1141 Exterior Design Photos And Ideas

Zoom out for a look at the modern exterior. From your dream house, to cozy cabins, to loft-like apartments, to repurposed shipping containers, these stellar projects promise something for everyone. Explore a variety of building types with metal roofs, wood siding, gables, and everything in between.

Flooded with natural light, the residence is a warm and welcoming retreat.
Eastern facade
The exterior of Jayna Cooper's house in Los Angeles. "As I was designing my house I kept in mind standard lumber and plywood sizes so that there would be minimal waste," she says. "When choosing materials, I did basic research on cost per square foot and picked out some of the least expensive materials in the building industry. Basic, inexpensive stuff like corrugated sheet metal, stucco, and drywall can look really great if it’s incorporated into the design in a modern and well-thought-out way."
The front facade, covered in Minerit HD fiber cement panels, is muted save for a bright-green entrance ramp and red door. The entire project came in at about $225 per square foot.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s design for the Verheyden clan is instantly legible from the back deck, where the repetition of trusses, windows, and lumber creates a strong linear profile.
Anthony Belluschi, the son of architect Pietro Belluschi (1899-1994), refurbished his father’s 1938 Sutor House with the help of general contractor Pat Kirkhuff. A top priority for the new owners, Aric Wood and Erin Graham, was to unearth the neglected gardens, which were inspired by Jiro Harada, an authority on Japanese landscaping.
With the aid of landscaper Takashi Fukuda and the home’s original plans, the residents are gradually reclaiming the multileveled site.  The 2,300-square-foot home’s overhangs shelter its porches (opposite, far right).
In the suburb on the mountain’s lower slopes, Michael O’Sullivan and his sons Seamus and Finbar exchange motorcycle tips outside the compact, innovative home O’Sullivan designed.
Rear portico framing rear access to house
New addition at rear of house framing the original house and interior areas
The Floating Farmhouse’s semitransparent addition has a roofline that matches the pitch of the original 1820s farmhouse. A porch, tucked under the side eaves, is cantilevered over a stream that runs through the property. Ikea loungers are illuminated from the interior by commercial gymnasium lights repurposed as pendant lamps.
In Scandinavian regions, traditional cabins are painted black using a mixture of tar and linseed oil. Peck reproduced the look using corrugated metal—a lower-maintenance, more sustainable material. “We love that it is black, because it really reminds us of home,” Bronee says. The house has no windows on its front side, belying its light-flooded interior.
Exterior entry
The original home was only one story, but the need for two children’s bedrooms demanded a second floor in order to retain a modest backyard. The architects' first challenge was to preserve the home’s character in the second-story addition.
Named after its charred larch cladding, this tea room, designed by Czech studio A1 Architects, sits next to a lake in a woodland area near the city of Česká Lípa in the Czech Republic. Its sliding doors can be opened for enhanced connectivity with the surrounding nature, or closed to create a more secluded oasis. At the center of the space is a hearth with a teapot suspended from the sisal rope domed ceiling above it.
Like the entry bridge (below), the deck is surrounded by welded-wire fencing made by West Macon Welding.
The house weathered a recent tornado that caused significant damage to much of the property. Ellzey sees the house as an outgrowth of Frank Lloyd Wright’s experiments with modular housing: “For me, it was in that spirit of, what can it mean for homebuilding?"
Karen Ellzey and Tim Wright gaze at the hills of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area from the deck outside their prefab house by Blu Homes. The Brant Natural Folding Chairs are from Crate and Barrel, and the Strata chairs and wrought-aluminum patio table are by Summer Classics.
At the rear of the house, exterior steel cladding by Vicwest updates the look of the facade, while a steel footbridge connects the garden to the main floor of the house
Burneo oriented the house in a pair of perpendicular volumes. The ground floor houses the public areas, including a study, while the top volume, housing the bedrooms and a family room, is oriented north-south, allowing for warm sunlight and a visual orientation toward the gardens.
Fir slats on the wall and ceiling run through to the outdoors, visually expanding the space.
To deal with a Malibu site’s sharp incline, architect Bruce Bolander set the steel, concrete, and glass house on caissons. A deep wraparound porch nearly doubles the home’s living space and offers the ideal perch for outdoor dining and taking in spectacular views of the surrounding canyon. The garage serves as resident Dave Keffer’s home office.
Hill’s 1962 orange Mercury Monterey complements the blue of the container, whose original opening was retained on one end as the entrance to the garden storage shed.
Made of scraps taken from the containers’ sides, the roof creates a sense of openness from the inside and ushers in sunlight. Its slanted design creates a wind tower effect, providing natural ventilation that negates the need for air conditioning.
OPA wanted to free themselves from logic imposed by a grid and considered various inefficient configurations of shipping containers. They settled on a combination of options, seen in the trikselion shape here. The Presidio, San Francisco, California. Mobile exhibition pavilion for the For-Site Foundation. © Tim Griffith.
The home was built by two construction workers and the couple themselves, who were familiarized with the construction process and had backgrounds in industrial engineering. “We did not have blueprints for this design, and created only a 3-D model to guile them along the way,” Saxe says.
The architect and his team devised an armature on the back of the container that will eventually be covered with vines, concealing the AC and heating unit, the reservoir for graywater and the composting toilet outlet.
Ryan Anderson of RAD Furniture designed the stools as well as the table and benches on the pool deck.
Front house night view
Moonshine is beautifully set in an isolated spot in the English countryside outside of Bath. The dramatic juxtaposition of a stone gamekeeper's cottage and a modern timber framed addition gives the home a quaint, pastoral feel while capitalizing on the dramatic view of St. Catherine's Valley.
Though the lane on which the Japanese House sits is off the main street, a rock wall affords the small yard quite a bit of privacy. It also nicely frames the second floor of the house from street level. Have a look at the traditional architecture nearby in the reflection in the corner window.
The framed aluminum of the corner window by Natralight breaks up the roof of recycled slate tiles, which is entirely of a piece with the roofs around it. The Scottish oak cladding comes from Abbey Timber and the black aluminum cladding from MSP Scotland.
The building's shape and materials are the sort you find in a modernist residence in the UK, but it's the unfussy Japanese interior that reveals a design tailored to this multicultural family.
Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Toronto loft is both home and art gallery—and the ultimate party house, thanks to two kitchens, a rooftop deck, and no shortage of conversation pieces. In warm weather, Montague’s parties spill onto the roof deck. To encourage guests to explore, Peterson designed two built-in light fixtures, made from LEDs behind white acrylic panels, that cast a dramatic glow across the sauna’s custom-made wood door, designed by Peterson and crafted by carpenter Daniel Liebster.

Get a Daily Dose of Design

Sign up for the Dwell Daily Newsletter and never miss our new features, photos, home tours, stories, and more.