- Los Angeles
- U.S. + Canada
- San Simeon
- Big Sur + Monterey Bay
- Washington, D.C.
- New Mexico
- New York City
- New York
- West Texas
- The Charlottesville Area
- Shenandoah + The Blue Ridge Mountains
- Sonoma County
- Florida Panhandle
- San Jose
- Outside San Francisco
- Asheville + the Mountains
- North Carolina
- New Canaan
- The New Haven Area
- Mystic + The Coast
- North Texas
- Gulf Coast
America's Coolest Houses
won’t be trespassing: America’s coolest houses welcome visitors.
would live behind see-through walls?
architects Philip Johnson and Mies van der Rohe built their respective glass
houses in the late 1940s, the idea that anyone would want to live in such
structures was unheard of. But their bold experiments yielded amazing houses,
and introduced us to the pleasures of floor-to-ceiling transparency.
even if the walls are made of glass, houses are generally private places. (No
trespassing, please!) And it’s hard to see or
appreciate what’s going on behind closed doors. Some of America’s coolest
houses, however, let you peek behind the curtains to inspire and satisfy your
houses are always experiments, domestic laboratories where designers, builders,
and homeowners work out better ways to live.
think of experimental architecture, you usually think big: a museum by Santiago
Calatrava or a city library by Rem Koolhaas. But the innovations that truly
change our lives happen at home.
homeowners who take risks with the way their houses look, feel, or behave are
far braver than big-city developers who hire some rock star architect to built
an office tower. They are tinkering with their own lives, testing just how much
architecture their suburban neighbors can tolerate, or jeopardizing their
personal net worth to try something that no one else quite gets.
and Mies, of course, weren’t alone. When Frank Lloyd Wright cantilevered
Fallingwater over the biggest waterfall on his clients’ property, the Kaufmanns
were upset that they wouldn’t be able to see it from their windows. The
architect argued that they would hear the falls constantly, and it would be
better to truly live with their roar all the time than look at them
developments like Sea Ranch, CA—built by a group of idealistic architects and
landscape designers in the 1960s—profoundly influenced home-building in this
country. Now these innovative homes are offered as vacation rentals, so anyone
can live in a laboratory for a weekend.
coolest houses may have started out as experiments, but today they’re
guaranteed to be an interesting visit. Even if you can’t sip your morning
coffee in the kitchen of California’s Hearst Castle, spending a little time in
someone else’s pad might give you a few new ideas about your own. —Karrie Jacobs