written by:
June 12, 2016
Originally published in Indoor/Outdoor Living
Editor's Letter
Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron talks us through Dwell's June 2016 issue.
Atop the carport is a Hopper table and shade by Extremis

In 2006, Dirk Wynants, owner of the outdoor furniture company Extremis, purchased a circa-1850s farmhouse in Poperinge, a municipality in the Flanders region of Belgium. He spent the next seven years updating it, while staying within the area’s stringent preservation codes. H

Originally appeared in A Kubrick-Esque Farmhouse Kicks Its Fossil Fuel Habit
1 / 4
A jewelry studio clad on two sides in local flora

Designer Monica Berdin—who is married to architect Clinton Cuddington—worked with Aloe Designs to cover two sides of their backyard studio in drought-tolerant flora. A sheltered deck features a custom fire pit and a pair of turquoise Condesa chairs.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Wild Garden Leaps Off the Walls of This Backyard Build
2 / 4
Fiberglass facade of warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina.

Web developer Rich Yessian involved local preservation groups early and often to gain permission to unite home, office, and outdoors at an aged warehouse that, according to Sanborn Maps, predates the Civil War.


Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Modern Home Floats Above a Traditional Skyline
3 / 4
The exterior of a Venice bungalow.

In more recent years, Venice has largely evolved into an enclave simultaneously signifying creativity and affluence. Most of those modest bungalows have been polished and rejuvenated, and in the case of Tracy O’Brien and Thaddeus Stauber’s residence, updated incrementally over time. Tracy, a banker executive and an art collector, and Thaddeus, an attorney who works in the art world, bought and made renovations to their 1950s bungalow in the early 2000s. But after living nearly a decade in the single-story, two-bedroom house, the couple turned to architecture firm SPACE International, headed by Michael Ferguson and Kirby Smith, and to Michael’s wife, Kathleen Ferguson, a landscape designer, for a more extensive update to the structure.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Amid a Hotbed of Architecture, This Home Holds Its Own
4 / 4
Atop the carport is a Hopper table and shade by Extremis

In 2006, Dirk Wynants, owner of the outdoor furniture company Extremis, purchased a circa-1850s farmhouse in Poperinge, a municipality in the Flanders region of Belgium. He spent the next seven years updating it, while staying within the area’s stringent preservation codes. H

“The house appears before us, surrounded by a mass of flowers, wide lawns resplendent in the richest of greens extend…beyond them, pergolas, orchards, meadows, and woods seem to stretch away into the distance. A perfect, secluded world of its own, a little paradise on Earth. Here, if anywhere, is a surviving fragment of the old, placid way of life that stands, lonely as an island, in the brief transience of the modern world.”Hermann Muthesius, The English House, 1904-5

We aim to capture the joy of being outside. From earth-moving artists like Maya Lin to otherworldly creations at the hands of landscape professionals, this issue celebrates open-air design moves that surprise, delight, and restore us. 

Though the formal garden as described by Hermann Muthesius—a leading, turn-of-the-century architectural thinker—may seem an erstwhile notion today, paired with our lineup of stories, his passage aptly highlights the many ways in which our relationship to the outdoors, specifically the domesticated outdoors, has greatly diversified. The extent to which a garden can be designed has intensified, as has as ourconsideration and value of nature, in a time when green spaces are not merely sites of leisure, but a growing and global environmental necessity. We are gratified that nearly all of the projects in this issue employ drought-resistant or native plantings—hopefully, a sign of the times. 

What hasn’t changed since Muthesius’s day is the human instinct for connecting with the land, however conventional or unconventional. But finding solitude in an urban environment takes resourcefulness. In Charleston, South Carolina, a web developer wanted to own a green space in the city, a quest that led him to the top of a warehouse, where he now lives in an aerie with a lush living roof. In Vancouver, the Cuddington family is blessed to have a backyard, and by adding a tiny structure cloaked in local fauna, they created more usable space—as well as a singular landscape to enjoy together. A property in Tiburon, California, directly references an English garden, imagined as a series of unfolding rooms, yet it presents a wildly contemporary view of how an outdoor space can function. With its fantastical topography and unusual points of interest, it inspires playful interaction to a much higher degree than one might imagine of the domestic landscapes in Muthesius’s time.

The author’s reference to a “secluded little paradise on Earth” also highlights the notion of an outdoor space that’s nonetheless contained and maintained privately. This certainly is the case for a renovated bungalow in Venice, California; a new build in Austin, Texas; and a rehabilitated ranch house in the Hollywood Hills, all of which boast architectural components configured—and reconfigured—to take in the best of the elements. 

We also appreciate a countryside house in Belgium, where furniture designer Dirk Wynants applied his resources to produce a home that’s both respectful of an original 1850s farmhouse, and informed by a deep-seated responsibility to live an ecologically sensitive life.

We end with a tiny floating sauna off the Seattle coast: an optimistic, go-with-the-flow creation that’s as close to a little paradise on Earth as any. If nothing else, it reminds us that escaping to a perfect, secluded world of one’s own can be just a leap—or a swim—away.

Amanda Dameron, Editor-in-Chief
amanda@dwell.com / @AmandaDameron

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
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
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