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Makkinga House

Set between two villages in the northern Netherlands, the Makkinga House replaces a cramped, closed-off home with an open, airy structure. The east side is home to the entrance, but otherwise closed for privacy, while the western side is used for the open living area and connects the interior with the exterior via floor-to-ceiling windows and a long veranda, separated from the more private outdoor space to the south. The sleeping quarters have integrated wall storage units that help preserve the sleek design, while the study is set such that you can see guests when they arrive.

Photos: Michel Kievits / DP6 Architectuurstudio

  • Hupomone Ranch

    Set on 160 acres just a few miles outside of Petaluma, the Hupomone Ranch is an efficient ode to the land's agricultural roots. The bright white home has bedrooms in three corners, with the kitchen occupying the fourth and an open living area in the center, complete with an all-glass wall that opens onto the patio and lawn. Facing the main building is a separate pool house with wash room and covered bar that's open to the concrete deck. The house is certified LEED Platinum, with both passive and geothermal heating and cooling, and solar panels to help offset energy usage — fitting for a family committed to sustainable farming.

    Photos: David Wakely / Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects

  • Methow Cabin

    Aligned with the northern Washington valley in which it sits, the Methow Cabin is a striking basecamp for cross-country skiers and mountain bikers alike. The angular structure sits some four feet above the ground to protect it from snowdrifts, and the sloped room keeps snow from building up while creating space for a protected entryway and sleeping loft. It's clad in cedar siding that's continued through the living area to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, and with room for 8 and nearby access to a whole network of trails, it's ideal for groups of explorers.

    Photos: Eggleston/Farkas Architects