12 Modern Marvels in New England

By Annie Fleming / Published by Dwell

New England is one of the oldest, most patriotic regions in the United States. Consisting of six states, this beautiful region is full of history and breathtaking homes, making it a highly coveted place to live. Take a look at 12 fabulously modern homes in New England that go against the traditional grain of the region.

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1. Modern on the Marsh by Kevin Browne Architecture 

Location: Cape Elizabeth, Maine 

The owners of this property on the marsh, set out to create a home that maximized the 180 degree view that they had of the marsh. The lot is mostly free of trees and had a gradual grassy slope to it, and is a part of a small subdivision. The clients had many goals with the design of the home that would sit on this lot. A few terms that they used to describe what they wanted are: crisp, contemporary, simple, innovative, minimalist and energy efficient. 

Kevin Browne Architecture

2. A Marcel Breuer Home by Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) and Toshiko Mori 

Location: New Caanan, Connecticut 

In the master bedroom, Mori custom built a bed with side drawers and lined the space with windows that are outfitted with automatic curtains—both blackout and sheer.

Toshiko Mori

3. Mad River Modern by Yankee Barn Homes

Location: Moretown, Vermont

The Mad River Modern by Yankee Barn Homes is a 21st Century take on the Mid-Century Modern style. The home was built on a sloped site, but would work equally well on a level lot. An open floor plan and floor-to-ceiling windows allow for maximum natural light and integration with the outdoors. A neutral color palette emphasizes the natural warmth of the post and beam frame. The open living plan progresses seamlessly to the outdoors through over-size windows and doors. Built in the Green Mountains of Vermont by avid outdoor enthusiasts, the Mad River Modern allows complete engagement with the out-of-doors, even on a cold day when tucked snugly inside by a cozy fire!

Photo: Yankee Barn Homes

4. Willow Hill by LDa Architects

Location: Newton, Massachusetts 

Double islands and durable modern finishes make the kitchen a cook’s dream, especially for an active young family. As the kitchen tends to be a space where people congregate, the double islands and expansive layout are ideal for hosting. Exposed steel beams continue from the kitchen through the breakfast and bar area into the family room and terminate at the bold, wallpaper accented back wall. 

Photo: LDa Architecture & Interiors

5. Passive House Retreat by ZeroEnergy Design 

Location: Little Compton, Rhode Island

This private retreat and vacation residence located in a beautiful community on the New England coast features high performance and efficient use of space in a small package.

Photo: Greg Premru

6. Hycliff House by Anthony Wooiner

Location: Greenwich, Connecticut 

Designed by Anthony Wooiner, this striking residence in New York's northern suburbs blurs the line between indoors and out, flanked by dramatic glass walls that embrace the home's natural surroundings. It now awaits its next residents.

Photo: Houlihan Lawrence

7. Cyclopean House by Anton Garcia-Abril and Débora Mesa Molina

Location: Brookline, Massachusetts 

Opting for a lightweight, super stable design that eschews traditional weighty materials, the architects created steel-reinforced panels of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS)to form each of the addition’s seven modular parts. They now top a preexisting concrete garage that the architects had previously converted into a three-bedroom home.

Photo: Christopher Churchill

8. Orleans House by Charles Rose Architects

Location: Orleans, Massachusetts

Orleans House occupies one of the easternmost points in the U.S., a place exposed to salt water, light, sky, marsh, bay, barrier beach, and open ocean. Tides, wind, and waves are forever remaking the landscape; here is a world in motion. We let these elements guide us as we began designing.

Photo: Charles Rose Architects

9. Modern Barn by Specht Architects

Location: Wilton, Connecticut 

Simple and durable, yet elegant materials such as polished concrete, second-grade oak flooring, and maple plywood are used throughout. Interior and exterior connect visually through a wall of glass doors to the garden and fields beyond.

Michael Moran

10. Wiley House by Philip Johnson (1906-2005) and Roger Ferris + Partners

Location: New Caanan, Connecticut 

Johnson built the Wiley House at a time when the midcentury movement was booming, especially in New Canaan. While more and more architects were beginning to build minimal structures that fit into the surrounding nature, his second glass pavilion-style house was born. Unlike the Glass House, which has become a cherished relic, this home has endured through multiple life stages and has had to adapt over time.

Roger Ferris + Partners

11. Urban Living XXL by Ruhl Walker Architects

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

This Boston loft – nearly 5,000 SF with 18-foot high ceilings – presented a number of amazing opportunities and more than a few challenges. Chief among the opportunities was amplifying the immensity of the central living space – perhaps the largest in the city – while making an understandable and livable family house.

Photo: Ruhl Walker Architects

12. Weston Residence by Specht Architecture 

Location: Weston, Connecticut 

The Weston Residence nestles in a valley adjacent to the Saugatuck River. It’s a small house, but takes advantage of its beautiful site in a way that purposefully blurs the distinction between the built and natural environment.

Photo: Specht Architects

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