10 Houses That Tell Us Black is Back

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By BoutiqueHomes / Published by BoutiqueHomes
Discreet and unassuming but never the wallflower, black houses are the tall, dark, and handsome strangers of architecture. It’s a bit of a thing at the moment, and rightly so.

There is an innate audacity to black houses, a certain straying from the herd that incites an enjoyable element of surprise. This rebellious streak hides a sensitive side. Behind their inky exteriors, there is a consistent narrative of seeking harmony with their surroundings and a sincere effort to avoid disrupting the landscape.

All around the world, architects are turning to black as it blends better into the mossy barks of surrounding trees, scorched volcanic stones, and shady forests, disappearing into the darkness at nightfall. They have often been led to the dark side by sheer practicality: Preparation of the most robust and weatherproof finishes traditionally involves tar or bitumen.

Stained, painted, blackened timber or coated steel, here are our picks of black houses on BoutiqueHomes that stand out in their effort to blend in.  



Midsland Cottage, Terschelling, Netherlands

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This practical and cheerful cottage on the island of Terschelling balances the bold black wash of its exteriors with light and airy blonde interiors.


De Grote Beer, Terschelling, Netherlands

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This family-friendly vacation home in Terschelling is proof that black can be just as joyous as its vibrant counterparts. Created for slow living and stargazing, the interiors are furnished with colors that pop against its dramatic exteriors, and glass cut outs on the roof let the stars in.


Black A-Frame, Yosemite, CA 

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BoutiqueHomes founders Heinz Legler and Veronique Lièvre are big believers that black blends better into nature, so it was a natural choice for this A-Frame cabin they built on this bucolic clearing within the wilderness of Yosemite.


Casa Hualle, Pucon, Chilé 

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This origami-evoking house set against the majestic Villarrica volcano has the delicate manners of adapting to the area’s color palette. The charred hue of its dark-stained softwood slats mimic neighboring buildings constructed using black volcanic stone from the region.


Tepotzlan Bungalow, Mexico 

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This minimalist construction of steel, glass and concrete tucked into the Mexican jungle was painted black and lined with floor to ceiling windows to "minimize its visual impact on the landscape".


Totland Bay House, England 

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Black may appear to be a shady choice for a summer home, but this 2015 RIBA winner for "Best New Build" demonstrates that it works just fine. Its exterior timber elements are covered with a thick bituminous paint used to protect boats, all the better for life on the isle.


Dolomite Chalet, Pliscia, Italy

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This chalet with exteriors in black-stained Alpine larch were designed to "attune with the traditional neighboring buildings", as the architects put it so beautifully. It is in perfect harmony with the muted slate and grassy hues of its village.


The Black House, Bogarnes, Iceland

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This pure timber country cottage in Bogarnes, home to the dramatic Snæfellsjökull glacier immortalized by Jules Verne in his novel "Journey to the Center of the Earth", camouflages itself with a deep black pitch originally derived from natural tar to withstand the elements.


Bolton Residence, Quebec, Canada

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This cantilevered home floats among the trees on a rugged plot of wooded land in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Clad in a black steel skin, the scenery becomes a silent black and white picture in winter.