Bult from the ruins of an aged agrarian outbuilding, the Owl’s Head Mountain Barn Conversion offers a secondary residence in Quebec. Every piece of the original structure was salvaged, numbered, and reinstalled to ensure its agricultural integrity remained intact while a new standing seam metal roof brings a modern complement to the weathered facade. Although the exterior retains its rural roots, whitewashed walls, marble finishes, and steel-frame windows transform the interior into a contemporary dwelling. Existing wood beams create a natural divide among the open living spaces and soaring 30-foot ceilings make room form expansive glazing focused on views of Sutton Mountain.
Overlooking Port Phillip Bay, the Point Nepean House rests among the tea trees of the Australian coast. A Travertine facade integrates the residence into the site’s breakwater boulders. The rugged stone material can also hold up to the peninsula’s harsh climate. Sustainably-harvested teak screens add a warm complement to the exterior. When closed, they offer shelter from region’s intense winds and summer sun while framing in views of the bay when open. Upon entry, the home’s interior includes an atrium-style courtyard leading to a main living area that features expansive ocean vistas.
Comprised of two 40-foot shipping containers, the Sao Paulo Container House makes recycling look chic. The metal structures are attached side-by-side to offer a 194-square-foot home. Their corrugated facade is hidden beneath a layer of Dekton — a material made from a mixture of quartz, porcelain, and glass — to create a smooth surface. A cohesive white palette creates a sleek, minimalist aesthetic, perfectly complemented with furniture by Oki Sato of Studio Nendo. Recessed lighting and a glass facade illuminate the interior while the glazing expands the modest living spaces to a bamboo garden featuring a custom-made granite bench.
Patagonia’s surreal landscapes make it a dream destination for a rural retreat but its remote location makes it less than ideal to build one. Casa Sombreros overcomes the challenge with a prefab construction. Overlooking Patagonia’s largest lake, the shingled dwelling is made entirely from prefabricated materials and was assembled in five months. It’s comprised of two intersecting volumes perched over the bank on steel stilts. The foundation is secured directly to the bedrock for added stability while contributing minimal disruption to the existing terrain. Internally, native timber lines the open living spaces, a complement to the rugged scenery viewed from east-facing glazing. Wrapped in oak decks, the interior effortlessly transitions to the outdoors for unobstructed views of the glacial waters and the Andes mountain in the distance.
Housed in a former 19th-century auto repair garage, the Porta Volta Garage Conversion fuses its historic roots with contemporary finishes and custom furniture to create a modern loft in Milan. The building’s original arches and exposed brick walls create a dramatic backdrop for the open living space. A larch wood ceiling complements the classic details while concrete walls and furniture, fittings, and fixtures designed by the architect add to the industrial atmosphere. As a tribute to the owner’s passion for sailing, the home incorporates subtle nautical references including wide-lank oak floors resembling the decking on boats, wooden stairs in the shape of propellers, and slate-colored bathroom tile from Liguria — a maritime destination frequented by the client. The centerpiece of the interior is the staircase. Its spiral steps transport inhabitants to upper-level’s master bedroom through a two-story concrete cylinder.
Casa MM is sited at the foot of a mountain range that draws in tourists to its nearby trails. To combat the high traffic area, the dwelling uses a wedge design. The narrow end of the home is oriented at the paths while the roofline inclines toward the peaks, taking the focus off the visiting hikers and placing it on the surrounding scenery. Its sloping profile mimics the rolling terrain while the concrete and stone facade complements the rugged environment. External materials are left exposed on the interior and are met with rich wood tones. The combination creates a modern atmosphere that balances the views of the rural landscapes.
Designed by INT2 architects and rendered by Dave Bowcutt, the House ILL places an off-grid cabin in the forest of Latvia. The dwelling is imagined as a simple, gabled form that has been wrapped in black metal siding. Its ends are clad in reclaimed barn wood, tying the structure to the landscape and offering a warm contrast to the dark facade. While the modern retreat is easy on the eyes, it’s also easy on the environment therefore creating a harmonious union between minimalist design and eco-friendly living.
Situated on a hilltop in Southern California, the Wild Lilac House is a modern refuge in San Bernardino National Forest. The property is comprised of a main residence and pool house. Both are formed by thickened walls running east-to-west across the terrain, shielding the home’s more private areas and protecting the interior from the sun. The concrete barriers are connected by a glass facade affording views of the sunset across the valley to the west. To the east, sliding glass door expand the living space out to a central courtyard with an integrated pool and spa. Concrete steps lead up to the pool house offering an additional perch to overlook the mountainous landscape.
A small Australian home has given traditional board and batten siding a contemporary update. The black fibre cement dwelling uses its mullions to create geometric, grid-like patterns for a sleek, modern take on the classic facade. Internally, natural plywood panels line the interior providing a warm contrast to the dark exterior shell. Polished concrete floors add to the minimalist aesthetic while the kitchen’s black tile backsplash mimics the external cladding. In the main living area, sliding glass doors expand the modest interior to a covered timber terrace overlooking the property’s lawn and garden.
Neighboring the forest of southern Chile, the Maullin Lodge modernizes the traditional vernacular of the area. Much of the dwelling is clad in recycled timber shingles and takes on a simple, gabled form like a classic southern home. Topped with a metal roof, the oversized eaves create a covered outdoor terrace overlooking the native trees. Its interior is dominated by open living spaces where timber beam ceilings hover above concrete floors. A northern glazed facade wrapping the main living area floods the room with natural light while windows inserted into the pitch of the roof bring in rays from above. Although the internal partitions are lined in wood planks, the walls of floor-to-ceiling glass afford views of the rural landscape to the ground floor as well as the mezzanine above.