If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that humans can’t handle too much of the same thing. Whether it’s staying in the same place, staring into the same Zoom window, or wearing the same sweatpants, eventually we all reach our limits. In the attempt to shake things up, it feels increasingly common that people are trying to ~*find their aesthetic*~ and the most interesting examples happen when people take the often discordant things likey like and embrace them instead of trying to narrowly define.
When it comes to our homes that’s true too. No one wants to live in a time capsule or furniture showroom. Variety is the spice of life.
Here are my favorite homes that ✨ add a little bit of spice ✨.
The Krauss House
Location: 20 Horseshoe Rd, Old Westbury, NY 11568
List Price: $3,995,000
I never would have guessed that a mansion on Long Island would become one of my favorite houses, but this home renovated by famous Modernist architect Ulrich Franzen has captured my heart. Franzen brilliantly integrated parts of the original Jacobean Revival home into the ultra-modern.
The whole home runs a spectrum from modern to traditional. While some spaces are entirely modern, some spaces - like the drawing room- remain frozen in time, and others… well they blur the lines between styles in interesting ways. The grand salon has been reimagined into a postmodern masterpiece replete with wood paneling, plush carpeting, built-in seating, and natural light. A plush conversation-pit-style seating platform forms the heart of the room.
The study on the top floor is one of my favorite blends of modern and traditional. The wood paneling, fireplace, and built-in bookcases keep the space grounded and feeling like a space for serious work, while the windows on all sides and the enormous barrel vault skylight make for a very daydream-worthy space.
One of my favorite all-modern spaces is the primary bedroom. I love the windows and the built-in platform bed. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the raspberry-colored carpet in the main bedroom, but Troye Sivan’s house has convinced me that is in fact ✨ a vibe✨.
The property’s rolling manicured lawns (of which there are plenty since the house sits on about 4 acres), traditional gardens, tennis court, and swimming pool also contribute to the overall vibe of the house. They lend an air of distinctly American old-school glamour and Lana del Rey country club angst that is unmatched.
The Contemporary Cottage
Location: 100 15th Ave, Sea Cliff, NY 11579
List Price: $999,000
This Long Island cottage is being sold as a fixer-upper (“architectural plans already drawn up and village-approved”). While there are some cosmetic things to update and drywall to replace, I love this charming cottage essentially as-is. The entrance to the home is through an idyllic garden area and into the original cottage building.
Inside you’ll find a surprisingly bright and modern space with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, but the warm wood floors and accents feel true to the original spirit of the house. You also get a preview of the exciting additions that have been made to the home including a breezeway and a glass brick silo that houses the spiral staircase.
I say silo because crossing the breezeway, you enter a modern barn-inspired addition. You’ll find bedrooms inside with exactly the kind of cottage charm you’d expect based on the original house. Vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and skylights make the cozy spaces feel bright and airy.
Just when I thought that this house couldn’t get any better: enter the primary bedroom. It’s this whole lofted space with tons of windows, an oversized fireplace, and a TikTok-approved built-in platform bed. The house expertly uses windows, angled rooflines, and glass blocks to tie both structures together and make the most of the wooded site. It’s amazing how secluded this home feels considering it’s just a couple of blocks away from the village’s downtown area and a few minute walk from the beach.
The home also has a workshop area that currently has a photo studio and sewing setup for that full “I just want to quit my job, move to an old farm upstate, and make things” effect.
The Brooklyn Townhouse
Location: 244 Putnam Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
List Price: $3,895,000
This Italianate townhouse in Bed-Stuy is one of the most interesting townhouse renovations I’ve seen. They focused on maintaining and enhancing the existing character more than anything, specifically drawing out the best qualities of the materials. In the front of the house, the original finishes such as the marble surrounds and pine floors have been beautifully restored and complemented with new plaster walls throughout.
A new addition at the back of the house brings a new modern flair to the home.They’ve left the original exterior wall exposed where the two structures meet, and play with that threshold in interesting ways. I particularly love the kitchen’s combination of the original exterior façade’s brick with the new brick and plaster, the existing pine floor with the new ash cabinetry, and the marble countertops that feel both incredibly modern and fit perfectly with the historic nature of the house.
Upstairs in the primary retreat, the original exterior wall creates a sense of definition between the sitting area and the bed area and also creates a threshold between the traditional and the modern.
The modern elements are still kept very simple and material-focused, repeating the same materials, but applying them in new ways.
A modern carriage house renovation in Pittsburgh done by underappreciated Brutalist architect Tasso Katselas: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/808-Morewood-Ave-Pittsburgh-PA-15213/11529086_zpid/
An Escher-like SoHo loft: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/118-Wooster-St-4C5C-New-York-NY-10012/2075668877_zpid/
A loft style single-family home in San Francisco with a modern twist: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3132-Laguna-St-San-Francisco-CA-94123/15071128_zpid/
The Bronx Tudor Revival from the Work It Out issue is one of my favorite style mashups and it’s still for sale: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/404-W-246th-St-Bronx-NY-10471/29852635_zpid/