10 Dwell Houses, In Their Own Words

written by:
November 13, 2013
Dwell's "My House" section has been an integral part of the magazine since it was founded in 2000. Homeowners get the opportunity to describe how their modern home works for them, and supplies words of wisdom on how to pursue a similar project.
  • 
  LUCKY'S BREAK (Los Angeles, California)"Overall, the limitations of our budget forced us to be creative. We spent $55,000 on the renovation. That’s taking everything into account, including the cabinets, all the appliances, fixtures, material, and labor. I would love for someone to read this story and think, If these people could do it, I can do it. It seems so clichéd, like some weight-loss commercial, but it’s true: It’s doable, if you have the desire." —Resident Lucky DiazPhoto by João Canziani.  Photo by: João Canziani

    LUCKY'S BREAK (Los Angeles, California)

    "Overall, the limitations of our budget forced us to be creative. We spent $55,000 on the renovation. That’s taking everything into account, including the cabinets, all the appliances, fixtures, material, and labor. I would love for someone to read this story and think, If these people could do it, I can do it. It seems so clichéd, like some weight-loss commercial, but it’s true: It’s doable, if you have the desire." —Resident Lucky Diaz

    Photo by João Canziani.

    Photo by: João Canziani

  • 
  AN INNO-VATIVE APPROACH (Accra, Ghana)"I wanted to explore ideas of light, cross ventilation, and lightness of structure. There are no internal corridors, so rooms extend from one wall to the opposite wall, allowing for free flow of light and air. We are always moving from room to room. It’s a very intimate house." —Resident and architect Joe Osae-AddoPhoto by Dook.

    AN INNO-VATIVE APPROACH (Accra, Ghana)

    "I wanted to explore ideas of light, cross ventilation, and lightness of structure. There are no internal corridors, so rooms extend from one wall to the opposite wall, allowing for free flow of light and air. We are always moving from room to room. It’s a very intimate house." —Resident and architect Joe Osae-Addo

    Photo by Dook.

  • 
  SALVAGE LOVE (Austin, Texas)"I jumped on a little loser of a house—basically a teardown—on a small lot with enough challenges to scare everyone else away. But it was in a great location and cost about as much as the bank would give me. Between family and friends, I had plenty of help, but my pockets were pretty shallow. Luckily, my design preferences and my budget were mostly compatible. In the end, I was able to keep the construction costs to around $45 per square foot." —Resident and designer Blake DollahitePhoto by Misty Keasler.  Photo by: Misty Keasler

    SALVAGE LOVE (Austin, Texas)

    "I jumped on a little loser of a house—basically a teardown—on a small lot with enough challenges to scare everyone else away. But it was in a great location and cost about as much as the bank would give me. Between family and friends, I had plenty of help, but my pockets were pretty shallow. Luckily, my design preferences and my budget were mostly compatible. In the end, I was able to keep the construction costs to around $45 per square foot." —Resident and designer Blake Dollahite

    Photo by Misty Keasler.

    Photo by: Misty Keasler

  • 
  THE PACE OF PORTLAND (Portland, Oregon)"If you look at what kind of art people produce in the Northwest, it’s a cliché to say there’s a tendency toward nature, but now I can see where that comes from. All that greenery and open space: It really influences you, not just as an artist but in terms of your overall lifestyle. If you live in other places, having lots of rain is supposed to be sad. But here, the rain makes life really mellow. You find yourself more accepting of things." —Resident and painter Claudio TschoppPhoto by John Clark.  Photo by: John Clark

    THE PACE OF PORTLAND (Portland, Oregon)

    "If you look at what kind of art people produce in the Northwest, it’s a cliché to say there’s a tendency toward nature, but now I can see where that comes from. All that greenery and open space: It really influences you, not just as an artist but in terms of your overall lifestyle. If you live in other places, having lots of rain is supposed to be sad. But here, the rain makes life really mellow. You find yourself more accepting of things." —Resident and painter Claudio Tschopp

    Photo by John Clark.

    Photo by: John Clark

  • 
  TWICE AS NICE (Sydney, Australia)"I saw this house as an opportunity to set out my architectural principles. We wanted the house to feel like something of an oasis inside, and so we used a lot of rich materials like timber and steel, as well as color, to give the interior space a sense of warmth. Given the incredibly small footprint of the house, I was concerned from the beginning about how to make the living space seem bigger than it really is. It is one of the problems of small houses that the underside of the stairs are often visible, and that that space is rarely very usable. One of the first decisions we made was to move the stairs over the garage, giving it a cave-like feel." —Resident and architect David Langston-HughesPhoto by Nick Bowers.  Photo by: Nick Bowers

    TWICE AS NICE (Sydney, Australia)

    "I saw this house as an opportunity to set out my architectural principles. We wanted the house to feel like something of an oasis inside, and so we used a lot of rich materials like timber and steel, as well as color, to give the interior space a sense of warmth. Given the incredibly small footprint of the house, I was concerned from the beginning about how to make the living space seem bigger than it really is. It is one of the problems of small houses that the underside of the stairs are often visible, and that that space is rarely very usable. One of the first decisions we made was to move the stairs over the garage, giving it a cave-like feel." —Resident and architect David Langston-Hughes

    Photo by Nick Bowers.

