Dwell's Favorite Home Design Ideas and Photos

The corrugated metal roofing is a subtle reference to the many sheds found on farms in the local area.
The box-shaped extension plays off the familiar farmhouse typology, creating a series of intriguing contrasts.
This stairway gets a very on-trend arch treatment.
An exercise in simplicity, the Sonoma weeHouse consists of two steel-framed volumes with ipe interiors, oiled oak cabinetry, and massive sliding glass walls that overlook valley views.
White penny tiles reflect natural light in the bathroom.
Located in Karuizawa, a popular summer resort town in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, Four Leaves is a weekend getaway designed to accommodate the homeowner and their guests in a lush, sylvan setting. Designed by Kentaro Ishida Architects Studio (KIAS), the highlight of the stunning, 2,400-square-foot house is its sloping, angular roof sections that are delicately assembled to resemble fallen leaves.
The home’s third floor is cantilevered to offer better views and to create an outdoor terrace for the family to enjoy in the warmer months.
Cool air from the gardens flows into the rooms through sliding doors and windows.
Set on a southeast-facing slope, the AB Cabin is fitted with double-glazed windows that frame views of the town of Taihape and rolling hills beyond.
A small, dilapidated 10' x 12' neighboring structure was brought back to life and is now used as an art studio and guest cottage with a Murphy bed. In total, the property can sleep 10 people comfortably.
Douglas fir lines the walls of the entryway. A narrow striped rug adds texture to the white-painted wooden floor from Dinesen.
Now, a white kitchen recedes from the main space. A long island keeps the working area separate, yet still connected.
The mezzanine and upper loft are clad in wood, which fosters consistency with the lower level.
"As one moves between levels, a variety of unexpected vantage points and views are revealed," says the firm.
The upper loft has an integrated desk space.
The upper floor terrace is the same width as the living room and kitchen. Large glass doors offer the opportunity to open the living room completely to the terrace.
The pivotal screens can be adjusted to adapt to the sun’s angle. As they are made from perforated sheet metal, they do not block views from the wine tasting room.
The kitchen features slightly industrial finishes—including concrete, glass and ceramic subway tiles—that are easy to clean and reflect natural light into the space.
A fully glazed wall—which incorporates both louvres and sliding doors—connects the dining room and kitchen to the deck and garden. The natural slope of the site replaces the need for a fence between the garden and the beach.
The green roof is planted with local succulents, including cascading pigface.
A Cor-Ten steel "sleeping volume" seemingly floats atop a predominantly glass "living volume." Intersecting these two stacked volumes is a double-height, timber box which houses the multipurpose spaces.
A monolithic opening in the facade provides an entrance from the exterior into the courtyard. The property's extensive landscaping was completed by George Girvin, with outdoor lighting by designer Pamela Burton.
The units were designed to accommodate green roofs, which were part of the initial design intent, but put on hold for budgetary reasons.
The living area features a weathered metal fireplace, warm wood furniture, and travertine floors sourced by Destefano Marble & Granite.
Whereas others might look at a board-formed cement wall in a basement and see, well, a concrete wall, Jess and Jonathan Taylor, the design duo behind the L.A.-based firm Taylor + Taylor, were inspired. The couple had purchased a virtually untouched 1952 house in east L.A. and that concrete wall became the backdrop for a new guest kitchen in the basement. "It was really the starting point of the whole design," says Jess Taylor. "As designers, our goal is to always try to incorporate the existing surroundings whenever possible, utilize them in practical ways, and be inspired by them."
Architects Javier Sánchez and Carlos Mar of JSa created a bold house in Valle de Bravo that emerges from the setting in three parts like "excavated stone boxes." Valle de Bravo that emerges from the setting in three parts like "excavated stone boxes. Inspired by Donald Judd’s minimalist works, the three volumes feature board-formed concrete walls accented with charred wood. Strategically placed cutouts and windows frame views within and between the volumes and out to the surrounding terrain.
Cedar, glass, and concrete combine in this minimalist pool house that draws inspiration from Mies van der Rohe’s 1929 Barcelona Pavilion. The pool house, built into a mountainside west of Montreal and designed by Halifax–based MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, employs board-formed concrete for the home's expressive exterior.
The Phoenix home of designers and builders Sarah Swartz Wessel and Ethan Wessel sits amid desert-friendly trees and plants. The couple bought the property in 1998 and worked on the house for a decade. Juxtaposed with limestone floors, wood-beamed ceilings, and walls of hand-troweled plaster and board-formed concrete, glass is strategically placed throughout the 4,000-square-foot expanse to frame slivers of landscape and sky or open wide to reveal gardens of various sizes, which the couple also designed.
