11 Homes With Unburnished Brick Interiors
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11 Homes With Unburnished Brick Interiors

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By Duncan Nielsen
Bricks aren't just for brownstones.

It's no stretch to say that the humble brick has been a cornerstone of civilization. Since about 7,000 BCE people have been stacking these molded and fired hunks of earth on top of one another, building not just homes but history itself. People prize brick for its nuanced variegation and texture, as well as its ability to insulate better than wood. A feature seen more in homes east of the rockies than west, these 11 examples from the Dwell Magazine print archive showcase this material's varied and inspiring applications around the world.  

A Beach House with a Brick Circle South of Melbourne

Rachel Nolan and Steven Farrell’s weekend house is located a couple of blocks from the beach on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula. Built with passive principles in mind, the low-slung structure features double-thick brick walls for thermal massing.

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Self-taught designer Tom Givone fixed up his 1882 row house in New York City over many years. Located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan, the house—designed in 1882 by architect Gilbert Robinson Jr. to resemble an 18th-century mansion nearby—is an anomaly in steel-and-concrete New York.

A counterweight pulley system makes easy work of lifting the large glazed walls flanking the courtyard. Brick walls extend from the home's interior out into the courtyard.

A couple takes a minimalist approach to their Brooklyn apartment, focusing on supple materials, subtle gradations of color, and custom finishes by local craftsmen. Exposed brick adds plenty of texture to the room.

Tasked with transforming a 93-square-foot brick boiler room into a guesthouse, architect and metalworker Christi Azevedo flexed her creative muscle. The architect spent a year and a half designing and fabricating nearly everything in the structure save for the original brick walls. "I treated the interior like a custom piece of furniture," she says.

The couple approached Darren Bray of Lymington-based PAD Studio with a proposal to consolidate and weatherproof the building, while at the same time preserving its original brickwork. "We had in mind a new entrance that would make a good, strong impression," says owner Sheryl Wilson. Architect Darren Bray peeled back the layers of the previous owners' decor to allow the brickwork to breathe. 

"We put a lot of energy—and at least half our investment—into the bones of the building because we intend to be here for a long time," says Lauren Snyder, who resuscitated an aging home alongside her husband, architect Keith Burns. They used simple, basic materials like plaster, brick, and wood throughout to keep it feeling honest, they said.

Architect David Hill, his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children, have an unusual home by the standards of their college-town setting in Auburn, Alabama. Built in 1920, the industrial brick building has had previous incarnations as a church, a recycling center, and a pool hall, among others.

An affordable Manhattan triplex might seem the stuff of real estate fantasy. That’s why attorney René Roupinian jumped on the apartment despite the fact that the square footage of its three combined levels was less than that of some studios. "It was so different from anything I had seen. It felt really spacious because of the high ceilings, and it had exposed brick on both sides," René recalls. "I just said, ‘Oh my god, I love this apartment.’" 

An existing brick wall was dismantled, cleaned, and rebuilt to celebrate its patina . It now showcases an artwork by Blake Boyd.

A creative couple remodeled a workman's cottage on the northern edge of Brooklyn. Margarita McGrath and Scott Oliver of Noroof Architects termed the 1,650-square-foot brick house "Pushmi-Pullyu," in reference to the interior-exterior flow.