Minimalissimo


Categorized “House”

Situated on the Sado River in Portugal is a remarkably simple dwelling known as Cabanas no Rio. Designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, this home is split between two cabin structures. The private and public spaces are divided between the two forms: one holds the kitchen and living room, and the other contains the bedroom. The rooms are small and furnished only with necessities: a few sitting pieces and a bed. Benches and storage are built into the structure of the cabins. An outdoor shower rests along the side of the home. The facade is covered in raw wood, an incredibly elegant yet  unfussy material. The wood connects the home with its river landscape. A small jetty reaches out from the entrance of the structure. The cabins are only accessible by boat, a feature which adds to the modesty of life on the Sado River. There is nothing more pleasing than simple elegance. This home is void of any fancy or unneeded elements, yet it still feels luxurious. I wouldn’t want anything more.


Nestled in a suburban neighborhood in Toronto, Canada is the delightfully modern Blantyre House. Completed in 2011 by Williamson Chong Architects, this house was designed with a focus on incorporating light into long and narrow spaces. Tall windows cover both ends of the thin house. Using windows of this height brings light deeper into the dwelling. The interior features a great room with an impressive kitchen unit. Floor to ceiling cabinetry provides storage and a clean, bright aesthetic. The dining table is incorporated with the kitchen island to save space in the shallow room. The second floor also features large windows which illuminate a small living area. The uppermost level of the home holds the master bedroom. Smaller windows and white walls provide a quiet sanctuary for sleeping. My favorite feature of Blantyre House are the windows. I love how every window is unique to the wall and room it hangs. The windows provide the home with a plethora of natural light and are also angled so as to provide the best views of the trees and sky. Photography by Bob Gundu.


Cliff House is a simple yet stunning residence on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Scotland’s own Dualchas Architects designed the structure to maximize the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The home is a single story with two bedrooms, two baths, and a great room for the kitchen and living areas. Every room, even the bathrooms, feature floor to ceiling windows. The windows flood the home with natural light and gorgeous views. Cliff House’s facade is clad in a silvery-brown lumber and warm gray stone, both of which were sourced locally. The low-lying structure, as well as the use of natural materials, allows Cliff House to integrate seamlessly into its environment. I love the view of the home from afar, it almost looks like it grew from the earth itself! Photography by Andrew Lee and Alistair Nicholls.


The Farnsworth House is a modern icon and a personal favorite of mine. Designed by the legendary Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), this timeless structure was completed for  Dr. Edith Farnsworth in 1951. The home is a small, one room retreat that hovers just above the ground in a rural Illinois setting. Floor to ceiling windows cover every inch of the exterior walls, punctuated by structural I-beams. The only opaque walls exist in a central core containing the bathroom, kitchen, and utilities closet. The furnishings are minimal and are mostly designed by Mies van der Rohe himself. The Farnsworth House’s clean lines, structural purity, and simple form are all classic features of mid-century modernism. At this time, removing the traditional clutter of walls, doors, and decoration was entirely unprecedented. As a result, Farnsworth House was famous even before its completion. A model of the home was first exhibited in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 1947, four years before the building’s completion. The Farnsworth House has been in countless publications and exhibits since then. Unfortunately, the home has had several structural problems over the years, most notably its susceptibility to flooding. However, restoration effects are constantly in place, ensuring that the Farnsworth House...


M Residence is yet another stunning dwelling by acclaimed architecture firm Shinichi Ogawa & Associates. Completed in 2013 and located in Fukui, Japan, M Residence is a remarkably simple home for two families. One half of the structure houses a young couple and child, while the other is home to the child’s grandmother. Both halves of the home are nearly identical. The interiors feature an open-floor plan. The lack of walls lends a fluidity to the space and cuts out cumbersome square footage. Furniture is limited to only the necessities. Sliding panels are placed along the southern wall of the home, allowing the space easy exposure to the outdoors. Shared spaces include the porch, car park, and garden. M Residence is the perfect solution to living with extended family. Both families can enjoy the comfort and convenience of living so close, yet their divided spaces can easily feel a world apart. That Shinichi Ogawa & Associates were able to achieve this while maintaining the design’s effortless and minimal aesthetic is equally impressive.


Casa No Tempo is a family farm passed down through the generations that underwent a renovation under the care of Joao Rodrigues and family, with the architect Manuel Aires Mateus. The now-converted home stay is located on a magnificent site an hour south of Lisbon in Montemor o Novo, Alentejo, known as the unspoiled Portugal with the pristine landscapes filled with oak and olive trees. The connection to the earth and the surrounding terrain is a significant part of the design in this house. The expanse of the landscape fill the rooms with views of cork trees, pastures, wild fields, dams, ponds and streams through the massive windows. While the clean, minimalist architecture details allow nature to make its presence within, modern interior fixtures and fittings allow this rural getaway to be most comfortable and luxurious. I cannot help but fall in love with all the simple yet significant touches of this farmhouse. The frameless openings of the interior emphasizes the depth of the rooms, making the height of the rooms feel infinite like the sky above. Instead of tiles, the swimming pool is spread with a sand colored plaster right up to the edge, emulating a shore line that compliments the farmhouse in site. I hope to visit this beautiful site one...