    Photo by: Nick Bowers

  • 
  BAY WASH (San Francisco, California)"When you build a house from the ground up, as I’m doing in Oakland for a client, you don’t mimic history; you let the technology guide you. But there’s a lot to be learned by living in these older houses and experiencing how the rooms are being used 100 years later. It’s like Stewart Brand’s book How Buildings Learn—we’re always learning from the past." —Resident and architect Christi AzevedoPhotos by Dave Lauridsen.  Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

    BAY WASH (San Francisco, California)

    "When you build a house from the ground up, as I’m doing in Oakland for a client, you don’t mimic history; you let the technology guide you. But there’s a lot to be learned by living in these older houses and experiencing how the rooms are being used 100 years later. It’s like Stewart Brand’s book How Buildings Learn—we’re always learning from the past." —Resident and architect Christi Azevedo

    Photos by Dave Lauridsen.

    Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

  • 
  PITTSBURGH STEELER (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)"From the outside, I know my house can be a little startling, but it makes me happy. During the day, you feel like you’re outdoors. And at night, it glows like a big glass lantern. It’s quite beautiful." —Resident Jeff WalzPhoto by Livia Corona.  Photo by: Livia Corona

    PITTSBURGH STEELER (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

    "From the outside, I know my house can be a little startling, but it makes me happy. During the day, you feel like you’re outdoors. And at night, it glows like a big glass lantern. It’s quite beautiful." —Resident Jeff Walz

    Photo by Livia Corona.

    Photo by: Livia Corona

  • 
  SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW (Milan, New York)"A friend introduced me to a young architect, Bill Massie, and we found that we were immediately on the same page. We both love simple materials, and we share a love for Case Study houses. I knew I wanted concrete slab floors, radiant heat, massive expanses of glass, a very open plan, and I love steel, concrete, and plywood. Bill took the design to a whole other level with these fantastic curved concrete walls and what we call the “shower tower of power.” On this house, Bill was doing experimental things that were technologically cutting edge, things that he hadn’t tried out before. That contributed to the house’s design being very unique. It’s almost like a big sculpture." —Resident Greg WootenPhoto by Karina Tengberg.  Photo by: Karina Tengberg

    SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW (Milan, New York)

    "A friend introduced me to a young architect, Bill Massie, and we found that we were immediately on the same page. We both love simple materials, and we share a love for Case Study houses. I knew I wanted concrete slab floors, radiant heat, massive expanses of glass, a very open plan, and I love steel, concrete, and plywood. Bill took the design to a whole other level with these fantastic curved concrete walls and what we call the “shower tower of power.” On this house, Bill was doing experimental things that were technologically cutting edge, things that he hadn’t tried out before. That contributed to the house’s design being very unique. It’s almost like a big sculpture." —Resident Greg Wooten

    Photo by Karina Tengberg.

    Photo by: Karina Tengberg

  • 
  THE GLASS MENAGERIE (Vancouver, Canada)"Many of my pieces are first-runs from Bocci, so I am the first to figure out if something is wrong [with the design]. In the bedroom, we have an early 28 chandelier; we used glass fading from white to clear for the first time, which gives it an eerie luminescence. The sunsets over the cliffs behind our backyard are beautiful, operatic events, even when the weather is bad. It’s amazing that someone built such a nondescript house on this sublime site." —Resident and designer Omer ArbelPhoto by José Mandojana.  Photo by: José Mandojana

    THE GLASS MENAGERIE (Vancouver, Canada)

    "Many of my pieces are first-runs from Bocci, so I am the first to figure out if something is wrong [with the design]. In the bedroom, we have an early 28 chandelier; we used glass fading from white to clear for the first time, which gives it an eerie luminescence. The sunsets over the cliffs behind our backyard are beautiful, operatic events, even when the weather is bad. It’s amazing that someone built such a nondescript house on this sublime site." —Resident and designer Omer Arbel

    Photo by José Mandojana.

    Photo by: José Mandojana

  • 
  INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Ithaca, New York)"The house captured us. It was the contrast of the design in this setting. This is really modernist tending toward minimal. It’s all straight lines, right angles, steel and glass, and it’s in the middle of this Appalachian forest. At first it’s shocking, but then there’s a reconciliation that takes place." —Resident Lance CompaPhoto by Adam Friedberg.  Photo by: Adam Friedberg

    INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Ithaca, New York)

    "The house captured us. It was the contrast of the design in this setting. This is really modernist tending toward minimal. It’s all straight lines, right angles, steel and glass, and it’s in the middle of this Appalachian forest. At first it’s shocking, but then there’s a reconciliation that takes place." —Resident Lance Compa

    Photo by Adam Friedberg.

    Photo by: Adam Friedberg

@current / @total

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...