Dwell's Favorite Home Design Ideas and Photos

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.
All of the exterior furnishings are from Fermob. The wood-burning fireplace anchors the open living-dining space.
Upon the launch of the Yō no Ie House in September 2019, Muji installed a show home in a forested area in Isumi, about two hours from central Tokyo.
The recessed area in the wooden deck can be used for a fire pit or a vegetable garden.
A custom sofa was installed on the far side of the bathroom for even more space to relax.
Nestled on a crescent-shaped surf beach on South Island’s Banks Peninsula sits a deceptively simple beach house. Scrubby Bay is a rustic retreat flush with modern luxuries and breathtaking scenery at every turn.
Villa Slow houses two bedrooms that allow for various arrangements—the rental can be set up for couples, families, friends, etc. Each room also comes with its own bathroom.
Located among lush, rolling hills in Valles Pasiegos, Spain, Villa Slow is a minimalist holiday home designed by Laura Álvarez Architecture. The property was once a stone ruin, and now it generates more energy than it uses.
Inspired by the classic A-frame cabin design, architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has created their first tiny home with Klein, a prefab-housing startup in New York. Sited in Hudson Valley, the 180-square-foot sleek black cabin is known as A45. Despite its small size, the cabin’s innovative design creates more usable floor space by rotating the classic A-frame structure 45 degrees. This allows the lower part of the house to only touch on two corners, which maximizes the wall height to a soaring 13 feet inside. The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance.
Designed and built by Oakland–based O2 Treehouse, the Pinecone is a five-and-a-half-ton geodesic home that can be installed in the forest or in your own backyard. The treehouse, accessed via a wood ladder and a trap door, is constructed from steel, wood, and glass that integrates into the forest canopy. Inside, 64 diamond-shaped windows provide 360-degree views of the surrounding forest or landscape. Even the floors are composed of transparent panels—enhancing the sensation of floating above the earth.
Clad in Western red cedar siding and punctuated with floor-to-ceiling windows, this minimalist two-bedroom home boasts sunrise views over the Sonoma hills.
This prefab house is built around a system of 4' by 4' concrete modules and a reusable formwork to save on costs and materials.
"It was rundown, dark, and divided," recalls Masaaki of his first impression of the warehouse, the ground floor of a multistory apartment building. But after some thought, Masaaki, a Japanese-born architect, and Esther, an artist from Minorca, realized that owning the combined 2,700 square feet would allow them to headquarter Mas-aqui, the architecture and design firm they were planning to start, on-site. They bought the property and within months transformed it into a bright, modern live/work space.
The mountain abode is nestled on a quiet street a mere 10 minutes from the slopes, and it shares its lot with a gathering of large trees. The house also comfortably accommodates up to 10 people, so it's perfect for hosting friends and their families.
Lookofsky outfitted the bedroom with built-in pine plywood bunkbeds, walls, and a ceiling. The bathroom and a closet are also wrapped in plywood.
When an urban couple decided to build an affordable tiny house outside the city as a retreat from their busy lives, they found a site in the Stockholm archipelago and called on architect David Lookofsky of Lookofsky Architecture.
In order to create a small yet comfortable vacation home for a young couple, the multidisciplinary workshop TACO, or Taller de Arquitectura Contextual, sited it in the corner of a two-acre lot, then employed built-in elements for an "intuitive" interior layout.
Perched quietly on the dunes of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, Hut on Sleds serves as a small, sustainable beach retreat for a family of five.
When artist Birgitta Burling and her husband Staffan decided to build a house on the idyllic Swedish island of Gotland, they set their ambitions high. "The brief was to make a house that can do several things…to create a house with very little boundaries and infinite possibilities," says French architecture and landscape firm Collectif Encore.
For Mount Washington Residence, McBride Architects use prefabrication to save on costs while going big on functionality and style.
A view of the light-filled kitchen. Due to a tiny budget, the duo couldn’t afford to buy furniture and instead used midcentury furnishings they collected in Germany and found on Bergmann’s grandparents’ property. All of the furnishings were measured beforehand, and the modular frames were designed around them to ensure the perfect fit.
