Feel Like You’re on Perma-Vacation in These Secluded Hideaways

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
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Located off the beaten track, these eight homes are close to nature and far from prying eyes.

Some prefer to live in the heart of the city, and others want to get away from it all—for the latter, the following retreats will represent the ideal. Whether it be an architectural address that seems to melt into the Australian landscape or an airy refuge in East Hampton, these properties offer space to relax and reflect. Even the most seasoned city slicker can appreciate the call of the country: keep scrolling to take a mental vacation.

Sydney, Australia

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Named "Australian House of the Year," Invisible House by architect Peter Stutchbury perches on a winding ridgeline three hours outside of Sydney, enjoying panoramic views of Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys. Approaching the residence from a steep slope, you see two rust-red, steel light scoops protruding from the cantilevered roof, which appears to shimmer when full of water—an effect that gives the home its moniker. A wide entrance gallery along the western elevation leads to uninterrupted scenery and dramatic ceiling heights that are appropriate to the big-sky country surrounding the structure.

Grafton, Massachusetts

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Nestled on a quiet street in Grafton, Massachusetts, not far from the town’s quaint historic center, this wood-clad home combines contemporary and rustic elements. An abundance of windows allows sunlight and views of the surrounding forest to permeate the interior, and a super-sized deck caters to outdoor living. A koi pond and a detached log cabin on the grounds provide further opportunity to retreat and meditate.

Lodz, Poland

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Siberian fir trees, hedges, shrubs, and ornamental plants make up the verdant landscape around this Polish hideaway, which is set far back from the street on a 10,500-square-meter plot. A smart home with underfloor heating, this property marries comfort and luxury. Homeowners can choose to enjoy a mug of tea in the wood-and-brick attic space, which currently serves as a library, or sweat away the day’s stresses in the sauna.

Mahwah, New Jersey

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This 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom residence is perched atop the Ramapo Mountains in the private, rural community of Deerhaven in Mahwah, New Jersey. With 150 custom windows throughout the house, almost every room benefits from sensational sunrise, sunset, and mountain views. Situated on 2.4 acres of wooded land, the home offers seclusion amongst the trees—and during winter, the grounds transform into a pristine, snowy landscape. Separate apartments above the 3-car garage accommodate guests.

East Hampton, New York

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Designed by the widely-published architect Bruce Nagel, this minimalist dwelling is tucked deep in an old pine forest on prestigious Bull Path in East Hampton, New York. It boasts 16-foot-high ceilings and dramatic expanses of glass, including clerestory windows that allow light to stream into the open floor plan year-round. The master suite includes a private library, fireplace, and outdoor deck, and a nearby pool is the perfect setting for a calming dip in the woods.

San Jose, Costa Rica

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Those who want to experience pura vida from the privacy of a 20,000-acre nature preserve will appreciate this estate in the Santa Ana hills of San Jose, Costa Rica. The residence looks over sweeping mountain and valley views from an elevation of 4,000 feet. Designed by Swiss-German architect J. Van Wilpe and renovated by American architect Mark A. Tarmey in 2011, it offers lavish living while remaining close to nature with several outdoor terraces and hot tubs that seem to hover in the trees.

Wellington, New Zealand

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A wall of windows in this 470-square-meter villa frames a breathtaking view of the Wellington harbor that stretches to the blue ridgeline of the hills beyond. Extensively refurbished in 2009 by one of the region’s most renowned architects, John MIlls, this property rests on an extensive lot next to a nature reserve. Its modern, open spaces are complemented by smaller, more intimate rooms. Adjacent to the main house, a recreational annex offers sunny decks, a sauna, and a heated swimming pool.

Woodinville, Washington

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Tucked in Woodinville wine country outside of Seattle, this contemporary home built by local architects rests on two private acres. Generous windows bathe the living room in natural light, and through a roll-up door, a glass-enclosed solarium with radiant heat offers absorbing views of the property. Striking interior finishes like a bespoke circular German sink are intriguing and inviting.