Finding undeveloped land in the idyllic Californian city of Carmel-by-the-Sea is next to impossible. So when Austrian architect Mary Ann Schicketanz decided to leave rural Big Sur, where she had lived for 21 years, and move to town, she looked for a good lot with a house she could tear down. But when she found a two-bedroom built in 1972, she instead embarked on a massive renovation of the structure. The end result? A LEED Gold-certified urban hideaway that bows to its modernist history, while giving off a distinctly contemporary feeling.
Schicketanz whitewashed the living room’s wood walls and replaced the carpet with teak flooring reclaimed from elsewhere on site. Workers also dismantled the dark stone fireplace to widen the view, installing an efficient, compact fireplace on the southern wall. “From sunrise to sundown, you have light in the house,” Schicketanz says. “It’s bright even on gloomy days.”
In Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, where space is tight and the cost of a home averages close to $1,000 per square foot, architect Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop dug up some room for a minuscule apartment. The historic apartment has been updated throughout with white paint and minimalist accents, adapting its rustic character to the 21st-century.
This dilapidated auto shop in Seattle was reborn as an efficient studio rental. A triangular, open room beneath the gable roof provides a cozy space for sleeping. “The loft’s continuity increases the perceived size of the interior,” Shaer says.
A dazzling display of colored windows wraps the custom-furniture-filled Venice, California, home of architect Lorcan O’Herlihy. His wife, Irish-born actress Cornelia Hayes-O’Herlihy, gazes across the Venetian roofscape. Her cozy glass enclosure rests atop the new home.
In Sweden, an architect found an prefab efficient building solution 260 miles from home. Upstairs, each daughter’s bedroom was designed as a sanctuary, with cozy touches like Simon Key Bertman quilts and cushions.
Designed by architect David Hotson_Architect with interiors by Ghislaine Viñas, this top-floor bedroom is a minty moment of repose. Set into the dormer at the opposite side of the bedroom, the alcove bed occupies a wedge of space extending up to the attic-level oculus window. Photo: David Hotson.