Villa E is a luxury Moroccan home designed by Studio KO. Studio KO is formed of architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, and the firm is based in both Paris and Morocco. Their architectural style expertly blends eastern and western design. Villa E is a lodge located at the base of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Viewed from below, the home appears to be a castle or fortress looming above the rugged countryside. But step closer and you’ll find a warm and comforting home with a distinct style. The facade is of Villa E is covered in Ouriko stone, a red, brick-like stone which is locally sourced and characteristic to the architecture of the region. The windows are carefully placed to create the most airflow and eliminate direct sunlight. In a hot climate such as Morocco’s architects must tailor their designs around the powerful desert sun. The interior features high quality materials such as marble and slate, as well as traditional Moroccan furnishings and artwork. And of course, every room with an oversize window is arranged to maximize the stunning view of the mountains. Villa E is perfectly suited to its harsh environment. I love how the design can be traditional and contemporary, luxurious and minimal. Every element pairs together effortlessly for...


International Royal Architecture, or I.R.A., have designed this bright and modern dwelling in a residential neighborhood in Japan. The home is called House of KKZ, a name derived from its proximity to the Kamikitazawa Railway Station in Tokyo. The structure is a straightforward white cube with cut outs for the windows and doors. KKZ is by no means large, only 110 square meters, but the thoughtful design results in a lovely living space for a family. House of KKZ is a spilt level with several loft spaces. The varying levels allow the space to feel large and open despite the building’s small urban footprint. Small, narrow windows are placed close to the ceiling on each level. These windows bring natural light inside while maintaing the residents’ privacy. White walls and light-colored wood contribute to the sunny feel of the interior. Built in furniture and storage keeps the home free of clutter.


A gorgeous white dwelling sits beside the sea on the island of Hong Kong. House W was designed by local Hong Kong architecture firm Cheungvogl. This modern home is constructed to utilize its scenic setting. The home is composed of three tall stories with large windows on each floor. The height and windows allow the residents to gaze out at the sea and passing ships. On the other side of the home doors lead to a garden terrace. Two main materials are used in the interior: rough, exposed concrete and crisp white walls. I love the simplicity of House W. The design is clean and contemporary, a perfect contrast to the lush landscape along the sea. A minimal house in a beautiful setting allows the mind to rest and reflect. House W is the perfect place to escape the busy city of Hong Kong.


Casa Spodsbjerg is a family summer home on a rocky beach in Denmark. Completed in 2010 by Arkitema Architects, this house is designed to take advantage of the views and characteristics of its site. The structure is composed of two staggered volumes on a concrete foundation. One volume houses the living rooms while the other holds the bedrooms and bathrooms. The living room utilizes floor to ceiling windows to achieve an unbroken view of the sea and beach. The bedrooms are on the second story and are more shielded, allowing for a quiet and peaceful place to rest. Casa Spodsbjerg uses a limited number of materials in its design. Concrete is used for the base and internal forms, the floors are a light hardwood, and the ceilings covered with a warm, slatted wood. This home is the perfect beach dwelling. I love how the two forms work with the geography of site to maximize the views of the surroundings. I particularly enjoy the way the materials work together in this structure. The light hardwood floors blend with the exposed concrete and are reminiscent of the sandy shore outside. The slatted wood ceiling warms the space and gives it a more natural feel. What more could one want in a...


Studio de Materia’s Light Soil V2 is a beautiful fusion of clean lines. The intersecting elements seem to float and hold one another, but in a way that oozes effortlessness. The use of the natural shape of the terrain by placing the garage on the street level helps separate and delineate functionality of the spaces. Situated in Poznan, Poland, the use of concrete, glass and wood are so well integrated that the resulting architecture seems almost soft. The lack of clutter and nod to the surrounding landscape are both subtle and contextually sensitive. Studio de Materia has combined a clear technical knowledge base with a minimalist aesthetic that compliments the context and adds clear value to the aesthetic appreciation-ist. Photography courtesy of Rzemioslo Architektoniczne.


Designed for a group of artists to reside, work and exhibit, the architect Jun Murata of Jam Architecture transformed a house in Osaka, Japan, of former wood construction into one of modern simplicity and elegant, minimalist finishes. The spaces were carefully thought out to accommodate the needs of the artists. Public and private are logically separated: the living and dining, as well as the tatami spaces face south where one can assume the intent is so that the residents can enjoy the natural light. On the other hand, the opposite side of the house meant for reading and art installation is designed with more controlled lighting where slivers of light penetrating the interiors, making it an integral part of any art installation. The architect has acknowledged that as carefully designed this minimalist mix-use house is for the artists, plants can give the space a rich contrast. I especially love the fact that the number and type of plants chosen for the space is minimal as well, allowing the harmony of their presence compliment the spaces they are in. Images courtesy of Jun Murata / Jam Architecture.