Take a Peek at These 30 Architects’ Private Homes

Being your own client comes with its own challenges and rewards.
Text by

These 30 residences and private outdoor hideaways built by architects— some sprawling multi-level abodes built for their families and some minimalist cabins to deepen their connection to nature—are all deeply personal projects.

An Architect’s Home in Sydney Is a Masterful Lesson in Sustainable Design

Clinton Cole, architect, builder, and director at CPlusC Architectural Workshop, gave Welcome to the Jungle House, his family's home in suburban Sydney, the eco-friendly treatment, what with a solar-panel facade, rainwater harvesting, and a rooftop full of fruits and vegetables and a fish pond. Visitors are first ushered into the imposing steel "shroud" entry, facing the timber-clad staircase. 

A single Japanese red pine tree provided the impetus to build this spartan, three-story dwelling and office designed by architect Go Fujita of Gosize in Nishinomiya, known as a prime site for Japanese cherry blossom sightings. Fashioned almost entirely of concrete, it has high ceilings and full walls that make way for select materials including tin, oak, and silver foil. 

On a plateau three hours outside Mexico City, architect Fernanda Canales created a wild, nature-fueled vacation home for her family surrounding four courtyards. Celebrating the flat, rugged environs, she melded a facade of red, broken brick with warm concrete and wood interiors. To add extra height, she turned to terra-cotta tiled barrel vaults.

At midcentury-style Pavilion Haus in Houston, the home of StudioMET Architects principal and partner Shawn Gottschalk, Gottschalk ensured that kids could play freely in the contained courtyard while parents kept watch through the sleek glass panels. A large pedestrian gate doubling as the front door establishes a dialogue with nature found throughout the pavilion. 

Befitting of the 1960s, architect Charles Bello and his wife built a sustainable ranch in Mendocino County, California, using materials obtained solely from their 400-acre plot of redwood forest. The site's showstopper is undoubtedly the undulating glass house, nestled inside a cluster of trees. 

Except for a few chairs and a wood stove, there isn't much to Eric Logan's two-room cabin in the forest of Wyoming's Casper Mountain. After the original antiques-filled family cabin was destroyed in a brush fire, Logan, principal at Carney Logan Burke Architects, built this minimalist iteration to reinforce the importance of one's relationship with nature, magnified by the post-and-beam structure comprised of charred trees. 

Cecilia Yuan, principal at Blank Canvas Architects, and her husband bought this Victorian-style abode in Port Melbourne, Australia, for its heritage charm. So, during a renovation that re-configured wasted space, like moving the bathroom to create a larger dining area that mingles a Muuto Split table with Phoenix chairs and a marble-wrapped island, she also saw an opportunity to replace such features as deteriorating iron lacework. 

In the Brisbane suburb of Paddington, architect Scott Petherick converted a 1920s structure into Jacaranda House, a "Queenslander"-inspired home for his family on the upper level, with his workshop below. In addition to striking woodwork and filigree upward-sloping eaves that filter sunlight into the kitchen, there are perks like an intimate courtyard and alfresco fireplace.

To find symbiosis between the front part of their London Victorian terrace house and the basement, husband and wife Ran Ankory and Maya Carni, directors at Scenario Architecture, connected the kitchen and garden floor with an open, split-level double reception. Likewise, the living lounge and dining area below are seamlessly threaded through the presence of glass stair rails. Bonus: During the renovation process, storage spaces were cleverly formed in hallways and underneath stairs. 

A stainless steel chimney painted red pierces through this two-story chestnut-clad holiday pad facing the sea, the handiwork of ECE Architecture's Nick Evans. Built into a sandstone hill in East Sussex, England, the highlights include the kitchen—Evans's wife is a chef—a room enlivened by a shiny 16-foot steel countertop and cabinetry in custom hues of green. For a breezy beach feel, reclaimed roof beams, sawed and painted white, were converted into floorboards. 

In Grey Lynn, an Auckland suburb, architect Richard Naish shook up the notion of the Victorian villa that is pervasive here by building a trifecta of pavilions separated by courtyards and "garden rooms." The western red cedar facade is offset by the roof's black  galvanized corrugated steel.

A vintage article in Good Housekeeping magazine illuminated the 1953 Benit House in Houston. When Steve Curry, principal at Curry Boudreaux Architects, and his wife Martha bought it they spent 11 years painstakingly renovating it to resemble its original form in the article, including a red front door, matching planter boxes divided by a glass wall, and sliding doors separating the dining room from the walled garden. But after Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017, the couple were forced to restore it yet again, replacing flooring, woodwork, and rusted metal to bring it back to its midcentury pink brick and terrazzo glory.

Sri Lankan architect Palinda Kannangara's home and studio outside of Columbo nods to brutalism, with sustainable double-layered concrete and perforated brick walls. The rooftop is the greenest element, strewn with an herb garden and biological pond that regulates storm water. Hovering within the main volume is the living area, buoyed by jungle views, as dramatic a sight as the double-height office. 

Seeking fewer distractions, work-at-home architect Oliver Dang, founder of Six Five Four A, turned to his Toronto backyard and built this cozy studio with cedar panels and a vast storage system. Sunlight gleams through the angled skylight, warming the birch plywood interior.  

