Zen Houses

Meant to offer a literal balance between work and personal life, the Zen Houses split the two pursuits between two connected, identically-sized spaces. The twin structures measure just three meters wide, with mezzanine and private areas in both and plenty of natural light thanks to generously-sized windows. They were built with structural integrated panels to reduce costs and building time, have translucent acrylic panels on the interior that expose the wooden frames, and are joined by an open courtyard and elevated platform. The "work" side is painted primarily in white, helping define its role as a creative/gallery space, while the living side is adorned in darker hues, creating a visual ying/yang that reinforces the two sides' opposite-yet-complementary roles.

Photos: Alexandra Timpau & Filip Šlapal / Petr Stolín Architekt

  • Carolina Hillside House

    Accessed by an abandoned logging road, the Carolina Hillside House is a secluded getaway above North Wilkesboro's Kerr Scott Lake. The entire exterior is clad in untreated cypress, allowing for a unique patina to form on the outer facade. At the center of the home, a large opening separates the main living area from the sleeping quarters, creating a sheltered patio to enjoy an outdoor fireplace. It's elevated setting pairs with a generous amount of glazing to lend views of the forest below.

    Photos: James Ewing / ARCHITECTUREFIRM

  • Ancient Apartment

    The herringbone wood floors, subdued color palette, and well-chosen, minimal furnishings make it feel modern. The walls tell you otherwise. Built using portions of the existing structure that date back as far as the 500s, the Ancient Apartment mixes old and new with rare results. It was completed as part of a renovation of an entire multi-story building in Mantua, Italy, and takes advantage of the original decorations found in the ceilings and walls by leaving them exposed and surrounding them with furnishings that allow them to stand out.

    Photos: Davide Galli / Archiplan Studio

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