At Under, a Snøhetta-designed restaurant balanced on the Norwegian coast, guests dine 16 feet below the ocean’s surface. The tilted concrete tube gives the impression that it’s sliding into the sea. “The idea was to make a tube that would bring people from above sea level down under the sea,” lead architect Rune Grasdal told Dezeen. “That transition is easy to understand, but it’s also the most effective way to do it. It also feels secure, but you don’t feel trapped.” The angle was also designed with the building’s aquatic neighbors in mind. Over time the structure will become part of its environment, acting as an artificial reef. Marine research tools like cameras have been installed outside the restaurant to help scientists learn about the population, behavior, and diversity of the species living in this part of the North Atlantic.
On an undulating stretch of California coastline, a hidden guesthouse runs free of the grid. "The house is elemental," says project architect Dan Weber of Santa Barbara–based firm Anacapa, who collaborated on the project with designer Steve Willson. "We endeavored to make it out of materials that would wear and take on a patina over time, so they could feel like part of the landscape." Unfinished steel, board-formed concrete, and glass continue inside, where rich black walnut—used for ceilings, cabinetry, and furniture—provides an inviting contrast. "On a foggy day, you want that feeling of warmth around you," says Margaret. Brass fixtures complement the deep-hued wood.
A maple tree grows through an ipe deck in this garden that Mary Barensfeld designed for a family in Berkeley, California. A reflecting pool separates it from a granite patio, which is furnished with a Petal dining table by Richard Schultz and chairs by Mario Bellini. The 1,150-square-foot garden serves as an elegant transition from the couple’s 1964 Japanese-style town house to a small, elevated terrace with views of San Francisco Bay. Filigreed Cor-Ten steel fence screens—perforated with a water-jet cutter to cast dappled shadows on a bench and the ground below—and zigzagging board-formed concrete retaining walls are examples.
Luciano Kruk perforates a concrete volume with glass walls to fashion a simple yet elegant vacation home in the province of Buenos Aires. On a quiet lot populated with aged pinewood, Luciano Kruk designed a modest vacation home for three sisters and their families. The 807-square-foot, two-level home is ensconced in its forest setting. The firm employed board-formed concrete inside and out to connect the building with its environment. "Pine planks were used to set the formwork so that the partitions, as well as the slabs, would preserve the texture of the wood veins in an attempt to establish a harmonious dialogue with the bark of the local trees," said the firm.
Filled with light and views of greenery, two exquisitely crafted concrete pavilions form an award-winning home that ages elegantly over time. The bold, monolithic designs of Australian architecture studio Edition Office have been brought to life in an unexpected place—Hawthorn, one of the most affluent suburbs in Melbourne that’s better known for Victorian architecture than contemporary design. The recently completed home—dubbed the Hawthorn House—was created for a couple who asked Edition Office directors Kim Bridgland and Aaron Roberts to apply the design sensibilities they would normally use for rural landscapes to a more suburban context. In contrast to the soft greenery, the home is sheathed and supported by board-formed concrete, a material suggested by the client, who drew on his background in construction during the highly collaborative design process.
Located in Austin’s historic Hyde Park in the company of 1920s-era bungalows, the Concrete Casita by Ravel Architecture is distinct with its contemporary, low-lying profile, yet feels at home with the neighborhood. Designs to become in-law’s quarters or serve as a versatile, indoor/outdoor space for an active Austin family, the 600-square-foot structure has a rugged makeup of board-formed concrete, rusted steel, and glass. Ravel Architecture partners Alex Finnell and Devin Keyes chose board-formed concrete for the exterior, scoring the vertical boards to "get a really nice texture and interesting dynamics," says Finnell.
Set on the edge of Puertos de Beceite national park in Aragon, Spain, and available for vacation rentals, Casa Solo Pezo is a striking concrete square structure set on top of a smaller concrete square bass. Designed by award-winning and MoMA-exhibited Chilean architects at Pezo Von Ellrichshausen, this thoroughly modern residence has proportions and an interior layout that follows those of traditional Mediterranean homes with a strong indoor/outdoor connection. Its board-formed concrete exterior gives the building a texture and pattern that lend an almost organic, natural feel despite its very rectilinear form.
This cozy perch is begging you to sit down with a good book.
Within the walls of this updated 1920s Spanish Colonial home is a world-class art collection that includes the work of James Turrell and Jenny Holzer. The abode was meant to contrast with the creative couple’s main residence in San Francisco—a Victorian on a steep hill. The Los Angeles getaway, designed by Síol Studios, was renovated to embody indoor/outdoor living while maintaining the original charm with beautiful bones and arched windows. The placement of the art was an organic process—some were designed in place, while others were placed afterwards such as the Barry McGee surfboards in the dining room.
