Sigurd Larsen created the illusion of space with high ceilings and tall windows in this 861-square-foot Danish prefab. Since Copenhagen is generally cold, the house was painted black to trap warmth. The result was that in its first year, it consumed so little energy that the client received a generous refund from the heating company. “Many wooden houses in Scandinavia use this trick,” Larsen says. “On sunny days it even radiates warmth, so that in spring and autumn you can sit outside by the wall and in this way extend the outdoor season by a few weeks every year. These weeks are valuable in places with little light.”
A dramatic departure from your typical cabin on the lake, this unique Wisconsin retreat adds shades of black to a tiny island awash with local color.
Drawing on an inherited plot of land, his father’s steel company, and his brother-in-law’s architectural know-how, Motoshi Yatabe’s new house is all in the family. “Everyone stops to look at the building,” says Motoshi. Neighbors may stare at the severe facade, but once inside they are amazed with the quality and comfort of his home. Its efficient design comes from IDEA Office’s clever rethink of local zoning regulations and required setbacks.
When designer Joel Contreras decided to renovate his 1927 bungalow in Phoenix’s Coronado Historic District, he wanted to respectfully preserve the building’s past while also incorporating his love for contemporary architecture. Jonah Busick of Foundry12 happened to live in the same neighborhood, so Contreras hired the architect to help him reach that vision.
The modern addition sits on a concrete platform that extends past the house’s envelope, creating welcoming patios on each side. “From any space within the home you are no more than a few steps from one of the outdoor spaces,” Busick says. On the west-facing back porch, Green Kite Chairs by Karim Rashid and a poppy-red hammock offer ideal spots from which to take in the sunset.
After years of visiting the area as vacationers, one couple built this striking home for their retirement outside Greenwater, Washington. "The cedar siding is simply stained with a black semi-transparent oil stain [from Cabot], which allows the color of the wood to still emerge through,” architect Robert Hutchison says. “We love how the black color makes the building recede into the background, and how it in turn allows the trees on the site to emerge as the highlight.”
In a Melbourne suburb, a family of four redefines “interior design” with a private house that doubles as a public art gallery. The exterior of the Housemuseum has something of a Darth Vader look to it, without directly mimicking the brutalism that exemplified much of Melbourne’s modernist architecture of the 1960s. The street names that form the corner on which it sits—Cotham and Florence—are marked out in the chocolate-brown brickwork fence.
This bold steel-and-glass Portland development contrasts sharply with a stately Victorian Gothic church just across the street.