This sagging ranch house was reborn as a spacious cabin with a soaring roof in Harbert, Michigan. While the cottage is ideal for long summer weekends, a geothermal system that warms the concrete floors makes it an inviting spot in the winters, too. The sofa and table in the living room came from Gus* Modern, and the armchair is Mitchell Gold. The sideboard against the back wall is a vintage piece from the owner’s collection.
Toronto architecture firm superkül applies creative green thinking and a Canadian love of timber to this affordable modern cabin in the woods. The cabin was designed so that the north half can be closed off when not in use to reduce energy consumption. When the northern half is closed, the radiant floor heating can be turned off and the main area can be heated by the high efficiency wood fireplace. Photo by Shai Gil.
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerged this low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there. The dwelling is certainly cozy: in this hallway, a Woolly Pocket planter hangs on the steel beam above a polished-concrete floor warmed by radiant heat.
The first residence built in Tuxedo Park, New York, after World War II wasn’t one of the Shingle-style mansions that proliferated there after the tycoon Pierre Lorillard IV developed the village as a high-society retreat in the 1880s. Instead, on 1.3 acres (the garden/tennis court of an old estate), architect Carl Koch, a prefab pioneer, erected one of his earliest “Techbuilt Houses,” a 2,400-square-foot four-bedroom home constructed largely from standardized four-by-eight-foot modules attached to a post-and-beam frame—a simple, efficient and affordable structure that went up in a brisk three weeks in January 1956. “To pull that off is amazing,” says architect Gilles Depardon, who with partner Kathryn Ogawa recently completed the house’s renovation.
“Originally there was a wall right down the middle of the lower floor where the pole is,” Depardon explains. “It was relatively dark, and we felt the best thing to do was to open it all up.” While Koch’s design featured wooden walls, “we decided not to put the plywood panels back in, and chose Sheetrock to lighten it all up.” The architects also replaced the original concrete floor with one incorporating a radiant heat system.
Architect Steve Bull designed this high-impact, low-maintenance home for a pair of intrepid clients in Alaska. Inside, a Weil-McLain gas-fired boiler and underfloor radiant heating keep the house comfortable year-round—as do the individual programmable thermostats installed in almost every room, seven in all. That means the couple can lower the heat in rooms they use less frequently while keeping things toasty in the places they spend the most time. It’s a smart way to maximize energy efficiency through Alaska’s disparate seasons.
Down to its custom storage, this 850-square-foot loft in the heart of Montréal is tailored perfectly to the lifestyle needs of an aging couple. The entire flat features in-floor heating underneath pre-oiled engineered oak planks manufactured locally by Bois Ditton. Like most of the apartment's built-ins, the heat source was designed to be unobtrusive but effective.
A house from the 1880s that's narrow, small, and in terrible shape: is this the place for a great modern interior? In the hands of Toronto architect Heather Dubbeldam, it turned out to be exactly that. Her client, doctor Yash Patel, had a green agenda and a commitment to contemporary design. "I wanted it to be small; energy-efficient; and beyond that I let Heather and her associates figure it out," he says. "I let them run." Dubbeldam used a variety of strategies to keep it green (the tiny utility bills prove this), but also created remarkably rich spaces and textures in this small house and equally tight yard. Her remodel of the house kept its 1,450 square feet of interior space, but carved it into an open plan, and established strong visual connections between the house and the yard. Now both zones flow into each other—limestone, ceramics, cedar boards, and a row of beech trees all working together in subtle harmony.
A trellis made of ipe was designed to shade the interior from high summer sun; it’s one of several passive climate-control strategies employed by Dubbeldam. Along with a radiant heating system, they make the house extremely energy-efficient.