Katja and Adam Thom’s cabin, on an exposed postglacial archipelago in Canada’s windswept Georgian Bay, is more than eight miles from the nearest road. The building, quite literally off-the-grid and far from inland neighbors on a long and slender granite outcrop, is only accessible by boat. The house is powered only by solar panels; it uses a graywater system, attached to the home’s only sink; and there is a composting toilet. Almost all of the wood they used was reclaimed from old Ontario barns, meaning many of the joists and floorboards are several hundred years old.
Unlike the the majority of homes in Tijuana, which are multistory and jammed together, Casa Becerril is not only a visual departure, it is less hemmed in on its site than the other houses. Instead, the home is reached in stages, first through a quiet gravel yard shaded with bamboo and then by a second-level private courtyard leading into the main rooms. Mexicans often seek seclusion and like to focus on the family, explains architect Jorge Gracia, and this house conforms to that tradition by centering the life of the house inward.
From the leafy sidewalk outside Paul Bernier and Joëlle Thibault’s home in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood of Montreal, there’s no indication that the brick home is all that different from its neighbors. But step inside, and perceptions quickly shift. Rather than the tight, dark entry hall typical of century-old row houses, Bernier and Thibault’s three-story-high stairwell is flooded with sunlight that illuminates surprising architectural details and an open-plan interior.
With the help of DSH Architects, a pair of intrepid Angelenos restored (and gently updated) Rudolph Schindler’s iconic Bubeshko Apartments. Though the buildings were structurally sound, they had suffered the wear and tear of 50 years of renters.
A family discovered the joys of DIY design—and muddy feet—in their home made up of distinct pods that blends harmoniously with its surroundings in the rainy mountains of Kauai. With $80,000, limited construction experience, and guidance from local architects Ben Sullivan and Tony Hatto, Tanya and Chris Gamby built a temporary hangout made from three 10-by-12-foot modules and dubbed it Ag Shed Villa.
Piles of homework, lacrosse sticks, bills, and other domestic detritus litter every surface of a Tudor-style house in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Three teenagers clamor for attention, and a cat and dog roam underfoot. It’s not surprising, then, that when these homeowners decided to redo their garage and backyard, they envisioned the new space as an oasis of calm where each member of the family could quietly pursue their own interests.
Restrained by local building code, architect Michael O’Sullivan forwent a flashy facade on this new Auckland, New Zealand, home, saving the fireworks for the interior. O’Sullivan designed the ceiling “to have a knitted or woven quality like that of wool or silk.” It dives down over the kitchen and dining area, eventually reaching a point at the entry that is low enough to touch.
Architect Jim Garrison of Brooklyn-based Garrison Architects was asked to design a lakeside retreat for visiting families at a boarding school for troubled teens, Star Commonwealth, in Albion, Michigan. With the students’ well-being in mind, Garrison employed healthy, high-quality FSC-certified maple for the floor, ceiling and walls, cedar for the exterior, recycled porcelain floor tile, an EcoSmart alcohol-burning fireplace, high-recycled tubular steel framing and low-E coating glass.
This airy addition on the back of a historic house in Boise is a model for sensitive renovations. With the help of Portland, Oregon–based architects Heidi Beebe and Doug Skidmore, Dan and Dana Zuckerman created an updated extension—consisting of a master suite upstairs and kitchen, pantry, powder room, and covered patio downstairs—that’s perfectly integrated with the original house and vibrantly modern at the same time.
Designed in 1974 by renowned Pacific Northwest architect Gene Zema, this Bainbridge Island home features a rich palette of woods and Japanese joinery visible throughout the home. Located outside Seattle, the house had decayed over the years and suffered from constant roof leaks. The clients brought in SHED Architecture & Design for minor fixes but the project expanded to an overhaul that included the rebuilding of the house’s central living space, the reorganization of the kitchen, and a new outdoor deck.
A couple years ago, two elderly doctors approached Abendroth Architects to design a country bungalow, just outside Althöflein in Austria’s wine country, in which they could enjoy their old age. Their south-facing plot sat next to a small stream with bucolic views of rolling hills. The residents' wishes were simple: they wanted the house to be single-level and handicap accessible, with a private, low-maintenance outdoor garden. The thoughtful dwelling is filled with simple luxuries and, all in all, not a bad place in which to live out their retirement