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February 15, 2013
You'll never tear us away from the flat-roof modernism so prevalent in Dwell's pages over the last 12 years; nor would we try to eschew touting the glory of mid-century housing typologies. That being said, there's more that one type of 'modern,' and over the years we've seen some great examples of how architects and homeowners have updated the gabled roof with a contemporary feel. Not only do their peaked points make a statement on the exterior, they also carve out some seriously cozy interior space.

The Pine Plains, New York, home of Elise and Arnold Goodman boasts 48 windows, the largest of which measures 8'6'' by 7'6''. As architect Preston Scott Cohen explains, the "free facade makes it impossible to identify how many levels there are, or even to tell the difference between a door and a window." From without, the windows reveal dramatic glimpses of the 18th-century barn farm and new steel structure that support the house. From within, says Elise, "Each season, each time of day, offers a different view of the world. It's spectacular."

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Cedar slats mark the facade of Floating House, Doug and Becca Worple's lake house in Ontario. The architects, MOS, chose materials and shapes that wouldn’t stand out. “They’re really simple, almost Platonic forms,” principal Michael Meredith says. The modest cabin has boat, a gabled roof and a cladding of untreated cedar, a material that shows up on docks and homes along Georgian Bay. “Allowing the buildings to weather seems the right thing to do,” Sample says. And it’s ready for winter: Sliding barn doors seal the place up as an impenetrable box.

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Renowned designer and architect Jens Risom sourced parts from a catalog for his customized A-frame and had them delivered in pieces to his remote island site off Rhode Island, helped to raise the aesthetic profile of modular construction.

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Lauren Ewing’s stylish but unassuming shotgun-style house in Vincennes, Indiana, is set into a hill overlooking a field she has known since childhood. The floor-to-ceiling living-room window was inspired by Philip Johnson’s Glass House.

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modern A-frame France

“I didn’t want the kind of manicured garden that would mean I’d have to come out on weekends and mow the lawn,” says Jean-Baptiste Barache of the French country home he built, mostly by himself, over a year and a half. The result: a house that looks like it’s just been dropped into a field, casual, with nary a path leading up to it and a front door that can barely be detected on the red-cedar-shingled facade.

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“I wanted more of a skeletal look for this house, and less of a chunky, log-cabin look,” says architect Harry Panton of his Texas bunkhouse. He added stark steel bracing across the entire length of the porch’s roof structure and thinks of the getaway as "a bridge into the woods."

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Depot house Connecticut architecture

Consisting of two barnlike volumes set atop a stone foundation, the Depot House by Gray Organschi Architecture offers a locally rooted vision of New England modernism.

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Along this Great Barrington home’s facades, deep window openings pop through the silvery, white-cedar cladding in bright bursts. “The punches of color are points of personal expression,” says Taylor, cofounder of Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design. “They let the vitality of the residents leak out so passersby can experience the inside from the outside.”

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Renovated barn in England with oak floors and exposed brick wall and timber beams

Subverting the traditional, conservatively cozy British barn conversion, Carl Turner created a getaway in rural Norfolk for himself and his friends to visit, repose, and consider the beauty of agrarian minimalism. Turner reclaimed most of the timber used for the flooring as he renovated buildings in London. He thought his stockpile was big enough for the Ochre Barn, but the scale of the place defeated him. The solution, surprisingly, was eBay, turning up an old mill’s worth of boards.

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Free standing fireplace/wall unit.

Having found a 100-acre farm in Ontario featuring rolling corn fields, the residents asked architect Cindy Rendely to design a place that was "comfortable and modern and appropriate for the country." Though technically all one space, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are separated by the double-sided fireplace.

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goodman residence exterior house side yard 0

The Pine Plains, New York, home of Elise and Arnold Goodman boasts 48 windows, the largest of which measures 8'6'' by 7'6''. As architect Preston Scott Cohen explains, the "free facade makes it impossible to identify how many levels there are, or even to tell the difference between a door and a window." From without, the windows reveal dramatic glimpses of the 18th-century barn farm and new steel structure that support the house. From within, says Elise, "Each season, each time of day, offers a different view of the world. It's spectacular."

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