Built as a live/work space for a sculptor, Indigo by Dutch practice Woonpioniers is an eco-friendly, prefabricated cabin with bent wooden walls.
Comprising 11 modules, this green-roofed prefab was built in 90 days in a factory near São Paulo and then transported to the site in three shipments on flatbed trucks.
Built on a tight budget of $120,000, a retirement home in the mountains delivers unexpected contemporary design to a rural township.
The four-bed, four-bath home of Peter and Sarah Diamond and their two adult children is uniquely situated in one of the most remote areas of the Berkshires: Mount Washington, Massachusetts.
Located in Ojochal, Costa Rica, at the edge of a large tropical rain forest, the multi-disciplinary firm of A-01 (A Company / A Foundation) designed a prefabricated home that would respond to its local environment by exclusively using passive climate control.
The home displays several applications of the same materials—metal, glass, and concrete—a key characteristic of most Ellwood homes.
A glazed section perfectly frames country views amidst the book-lined walls of the home’s sitting room. A mobile panel allows residents to modulate light and privacy as they please.
The home is set amidst the monumentality of the Swiss Alps.
Built in 1962, the four-bedroom, two-bath home has already been spruced up with modern features that respect the home’s original midcentury modern character. Highlights include updated bathrooms with Carrara marble and walnut cabinetry, a private backyard, and a renovated kitchen with a pretty impressive "edible garden" off the side.
Designed by architect Claude Oakland, this 1969 home is one of just a handful of the Gallery Eichlers—which are also known as the "Super-Eichlers." It's located in Walnut Creek’s Northgate enclave, which is the last tract of Eichler homes to be built in the East Bay. These models are coveted for their generous and well-designed floor plans—and 252 Clyde Drive is no different.
After searching for the perfect plot of land on which to build their dream home, a couple instead opted to purchase a "Rummer" home -- a typical example of a low-key midcentury modernist house constructed by a local developer, Robert Rummer, in the 1960s. The five-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot post-and-beam house was strongly reminiscent of California Eichlers, and exemplified the couple’s ideal layout, but was in serious need of a major renovation. The revamp maintained the great expanses of glass, wide-open interiors, and indoor-outdoor living, and added new white concrete floors installed, fixed the radiant heating, updated the kitchen and bathrooms, and new landscaping.
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, with project manager and lead designer Emily Kudsen Leland at the helm, remade a Portland abode with a crisp paint palette: Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron for the cladding and Venetian Gold for the front door. The home was originally designed by Saul Zaik in Southwest Portland, complete with a wood-clad exterior, in 1956. As part of the renovation, landscape design was completed by Lilyvilla Gardens.
A new garage is topped with a master suite and clad in James Hardie Scyon Linea boards painted a dark color, Dulux Monument.
Rudolph used red cannonballs as weights to hold the home’s signature wood shutters in place.
Family retreat in Northern California.
The owners of this 2,300-square-foot converted loft in SoHo have a penchant for color and collections. To make way for these elements, BC-OA kept new materials simple and desaturated with super white walls; oil-finished, white oak flooring; and white lacquered cabinetry. In the dining area, a custom designed, built-in, tufted banquette adds soft juxtaposition against the live edge dining table. The velvet upholstery is meant to provide contrast against the exposed, white-washed original brick in both texture and era. Overhead a brass chandelier with exposed Edison bulbs references the former Swan Incandescent Electric Light Co. which occupied the loft after construction was completed in 1897.
Typography guru Erik Spiekermann and his wife, designer Susanna Dulkinys, hate clutter. That’s why they love the super-sleek Berlin domicile they constructed to have just the right lines—and a host of energy-saving features behind the scenes. The stainless-steel Bulthaup kitchen "cost as much as a small house," said Spiekermann, though he did get a discount: Bulthaup is one of his clients.
Two of chef André Chiang’s restaurants have appeared on the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. So it makes sense that at his new home in Taiwan, which he largely designed himself, the kitchen takes center stage. To outfit it, André worked with Vipp, the maker of everything from the black steel island and stainless-steel countertops to the faucets, cabinets, shelves, pendant light fixtures—even the tea kettle and trash bin.
