26 Peaceful Homes That Feel Like Zen Sanctuaries

26 Peaceful Homes That Feel Like Zen Sanctuaries

By Grace Miller
These meditative spaces were designed to de-stress.

With open floor plans that bring in natural daylight, serene colors and textures, and an emphasis on the outdoors, these projects feel like oases in the modern world.

This Beach House’s Dark Exterior Conceals its Bright, Airy Insides

The all-black exterior fades into its natural setting.

The home has been designed to encourage engagement with the outdoors, with the majority of the living spaces located outside, including the dining area and kitchen. Sliding timber barn doors close off the kitchen space when it is not in use.

"The atrium is the first place you enter," says architect Ryan Leidner. "Traditionally, it’s a hardscaped area with some potted plants, but we wanted it to be more like a full garden, right in the middle of the house."

The upper loft is an open-air platform sheltered under the roof, and offers "a peaceful vantage point" with 360-degree views of the cabin's natural setting.

"From anywhere in the house, you have a sense of the outdoors," says Melonie, "and yet it’s very private." Ikegami agrees. "The building was really about the landscape—it can dissolve into the background," he says. In the master bedroom, Japanese Tansu chests from the couple’s previous home flank a Duxiana bed. The full-height windows and swing door are from Western Window Systems.

In designing the space, Eva and Jamie were all about bringing the outdoors in—hence they incorporated lots of wood and reclaimed materials. The living room sofa and chair are from Article.

The archways progress throughout the interior, leading residents from one room to the next. A second courtyard is situated between the kitchen/dining area and a staircase that leads to the loft. Teak flooring in the kitchen/dining area contrasts with the lime plaster walls, adding warmth to the space.

A fiberglass door covers a void in the wall that holds a solar-powered water heater, a propane tank, and wood for a fire bowl.

Architects Simone Carneiro and Alexandre Skaff transformed a cramped São Paulo apartment into a mid-city refuge for Simone Santos. On the terrace, plants, vines, and pergolas form a barrier against the city’s noise and pollution.

"The graceful ovoid arcs through the site, and the wood deck, concrete pavers, and a custom-fabricated steel planter all curve as they meet the line," explain the designers. "The shed itself tucks into the arc by only a very specific amount, a glowing anchor point in the yard."

The family's love of surfing was a main inspiration for the space. It is designed to be a relaxing getaway with few distractions from the sea and surrounding nature.

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Huge header beams and thickened walls allow for a generous opening between the living room and deck, with doors that recess into the wall cavity and a seamless meeting between the indoor floor and the exterior decking. 

On their wooded acre plot, the owners requested that Peña create a traditional Chilean barbecue that also could serve as a place for swimming and reflecting.

Giant oak trees dominate, and offer coveted shade, in the courtyard.

Stilts elevate the new spaces, keeping them clear of flood waters while also making it possible to swim underneath the buildings. 

Sliding glass doors provide a seamless connection between the interior and outdoor spaces. Green vegetation dots the courtyard, drawing the colors of nature inward.

Along the edge of the house, the extruded wood beams from the ceiling create a powerful connection with the surrounding landscape, while within, the beams serve as frames for tranquil views of the interior courtyard and pond.  

Minimally separated by LaCantina walls of glass, the interior white-washed fumed oak flooring flows into the Alaskan yellow cedar deck built at the same elevation. 

An overall industrial feel is tempered by walls of oak cabinetry, fabricated by MOAA.

In the dining room, a vintage dining set belonging to the client is offset by the painted brick wall of the original house. Lowered ceilings in the eating area give it an intimacy within the larger space. 

A "watshitsu" room, which is used for meditation and tea drinking, has a fully glazed wall that looks out to the verdant trees beyond the apartment.

The cross-axis bridge is faced with full-height glazing to overlook views of the pond.

Local building nostalgia and the majestic surrounding mountains guide Geneva architect Simon Chessex in designing a young couple’s modern dream house, built on family land.

Fujita embraces indoor/outdoor living with high ceilings and full walls that open to the outside.

From its locally quarried stone foundation to its zinc-coated copper roof, the cottage was inspired by its surroundings. "We talked a lot with our client about what the materiality would be," says architect Karen Stonely, who, citing the organic style of Bar Harbor architect Robert Patterson, designed the structure with wood rather than drywall.

A wide roof overhang on the south side terrace provides plenty of protection from the sun. At its eastern end, a standalone bedroom offers guests extra privacy.

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