To ensure continuity, the middle portion of the terrace—including integrated heaters, a ceiling fan, and a fire pit—is covered with a minimal slope roof that Wade Design Architects cleverly hid above a continuous line of structural beams.
Not only was extra living space necessary for the growing family of four, but the existing house also failed to take advantage of the striking views that drew the couple to the site. The homeowners tapped architect Malcolm Davis of San Francisco–based Malcolm Davis Architecture to redesign and expand the dwelling without damaging the many established oak trees.
In 2013, Jennifer Warner and Cara Frey fell in love with a modest but charming 1920s house within walking distance of their bungalow. The dwelling was dramatically sited, with great views of Portland’s southwest hills and downtown. But according to Michael Leckie, the Vancouver–based architect they eventually hired, "It was the dumpiest house on the block." Leckie replaced the house with a simple, modern design, using a basic square wood box that skews into a rhombus form, which he topped with a sloping roof. Their son, William, 6, swings in front of the cedar-clad house.
This airy home makes the most of its beachside location with sustainable design, careful siting, and an expansive, glazed facade.
Casey Brown Architecture designed the Hart House, a modern update to the one-room Australian beach shack that overlooks Great Mackerel Beach. The contemporary home mimics the shack vernacular with its simple, boxy construction that’s wrapped in a protective shell of corrugated metal.
Saved from demolition, stripped of awkward alterations, and faithfully restored, these rehabbed homes prove how timeless midcentury design can be.
We’ve gathered 20 of our favorite homes that maintain their midcentury flavor without sacrificing 21st-century modernizations and updates.
Durable, economical, and easy to build, the simple A-frame was once the must-have midcentury vacation home. Today, the classic retreat has been propelled back to popularity, thanks largely to photo-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Read on for 20 charming A-frame homes that caught our eye.
If you’d like to make room for visiting friends and family without moving to a larger home, take notes from these accessory dwelling units (ADUs), lower-level guest spaces, and other inventive in-law units that treat Grandma right.
While Brooklyn brownstones conjure up memories of their turn-of-the-century roots, they also remain the modern-day face of New York’s coolest boroughs. With brownstone living, however, comes responsibility—many of these classic beauties are in need of renovation and restoration. Here are 10 standout, renovated brownstones that retain their original charm with added contemporary cool.
Building with Cor-Ten steel—weathering steel's nom de plume—is a bit like watching a painting slowly come to life over time. Exposure to the elements adds textured hues of red and orange to the material until it steps into a character completely its own. From the Dwell archive, we bring you nine Cor-Ten steel homes with facades that will continue to shift through shades of ochre, amber, rust, and sienna.
When glass dominates a home, the result is a borderless residence that syncs with its environs, creating a stunning, new visual and psychological sense of space. See how these glass homes use the versatile material to create ambiance and connect with the outdoors.
The steel-framed doors fully open to the courtyard, maximizing indoor/outdoor living space on the small lot.
Harding went for Fisher & Paykel appliances, which disappear behind a wall of Tasmanian oak joinery.
In the kitchen, olive green cabinets pair with Calacatta marble, stylish fixtures, and a circular, wood-clad island.
The one-story homes blend seamlessly into the background due to a palette of basalt, cement, and imported African wood.
The barn makes extraordinarily efficient use of timber milled from on-site trees.
To date, the pair and their pals have built a compound complete with sheds, tree decks, a pavilion, a wood-fired hot tub, an outhouse, an outdoor shower, and, now, a redwood cabin where an ever widening network of friends gather for skill-sharing workshops and events.
Located on the Imingfjell mountainside in Norway, this minimalist, 785-square-foot cabin features a "hood" in response to the climate and the region’s strict building regulations.
The commission was for a robust and efficient little cabin oriented towards the lake.
Composite wood louvers shield the interior from unwanted heat gain and provide privacy from the street.
The Birch Le Collaboration House and all of the Hygge Supply homes are made from structural insulated panels (SIPs) and steel framing, both of which are designed and cut to spec and delivered to the job site ready for placement, leaving little to no waste onsite. The homes can either be built on a slab-on-grade foundation with concrete floors; pier foundations with Thermory wood floors; or a basement foundation which also includes Thermory wood floors.
The kitchen of the Birch Le Collaboration House features Durat solid surface countertops which are made from 30-50% recycled hard plastics and are 100% recyclable. "We worked with Cara Green, our healthy building materials partner to source these countertops," explains Karchner.

Dwell's favorite photos of modern homes and design ideas. From midcentury gems, prefabricated units, and eye-opening renovations, to shipping container construction and custom trailers and campers, these projects display the best from Dwell Magazine and submitted by the Dwell community. Here, you'll find ideas for every room in the house, whether it be kitchen, bath, bedroom, living, or dining—and beyond.