Brod Hart’s home in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood is hidden away on a quiet street filled with the typical Victorian houses that populate the area. But behind the large steel doors that shield it from view stands what once began as stables, later served as a piano factory, and finally was converted to a wheelchair-accessible private residence. Hart managed the renovation himself and lived on-site during the process, which was challenging. His clever DIY skills and design tricks paid off: The end result is an industrial-chic modern house, fully accessible to wheelchair users.
Indoor/outdoor living abounds, with plenty of room for entertaining, especially in the custom courtyard that has held hundreds of guests at many a party.
With ingenuity and plenty of elbow grease, architect John Tong turned an old Toronto dairy into the ultimate family clubhouse. The courtyard is an extension of the house, with a big table that hosts parties, a stage for impromptu performances, and part of an old loft overhead that will one day become a treehouse for the children. Photo by Stacey Brandford.
Far from pandering to the whine of youth, this urban play garden fosters thoughtful interaction in a protected setting within the bustle of San Francisco. Looking out from the roof deck gives an expansive panorama of the San Francisco skyline, but a peek over the edge reveals the minimal lines of the backyard below.
In the shadow of Denali, 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. The courtyard with its fire pit and infinity pond—extends the living area outdoors. The family has hosted events, weddings, and even a funeral here, and annual solstice parties are always a big hit with the neighbors.
In San Diego, brothers Nima and Soheil Nakhshab built Sofia Lofts, a multigenerational micro-community with 16 units ranging from 600 to 1,000 square feet designed to accommodate tenants of all ages and abilities.
Melding corrugated metal with Douglas Fir wood, a sustainable home in Seattle brings nature inside while preserving a couple’s privacy. A patio spins off the northern end of the house’s main level. It fronts “Main Street,” which unwinds from the heart of downtown Seattle into a pedestrian foot path bordered by a woodland. “We went with a low and robust barrier instead of a tall wood fence to preserve views to the park,” Schaer says. The table and benches are by Crate & Barrel.