written by:
October 8, 2015
Modern design doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive, and while you can no longer find a vintage Eames Lounge Chair for less than $200, you can still build a modern home for less than that (per square foot).
Outdoor view of modern farmhouse renovation

Subverting the traditional, conservatively cozy British barn conversion, Carl Turner created a getaway in rural Norfolk for himself and his friends to visit, repose, and consider the beauty of agrarian minimalism. He renovated one old structure and built an entirely new adjacent black dwelling—the Stealth Barn. "It only cost about $48,000 to build, which was incredibly cheap," says Turner of the new barn. At 800 square feet, that's only $60 per square foot. "We got the Timber Frame Company to supply the shell, then we clad it and fitted out the interior and windows ourselves. The idea was to take the archetypal black tar-painted agricultural building and make an almost childlike icon of that."

 

 

 

Originally appeared in A Pair of English Barns Hide Unabashedly Bold and Budget-Friendly Minimalist Interiors
1 / 7
metal and wood staricase insode small cabin

On Puget Sound, activist and filmmaker Anna Hoover collaborated with Les Eerkes, a principal at Olson Kundig Architects, on a 693-square-foot studio in the woods. Using freecycled materials and a six-footed foundation to rein in construction costs, Hoover and Eerkes created a distinctive structure that treads lightly on the land.

With a construction budget of less than $200 per square foot, Eerkes (with the mentorship of Tom Kunding) looked for ways to build the structure efficiently. He specified glulam—glued laminated timber—for the structure and spanned the skeleton with structurally insulated floor and roof panels. The structure is stationed atop a six-column foundation. 

"The 'six-footed' solution was balanced against a spread footing and stem wall approach," Eerkes says. "Cost analysis led us in the direction of the column footing approach because it minimized excavation and form work costs."

Originally appeared in An Eco-Friendly Compact Cabin in Washington
2 / 7
Modern multifamily home in Seattle with cedar and metal siding on the facade

Two Seattle architects designed and built this dynamic multifamily structure on a formerly vacant lot. Their infill project was completed for $189 per square foot. Its street-facing facade is clad in prefinished siding from Taylor Metals, and cedar shaped and cut with CNC technology. The couple was inspired by the porthole windows of the Maritime Hotel in New York City, one of their favorite buildings. 

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Three Families Comfortably Fit in One Slim Lot
3 / 7
modern kitchen with green cabinets and concrete counters

In Austin, Texas, architect Sean Guess forged an inventive industrial kitchen for a cost-conscious couple. A tight construction budget informed the choices Guess made as he designed a house for a couple in Austin, Texas. Budget-minded materials, like the James Hardie fiber-cement siding, helped hold construction costs to $130 per square foot. Sherwin-Williams’s Cyberspace hue colors the exterior and Parakeet coats the custom kitchen cabinets by Austin Wood Works. The planter is made from Cor-Ten steel.

Originally appeared in Inexpensive Materials Pay Off Big
4 / 7
modern green arkansas cabin cement panels facade

Stocked with green features, this inexpensive off-the-grid retreat in Arkansas provides its owner peace of mind through its clean-lined architecture. Completed in fall 2013 for just over $118,000, the 1,157-square-foot house (that's $102 per square foot) was designed to have as little of an impact on its environment as possible. Green elements include a photovoltaic array, a rainwater catchment system, and a pier footing foundation that elevates the house over the land, minimizing site disturbance. The restrained interior features bamboo flooring, Vermont slate tile, recycled paper countertops, and ample glass to showcase the surrounding deciduous forest. “When I go inside, my mind expands,” the resident says. “The interior offers clarity and calm."

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Off-the-Grid Cabin in Arkansas
5 / 7
Natural lit dining room with book shelves on top

Architect Jeff Sherman, of Delson or Sherman Architects, has more guts and gall than your average home renovator. In 2000, strapped by a “very finite budget,” he bought a wrecked row house in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, that had been used as an illegal breeding kennel. Over the next ten years, working as his own general contractor and builder, he transformed the scariest building on his block into a high-design home, all for about $100 per square foot. “I’m a little wary of the construction-on-a-dime myth trumpeted in the press,” says Sherman. “Construction is ridiculously expensive. But yeah, I wound up doing a house for next to nothing.”

Photo by 
Originally appeared in New Prospects
6 / 7
sunia wood clad

Priced out of the modern market and stuck with a fixer-upper that seemed unfixable, a young L.A. lawyer took matters into his own hands—and found a new career in the process. The exterior of his house is clad in a striking wooden herringbone pattern. At 2,000 square feet and four bedrooms, and with costs coming in well under $150 per square foot, the home is far larger than anything at its price point in comparable, or even less desirable, L.A. 

 

Originally appeared in Innovative Wooden Homes
7 / 7
Outdoor view of modern farmhouse renovation

Subverting the traditional, conservatively cozy British barn conversion, Carl Turner created a getaway in rural Norfolk for himself and his friends to visit, repose, and consider the beauty of agrarian minimalism. He renovated one old structure and built an entirely new adjacent black dwelling—the Stealth Barn. "It only cost about $48,000 to build, which was incredibly cheap," says Turner of the new barn. At 800 square feet, that's only $60 per square foot. "We got the Timber Frame Company to supply the shell, then we clad it and fitted out the interior and windows ourselves. The idea was to take the archetypal black tar-painted agricultural building and make an almost childlike icon of that."

 

 

 

Photo by Christoffer Rudquist.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016