20 Eye-Catching Homes That Make Use of Circular Motifs

Ring-shaped skylights, wall cutouts, and built-in window nooks are among the playful, geometric features that round out these homes.
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The circle is a universal symbol that has come to represent concepts such as unity, infinity, balance, perfection, and the cosmos across various cultures and in numerous architectural styles. Below, we’ve spotlighted some of our favorite homes that incorporate circular motifs—portholes, overhead oculi, and rounded doorways, wall cutouts, and window nooks—to introduce light, enhance sight lines, and facilitate a stronger connection between the different living spaces, and the residents that occupy them, too.

A Brick-and-Concrete Home With a Library Emphasizes Circular Motifs in Mexico

Located on the outskirts of Morelia, Mexico, the 5,920-square-foot UC House by architectural designer Daniela Bucio Sistos is grounded by a foyer with a raised, circular ceiling, which houses a tree that grows out from a hole in the floor at the center. From the atrium, a large glass wall reveals the library, which also features a circular cutout nestled between built-in bookshelves.

Architect Rachel Nolan built her family beach house on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula with passive principles in mind. The low-slung structure features double-thick brick walls for thermal massing, which are painted white throughout the interior. In the sunken living room, one wall features an unpainted circular portion that showcases the bricks in their original states.

In southeastern Spain, Estudio JI Arquitectos transformed a dilapidated shed into a 430-square-foot weekend retreat and horse haven for photographer Viçent Llorens. From his bed, Viçent can keep an eye on the animals in the corral through portholes in the yellow-tiled patio wall.  

Located on a two-acre lot in Malibu, California, this ultramodern home by architect Ellis David Gelman‚ which was featured in the classic TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, incorporates dramatic windows—including circular shapes—that frame scenic ocean views.

Nufail Shabana Architects designed this industrial-style home in Kerala, India, for a local businessman and his family. At the main entrance, a timber deck sits beneath an 36-foot-long cantilevered concrete expanse that is punctuated with dramatic circular openings to allow for ventilation and natural light.

The owners of this 807-square-foot apartment in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine tapped architect Pierre Louis Gerlier and interior designer Eleonore Satger to overhaul the cramped floor plan. Now, the living room wall discretely hides storage cabinets and features four circular built-ins, one of which serves as a cozy reading nook.  

In Melbourne, Australia, local firm Austin Maynard Architects designed a compact rear extension to an existing suburban home. In the blue-painted living space, a large, circular window allows natural light to pour in. 

Architect Paul Elliott erected a new, cork- and timber-clad house on the adjoining plot to his family home, which his late architect father designed and built in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to incorporating sustainable materials, the residence also embraces traditional Japanese architectural styles, including circular windows and doorways. 

When Blake and Rob Eagle bought this 1959 residence in their shared hometown of Abilene, Texas, the structure revealed a convoluted layout and lots of dated finishes. Architect Erling Berg, a family friend, modernized the house while staying within its 4,000-square-foot layout. At the entryway, a wall with a circular cutout separates the living spaces, while still allowing sight lines from the front door to the backyard. This also creates an excellent play area for the couple’s young kids, says Berg: "They can run for a mile, and you still see them the whole time."

S-AR, a young firm from Monterrey, Mexico, designed this 850-square-foot beach retreat near Puerto Escondido for a theater producer and an architect. The one-story concrete structure features an indoor/outdoor plan based on a square, 3-D grid. A circular motif continues throughout the home, from rounded windows and wall cutouts to a cylindrical staircase that leads to the "water mirror" on the roof.

Israeli architect Pitsou Kedem’s striking family home comprises two stacked concrete squares on a sloping 7,750-square-foot plot. Inside, sections of the silicate-brick walls have circular holes cut out from them in order to connect the various rooms.

In Fitzroy North, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Atlas Architects reimagined a heritage Victorian terrace house as a sanctuary for a librarian and her cat, Dot. A timber shelf below a porthole window in the living space offers a lookout for the owner’s pet. "The circular window awning adds an irregularity to the contemporary interpretation of the heritage place, creating a point of interest," says architect Aaron Neighbour. "Most importantly, it provides a porthole out to the world for the ‘queen of the castle’—the cat."

Madrid-based firm Delavegacanolasso transformed this former painting studio into a 538-square-foot kitchen/dining/living/office space, nicknamed La Madriguera (The Burrow).
"Round windows felt like the most obvious choice," says architect Ignacio de la Vega. "The idea of this home as ‘a burrow’ called for a little rounded space to bring the outside in. The architecture enhances the garden, completing it rather than imposing on it." 

Jane Macrae, founder of Nine Muses Design, took inspiration from musician Pink’s hit song, "The FUN House," for the design of this family home in the coastal town of Point Lonsdale in Victoria, Australia. The colorful residence is divided into three zones—one for the parents, one for the boys, and a central area where the family can gather. Near the entrance, a porthole to the kitchen references the home’s seaside location and allows the residents to welcome arriving guests.

In the remote mountains of Palmichal de Acosta, Costa Rica, local architect María de la Paz Alice, founder of Mazpazz Arquitectura, designed a 100 percent autonomous and self-sustaining home that frames its lush surroundings with a series of geometric openings. The entrance—which the architect refers to as "the vortex"—takes shape as a poured-concrete cube with two prominent circular cutouts. Crystals encrusted in the floor capture and reflect light that passes from the sun and moon through the overhead oculus.  

In Joshua Tree, California, artist Shawn Button transformed a midcentury cabin into a colorful rental that takes cues from the desert landscape. In addition to vintage furnishings and new, handcrafted designs by Button, the home’s indoor and outdoor spaces incorporate playful arches and circular openings. "There were so many squares in the existing space, so I wanted to balance that out with rounded corners and edges," says the homeowner and designer.

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, the 3,000-square-foot Westwood House optimizes views, sunlight, cross ventilation, and privacy. A central atrium allows natural light to fill the core of the home. Nearby, the wood-clad entryway features Spanish terra-cotta floors, sweeping arches, and a keyhole opening. 

Architect Murray Barker renovated this 1,180-square-foot, two-story bungalow for Fleur Glenn at the edge of her property in the Clifton Hill suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Silvertop ash and stringybark timber form the narrow stairway to the second floor, which holds the principal bedroom and a study. "I wanted the journey to Fleur’s bedroom to feel quite different from the rest of the house," says Barker. "There are views of the trees and sky, including a round window that frames the beautiful dark bark of one of the eucalyptus trees."

Designed by Paris-based architecture office Atelier Du Pont, this contemporary, wood-and-glass vacation home in Cap Ferret, France, is comprised of multiple connected "cabins." In one of the guest bedrooms, built-in bunk beds with circular openings add a playful addition. 

In Sydney’s Russell Lea suburb, local firm CplusC Architectural Workshop renovated a four-bedroom residence to celebrate family togetherness and a connection with the natural world. Throughout the dwelling, a circular motif facilitates a strong visual connection between the different spaces, both indoors and out. A large, round window nook overlooking the backyard draws on the traditional Japanese concept of shakkei, in which a background landscape—or "borrowed scenery"—is incorporated into the composition of a garden.  




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