“Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.” –Paul Rand

Black and white kitchen cabinets painted with a triangular pattern add a whimsical touch to this funky kitchen.
Tanya, Chris, Jackson, and Zeke spend much of their day outside.
Because the house is narrow and long (16 by 68 feet), the design team decided to create a huge open-air space to light the interior naturally. Two retractable motor-driven 

canvas canopies shelter the space during Singapore’s frequent rains.
Japanese showers are usually set low down so the bather can sit on a stool and scrub, then pour cedar buckets of hot water over their heads for a refreshing rinse. This homeowner in Venice, California mounted a handheld shower head on the wall for added flexibility. The drain is under the removable cedar floor slats, keeping the room design uncluttered. Wood tubs are cleaned with a simple rinse and last for decades, as the antiseptic properties of cedar guard against mold and rot.

This ofuro was designed by Santiago Ortiz and fabricated by Bartok Design.
One of the most dramatic black and white kitchens on our list, this utilitarian kitchen was designed by the owner, a chief designer at Vipp. For this look, the company’s trademark materials—stainless steel, painted metal, and rubber—were heavily used. The gas stovetop is by ABK and the refrigerator is by Smeg. White Le Perroquet spotlights from iGuzzini pairs with a light-colored floor to add visual interest and lighten this otherwise dark kitchen.
Brown and his dog Katsu head to the river; the path was once a dumping ground on top of a long-defunct underground oil pipeline. The land required a complicated excavation process, offering an opportunity for Bercy to partially bury the house. The green roof was conceptualized by John Hart Asher of the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.
“Before, the house turned its back on the landscape,” said Parish. “This renovation and addition really animates the garden.” Sliding glass doors match those of the living room beyond the deck, and both can be completely open to the yard.
The concrete wall mimics the slope of the hill outside as a reference to early Maori structures that were dug into the land. The simple kitchen has strandboard cabinetry and an MDF island that conceals a fireplace at one end. The ceramic works on the built-in seat at right are by Raewyn Atkinson and Robyn Lewis.
In the photos that follow, we take a look at the product offerings inspired by the house, which Yeon designed when he was only 27 years old.
Tom Givone’s clients, Rose and Steve Smith, teach overseas and have owned their house for 26 years. They intended to fix it up slowly and retire there. As one problem led to another, they reached a point when they felt their only option, as Rose put it, was to “burn it down.”
In Seattle's rapidly developing South Lake Union neighborhood, the Art Stable is a classic example of urban infill. Built on the site of a former horse stable, the seven-story mixed-use building carries its history into the future with highly adaptable live/work units.
This "local prefab" home on the Isle of Skye is made mostly from materials sourced in northern Scotland. The timber-framed model, meant to evoke the simple agrarian barns of the area, can be constructed on-site in as little as a day and is designed for affordability.
Mami and Goo the Kishu dog return from a frolic in the forest, which the couple, along with Hideaki, has thinned and trimmed back over many weekends. It’s an idyllic escape and a world away from the concrete expanse of Tokyo.
The designs might be minimal but the color palette is friendly.
Japanese firm Mamm Design renovated this maisonette apartment in Amsterdam. Home to a family of four, the dwelling combines a series of bright, open spaces. The kitchen and bathroom, for example, are placed in this freestanding tower topped by a ladder-accessible mezzanine.
The winners of the 2011 Swiss Design Prize were shown in the U.S. for the first time at Dwell on Design. A pair of knitted vessels by Senior Design Factory caught the eye of these passersby.
A couple takes a minimalist approach to their Brooklyn apartment, focusing on supple materials, subtle gradations of color, and custom finishes by local craftsmen. The Mandayam–Vohra family gathers under one of Workstead’s signature three-arm chandeliers, shown here in its horizontal configuration. Bartenschlager designed the white cabinets and is responsible for the walnut counters both on the kitchen island and near the stove.
In Los Angeles, homeowner Bill Thompson warmed up his otherwise dark living room with a series of Douglas fir slats applied above the fireplace, as well as other wood accents throughout the room; the slats provide both texture and pattern to the fireplace, acting as a focal point and emphasizing the space's vertical height.
A trio of resin skulls works as manly wall art above a burly end table from Urban Hardwoods and on a wall painted with ICI Paint’s Noble Grey.