="http://architectsandartisans.com/">Architects and Artisans</a>.
“It lends itself to massive relaxing,” says architect Cary Tamarkin of his 2,800-square-foot cottage on Shelter Island overlooking Long Island Sound. “There's lots of napping, and big dinners on the teak tables out on the porch.” See more of the project here.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in Shelter Island Retreat
18 / 18
floating home living room renovation in Seattle, Washington
“I love being close to the water. There’s constant change, with boats and wildlife passing by,” says Denise Draper about her floating home on Seattle's Portage Bay. Read the story on the renovation 10 years in the making here.

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