Of all the house styles out there—saltbox, Victorian, Tudor, take your pick!—modern homes are perhaps the most appealing. Not only do they exemplify the pragmatic tenets set out by early design masters—“form follows function” and “less is more” as Louis Sullivan and Mies van der Rohe, respectively, commanded—they are also a sheer joy to inhabit, with their open floor plans, minimal material palette, sleek lines, and bounty of natural light. But modern living doesn’t mean having to own a Richard Neutra original. In fact, homes featured in the pages of ELLE DECOR show that the modern spirit has been reimagined and remixed in plenty of contemporary ways, be it a volumetric vacation house on the Greek isle of Paros or a low-slung sustainable retreat tucked into the topography of Big Sur, California. Read on for 26 examples of modern houses that you’ll want to move into immediately.
Amid Shingle Style neighbors, design firm Architecture Plus Information (A+I) created this linear Hamptons home. Poonam Khanna contributed sleek interiors to match. “Grey Gardens, it ain’t,” says A+I’s Brad Zizmor.
This stark progression of volumes might look straight out of Louis Khan’s playbook, but it was actually designed by architect Christina Seilern as a family vacation home on the Greek island of Pàros.
COOL BY THE POOL
Lebanese architect Raëd Abillama created a coastal retreat of faceted volumes for his family. By locating the infinity pool at its base, the views out to the Mediterranean are virtually seamless.
This concrete monolith in the wilds of Argentina houses the vacation home of landscape architect Jenny Graham. “I believe the landscape should dictate what the architecture becomes,” she says of the residence. “We found a little barren zone on a hill where there wasn’t much wilderness to remove, and then the project just emerged.”
The sweeping canopy of this weekend home, designed by Kovac Design Studio for film and television agent Todd Feldman, unites a series of guest pavilions and shades visitors from the relentless desert heat.
Late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s swinging ’60s Beverly Hills home was artfully reimagined by architect and designer Luis Fernandez. He brought the home up to modern standards but was sure to maintain the original kidney-shaped pool.
Architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens may live in Johannesburg, South Africa, but their ’50s home, designed by Eyvind Finsen, takes its design cues from California modernists like Richard Neutra.
You can’t beat an original and the New York City home of John and Christine Gachot takes the cake. This wild townhouse is an architectural icon, first serving as the home and studio of modernist legend Paul Rudolph and later as the ’70s party den of fashion designer Halston.
PALM SPRINGS STUNNER
Modern architecture is typically associated with cool objectivity, but the clients for this Palm Springs residence wanted something warmer. They tapped Sean Lockyer, the founder of Studio AR&D, to create a dwelling that married a flat roof and sculptural lines with cozy wood-clad interiors.
Modern gets beachy in the midcentury residence of interior designer Caroline Rafferty, one of only a handful in Palm Beach, Florida. The house, she says, was “simple enough that it didn’t demand one distinct style of decorations.”
EICHLER EYE CANDY
Joseph Eichler, a developer who built scores of midcentury homes across Northern California, is one of America’s biggest proponents of modernism for the masses. Interior designer Jessica Davis recently gave a classic ’70s Eichler a family-friendly makeover.
Set designers David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (you’ll know their work from La La Land and the Royal Tenenbaums) fell for this adorable 1956 house in the foothills of Santa Barbara, and it’s easy to see why, with its charming exterior and hillside views. The vista is a “living artwork,” Sandy affirms.
AN ART COLLECTOR’S PARADISE
This mini modernist structure might be a mere poolhouse, but it also serves as an office for art gallery owner Alex Logsdail. The artwork inside is by Lawrence Weiner and reads “Logs Bound Together”—proof that multiple functions are better than one.
Feeling hot, hot, hot! This desert house in Paradise Valley, Arizona, leans more postmodern—modernism’s cheeky cousin—than modern, and designer David Netto designed punchy interiors to suit. At night, the entire residence glows amid its arid surroundings.
Modern soul meets sustainability in this elegant sanctuary nestled into the rolling terrain of Big Sur, California. Mary Ann Gabriel Schicketanz, of the Carmel, California–based Studio Schicketanz, designed the house to be net zero, meaning it creates as much energy as it consumes.
This Woodstock, New York, house began its life as a hunting shack-turned-hippie hideaway. It’s been expanded and reborn (to Passive House standards, we might add!) with modern aplomb by architect Barry Price and White Webb Interiors.
HIGH ALTITUDE ATTITUDE
Austrian architect Tobias Petri mixed vernacular alpine architecture with modernist principles in this diminutive ski chalet. In addition to open interiors, it boasts a material palette sourced directly from the property. Yodelayheehoo!
SHOU SUGI BAN SENSATION
A series of elevated boxes makes up this stylish Long Island residence designed by architect Blaze Makoid, the interior designer Joe Nahem, and landscape architect Edmund Hollander. Midcentury meets ancient in the cladding, however: an inky shou sugi ban char.
Buckminster Fuller, one of 20th-century design’s greatest innovators, would flip if he saw this home, a 1970s geodesic bolthole lovingly restored by hatmaker Nick Fouquet.
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
“I wanted a place a bit like a monastery and where I could feel safe, so a bit like a fortress,” says hotelier Carlos Couturier of his stone-clad Mexico home. “I also wanted it to feel pre-Hispanic.” For the design, architect Mauricio Rocha looked to the ancient Zapotec city of Monte Albán and the modernist Casa Malaparte on the island of Capri.
TICKET TO PARADISE
Hotel impresario Barry Sternlicht knows a thing or two about luxury: Look no further than his glass-and-steel Miami mans. One would think it was entirely bespoke, but the home is actually a spec house that Sternlicht, working with Clint Nicholas of Haus of Design, totally transformed. “I bought the shell and then I said, ‘OK, I’m taking over,’” the hotelier tells us.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Transparency is a virtue–especially in this picturesque Sonoma, California, residence. Architect George Bevan worked with a series of interconnected volumes made from a spare palette of shou sugi ban timber, glass, and steel so that the house could sit lightly on the landscape. “It was about understanding the site where you need to have a delicate footprint, where you have to surgically go in, and how will that actually work? How will the architecture respond to that?” Bevan says.
This house, originally designed by legendary Hollywood architect Paul R. Williams, surprisingly, has a charming 1934 Tudor front. But the party’s in the back, with this airy modern extension by designer Ernest de la Torre.
This house may be in Sag Harbor, New York, but you won’t find any shingles here. Instead, the clients looked to Barnes Coy Architects to create an airy glass Hamptons retreat for them.