David Liddicoat and Sophie Goldhill, the couple behind architecture practice Liddicoat & Goldhill, built their four-story, asymmetrical home topped with a steeply slanted roof on a narrow, irregularly shaped site within London's Victoria Park neighbourhood. It flaunts ample glazing and a mix of textures like exposed brickwork, stainless steel, and Rhodesian mahogany.

Shop the Look
House Rules: An Architect’s Guide to Modern Life
Drawing on examples of her own distinctive, humane modern design, celebrated architect Deborah Berke demonstrates how to create a serene haven for contemporary living.
Creative Spaces: People, Homes, and Studios to Inspire
This debut book from acclaimed Los Angeles lifestyle brand Poketo proves creativity can be sparked anywhere.

In the 1950s, Ramat HaSharon, close to Tel Aviv, was home to numerous brutalist structures. There, architect Pitsou Kedem, craving the same style for his own family house, built it as two squares of concrete stacked atop each other. Materials like iron, wood, and silicate brick, along with a skylight that runs along the length of the stairwell, imbue it with a welcoming sense of earthiness.

Annie Ritz and Daniel Rabin, the couple and co-founders behind And And And Studio, revamped a neglected home in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles by adding a tall re-framed roof and 1,000-square-foot extension, as well as emphasizing outdoor areas like the wood deck adjacent to the pool. Interior highlight: the kitchen, with its olive green cabinetry and wood-clad circular island.

Beach, hills, and flatlands vibes all swirl together in architect Clive Wilkinson's Los Angeles home, where guests are greeted with a laser-cut metal stair railing. Situated on a steeply sloping site, the distinctive structure lends itself to a living attic, pool deck, and garden terrace, mixing elements like low-slung Italian furniture and oak flooring. Bright green makes a splash in the kitchen, which is tucked underneath Douglas fir rafters. 

A regional township south of Auckland was the ideal spot for architect Daniel Smith to build a modest "kiwi bach" for his family overlooking the river and mountains. The exterior stands out for its cedar rain screen and the sloped and angled roof that makes the most of the home's small footprint. Paving the way to the sunken lounge is the showpiece kitchen, embracing affordable materials like pine, plasterboard, and black-painted aluminum.

It took less than five months for architect David Hovey Jr. to build this prefab home in Arizona's Paradise Valley, a rectangular pavilion with a shell of laminated glass, a perforated Cor-Ten steel roof, and an indoor courtyard where Hovey Jr.'s family take dips in the Olympic-size swimming pool. Polished concrete floors, Nakashima furniture, and a large black walnut bar are all found indoors.

In Chile's Chiloé Archipelago, architect Guillermo Acuña developed a 12-acre island for his friends and family to unwind, first with a boathouse, later with pathway-connected cabins at the water's edge. Design details include glazed walls, eco-friendly pine, and a bright red palette that calls to mind the intensely colored chilco flowers that bloom here come spring and summer. 

In a chaotic stretch of Brooklyn, architect Nicholas Hunt built a 55-square-foot reprieve from the bustle in his own backyard. The studio, crafted with salvaged fence pickets and cedar planks, is crowned with a Plexiglas skylight.

Located on a wooded property some 80 miles north of New York City, the Pond House is the weekend hangout for Kyle Page, founder of Brooklyn-based architecture firm Sundial Studios and his family. Perched atop a concrete plinth, it features weathered steel cladding and blackened cedar siding. Glass doors and a covered porch stepping down to the pond add another dash of indoor/outdoor synergy, while the interiors are awash in natural materials like sugar maple and fallen ash.

On the fringes of Genk, Belgium, Peter Geraerts of Cocoon Architecten and his wife live in this minimalist abode that wraps around an inner courtyard. Geraerts punctuated the wooden facade with intentionally placed square windows that maximize sight lines. Inside are Zen touches like a Noguchi coffee table and tatami mats. 

Set on a family cattle farm in a Western Australia coastal town on the Margaret River, Bush House, by Archterra founder Paul O'Reilly, marries a single-plane roof with a prefabricated steel frame support structure. A rammed-earth wall carries through O'Reilly's house into the outdoors, melding with oiled plywood, anodized aluminum, and recycled furniture.

To combat the soul-crushing winter, architect Andrew Maynard re-imagined his Victorian terrace home in Melbourne as a cheerful yellow-hued sanctuary. Equal parts residence (upper level) and convivial studio headquarters (front ground level), it features a 184-square-foot greenhouse addition.

Rustic, Scandinavian-style The Hut, in Ohio, is a true family affair; the sustainable cabin, covered in cedar shingles, was built by architect Greg Dutton and his brother and father. Inside, views are amplified through a 25-foot wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.

It was cramped and dark when Hernán Landolfo and his girlfriend bought this Buenos Aires apartment, but after Landolfo reconfigured it as open-plan space with a greenhouse-like folding glass wall that unites the indoors and outdoors, it now feels airy and spacious. 

To add more space to her petite Florence apartment originally designed by Roberto Monsani, architect Silvia Allori incorporated fold-down furniture and storage into the white laminate walls that also support bookshelves.

Architect couple Sherry Scott and John Kosich spent eight years building this vacation home in Truckee, California, complete with snow-friendly concrete and stone terraces. The star of the wood-dominated living room is the PH Artichoke pendant, designed by Poul Henningsen and manufactured by Louis Poulsen.


Last Updated


Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.