Storage, fixtures, and appliances are all housed within the monochromatic steel modules in the McCourt Townhouse. "It’s all freestanding, even the unit with the sink in it," says homeowner Chris McCourt. "Two blokes unpacked and fitted it all in a day."
The custom-made furniture is constructed of varnished plywood in combination with black steel frames. Here, a wardrobe and desk are combined as one unit, complete with a full-length mirror.
Unsurprisingly, the home comes complete with a restaurant-grade kitchen. In addition to a full range of appliances, the space features wooden doors from a Spanish monastery and an expansive picture window along one wall.
For architect Stephen Chung, the design of his Wayland, Massachusetts, home was all about blending into the natural environment. The first floor is a serene composition of white and wood. The demand for a domestic office space inspired him to build up, adding a second floor for him to "experiment." In a departure from the Cape Cod aesthetic that rules his block, he was able to give the addition a modernist take, while also literally reflecting the existing landscape of the neighborhood. The entire 1,100-square-foot adjunct that encompasses his second story office-studio, master suite, and fort for his two young sons is swathed in mirrored siding and plate-glass windows.
The night pavilion is reflected in the infinity hot tub.
The home is constructed atop a plinth made of local granite.
Named Los Terrenos, meaning The Terrains, this retreat in Monterrey, Mexico, was designed by Mexico City–based architect Tatiana Bilbao to reflect the lush woodland hillside it sits on. The dwelling consists of two volumes made of rammed earth, terracotta clay bricks, and a facade clad in mirrored glass.
The Bardolph Gardens rental houses share a driveway, but they have individual entrances.
The crushed, white rock landscape ties in with the white mortar cladding of the home.
Native Texans and married designers Elizabeth Alford and Michael Young came home to roost 10 years ago, when they ditched big-city life in New York for a ranch house in Austin. The couple immediately knew that the home, originally built by architect Jonathan Bowman in 1957, would need a remodel, but realized that a complete restoration would be too costly and perhaps "not that satisfying" for the designers to work solely within the existing structure. So they stripped it down to the footprint and rebuilt, shaping a family home that would reflect both the hypermodern lives they left in New York City and the deep-rooted cultural heritage that comes with growing up in Texas.
Austin-based architecture firm Thoughtbarn set out to renovate an H-shaped residence in a wooded, hilly neighborhood known for its midcentury, ranch-style homes, but quickly discovered that the home’s slab was structurally failing and would need to be replaced. This replacement ultimately led to the construction of a new home based on the footprint of the original—but with a small addition to the south. The exterior is clad in board-and-batten siding, while the front porch is covered with stained pine. Both materials have a vertical emphasis, which speaks to the heritage oak trees on the .75-acre property.
Encourage your imaginative niece, nephew, neighbor, sibling, or child to grow their creativity and curiosity with these fun-filled gifts.
The main volume of the extension is constructed from offset Douglas fir battens painted blue and gray. This reflects the vertical lines and gray color of the ribbed render used in the extension to the side of the house.
A sink located on lower level was installed as a place to wash off sand after returning from the beach—which is just a 10-minute walk away. The sink, wall, and flooring surrounding it are made of marés. Part of the flooring bears resembles to terrazzo; called "trespol," it's a mix of cement, marés powder, and small pebbles. Unlike terrazzo, the top surface of trespol is not polished.
In defiance of its oversized neighbors, this sustainable 753-square-foot home in Perth, by architecture firm Whispering Smith, maximizes its small footprint through built-in furniture and textures of concrete, reclaimed brick, tile, and white metal. Devoid of walls and doors, the streamlined spaces flow into one another, and connect to the ample rear courtyard.
On a trip to Naoshima, Japan, the Houston newlyweds behind Robertson Design fell in love with Tadao Ando’s concrete-composed museums. This led the couple to create a residence of their own comprised of a low concrete wall, concrete cube, and box clad in Siberian larch. The indoors are rounded out with white oak, marble, and leather-finished granite.
Pamper your favorite pet parent—or your own fur baby—with these fun, design-forward gifts.
If their everyday mantra sounds something like “reduce, reuse, recycle,” these eco-conscious gifts won’t weigh on their conscience.

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.