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May 21, 2015
Some may claim that ocean views cannot be beat, but these valley homes with panoramic views pose serious competition.
Exterior view of modernist charred cedar cabin

In the shadow of Mount McKinley, amid Alaska’s meadows and icy streams, a former teacher and a four-time Iditarod winner built a modernist cabin as expansive as the Last Frontier. Everything about the 2,450-square-foot house centers on the natural setting, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in This Modern Cabin Is the Ideal HQ For a Family in Alaska
1 / 13
Ever aware of context, architect Henry Siegel says of his house, “A lot of architects’ buildings look better on a pedestal than in context. Our design would look out of place on a pedestal—we placed it so it really fits its specific site.”

In Napa Valley, one sustainable residence elegantly demonstrates straw bale technology. Firmly believing that buildings should provide little disruption to their surroundings, the architect sited the house into the contours of the hillside without disrupting the landscape. Setting the house as he did also preserved the east-facing meadow that rolls out beneath the house and provides panoramic views of the valley below.

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Originally appeared in Hay Is for Horses, Straw Is for Houses
2 / 13
Pine Forest Cabin balcony with view of valley

Avid outdoors enthusiasts, a couple was looking to build a modest year-round retreat in Washington’s Cascade Mountains in order to make the most of the region’s vast network of hiking and cross-country skiing trails. The residents don't have to travel too far to engage with the outdoors; the balcony extends outwards to meet the valley below. 

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Originally appeared in Simple Cabin Embraces Its Mountain Setting
3 / 13
watanbe japan home design

Located in a hidden valley on the picturesque Izu Peninsula, a few hours west of Tokyo, the Watanabe Residence is a striking black box propped amidst the wooded landscape. Architect Tadashi Murai designed this remote retreat for a Tokyo transplant who abandoned his corporate existence.

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Originally appeared in Simply Sustainable
4 / 13
weber house midwest view field

Designed by his son and daughter-in-law, and largely built by his family and a host of neighborly helpers, Bill Weber’s new home is all about strengthening the ties that bind. The Weber residence sits comfortably in the rich, green Wisconsin valley.

Originally appeared in Labor of Loved Ones
5 / 13
Moonshine is beautifully set in an isolated spot in the English countryside outside of Bath. The dramatic juxtaposition of a stone gamekeeper's cottage and a modern timber framed addition gives the home a quaint, pastoral feel while capitalizing on the dr

Architect Piers Taylor's renovation of an old gameskeeper's cottage, complete with a castellated roof and sweeping meadow below, is an exercise in dramatic modernization, one that takes advantage of everything its storybook setting has to offer. The dramatic juxtaposition of a stone gamekeeper's cottage and a modern timber framed addition gives the home a quaint, pastoral feel while capitalizing on the dramatic view of St. Catherine's Valley.

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Originally appeared in Taylor Made
6 / 13
In a narrow residual area between the breezeway and the house's northern elevation, Cohen created a so-called "skinny space," with a changing area accessible to the outdoor shower.

Architect Preston Scott Cohen resurrected an early 1800s barn as a vacation home for a literary couple and their family, calling to mind both the agrarian spaciousness of the structure’s former life and the vernacular of its new function as a house. After clearing 15 wooded acres west of their building site at the land’s high point, they got quite the defoliation-related surprise: a view, not only of nearly the entire Catskill range, but an Arcadian tableau of valleys, forests, and fields in front of it.

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Originally appeared in Raising the Barn
7 / 13
Exterior of Washington mountain home with floor-to-ceiling windows and concrete skirt.

Nestled in a subalpine meadow valley in Washington, the Ranchero House is surrounded by a beautiful but demanding landscape. A Seattle family had frequented the area for years, making the three hour drive into the Okanogan National Forest for cross-country skiing and hiking, before finally making a permanent settlement for vacation. 

Originally appeared in The Ranchero
8 / 13
Modern porch walkway with square stepping stones

Thanks to Matthew Hufft, their envelope-pushing architect and longtime friend, Hannah and Paul Catlett have a new home in southwestern Missouri that’s a fresh, unconventional take on the traditional farmhouse. In building their home, they hoped to connect with the outdoors: to the tree-covered hills, the animals in the pasture next door, and the river valley to the south.

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Originally appeared in Modern Take on a Traditional Farmhouse in Missouri
9 / 13
modern design prefab sunset facade outdoor connect homes

With a new prefab in-law unit, 
an octogenarian modernist lives 
independently on a peaceful, 
verdant site in Northern California with stunning views of the valley.

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Originally appeared in This Modern Prefab is Perfect for Mom
10 / 13
A Le Corbusier chaise longue invites guests to relax in front of the stunning panoramic view.

In Vieira do Minho, a small village in northern Portugal, Guilherme Vaz designed a fortresslike retreat that embraces the natural landscape while keeping it at bay. Dubbed the Valley House, it is a concrete tube pointed directly at a spectacular mountain range to the east of the valley.

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Originally appeared in Where the Wild Things Aren't
11 / 13
Copper House, Omi, New York

It was no exodus, of course, but when Kathleen Triem quit her job at a Manhattan design firm in July 1996, her associates were thunderstruck. Triem had decided to practice architecture in the more leisurely atmosphere of upstate New York and, as her colleagues saw it, she was shooting herself in the foot. Naturally, she had qualms, but when she chanced on Omi, a small town in the Hudson Valley, she knew that she’d found her home

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Originally appeared in Escape From New York
12 / 13
Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs

Liberal use of windows during an update to this A-frame makes the most of panoramic views spanning two valleys in Catalonia, Spain.

Originally appeared in Rock the Shack: Cabin Love
13 / 13
Exterior view of modernist charred cedar cabin

In the shadow of Mount McKinley, amid Alaska’s meadows and icy streams, a former teacher and a four-time Iditarod winner built a modernist cabin as expansive as the Last Frontier. Everything about the 2,450-square-foot house centers on the natural setting, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. 

Photo by Kamil Bialous.

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