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Spotlight Homes

The spotlight houses described below are notable because they have historic value, display emerging trends or showcase some unusual features.

Although you may imagine yourself in something much more prosaic, these houses have “teachable moments” that will help you nail down what works for you.


K. Hovnanian Reinvents the Suburban House


Ara Hovnanian, president of K. Hovnanian Homes, challenged conventional wisdom that buyers demand traditional style. His Line K Homes in Loudoun County, Virginia, are proudly contemporary, with materials and precise detailing typical of custom builders, not production builders. The kitchen island looks like sculpture. Andersen windows were specially made, and a band of floor-to-ceiling windows runs across the back, bringing the outside in.


How a Book Led to Line K Homes


It’s practically an article of faith among large national home builders that houses with contemporary styling won’t sell. So when K. Hovnanian Homes, the nation’s seventh largest home builder, builds a new subdivision that is unabashedly contemporary in style, it’s definitely noteworthy. Katherine reports how it came about as the result of the book, “Piet Boon 1.”


Oklahoma! Where the Price Tower of Frank Lloyd Wright...


Katherine visits the intriguing Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Price Tower, completed in 1956 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and now restored. Staying in one of the tower’s duplex apartments, she studies the only Wright high-rise ever built. Although vastly scaled down, Wright’s design lifts from his plans for two never built projects, a 14-tower mixed-use development in Washington, D.C. (1940) and a multi-tower complex in New York City (1929).


Restoring 3 Midcentury Modern Homes


In historic preservation circles, every generation is dismissive of buildings from the recent past in favor of those that go further back in time. Today’s style that’s “not worth saving” is Midcentury Modern — buildings and houses that were built from about 1945 to 1965. Though not surprising, this particular repudiation is ironic. The informal lifestyle that today’s homeowners prefer originated with this style and its most salient features — an open floor plan and a blending of indoors and outdoors — are still wildly popular.


Inside Looking Out: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater


Frank Lloyd Wright, the greatest architect America has ever produced, was a master at manipulating how his clients would move about his houses. In designing Fallingwater, considered by many to be his greatest work, he put nature front stage center, a focus that is not well known beyond Wright scholars.


A Comfy House for the Next 50 Years


John Salmen is a fun-loving guy and his house reflects that. Nothing says “a place I can live when I’m old and frail.” Instead, most visitors will find a delightful renovation of a 1900’s bungalow. Every detail that will help him and his wife in old age is so seamlessly incorporated visitors won’t notice a thing if they aren’t tipped off first.


House or Home? Peter Eisenman on the Difference


Peter Eisenman, one the world’s most respected architects, is known for provocative designs that challenge conventional ideas about what buildings should look like, how they should function, and how we experience them. In a recent interview he talked about the difference between houses and homes, with a lesson for every homeowner. “Architects design houses,” Eisenman said. “I live in a home.”


‘A’ for Architect: Barry Berkus Designs His Home With Poetry, Surprises


When architect Barry Berkus designed a pied-a-terre for himself in Santa Barbara, Calif., he brought an unusual depth to the project – more than 50 years of experience in residential design. He has custom-designed several hundred homes for individual owners and more than 10,000 homes for home builders all over the country.


Looking Through the Glass House, Philip Johnson’s Modernist Icon


The iconic photograph of Philip Johnson’s Glass House would seem to tell you everything you need to know about this see-through, glass-walled, one-room house that’s nestled in the Connecticut countryside, 40 miles north of New York City.


A Backdrop for Life: The Home of Charles and Ray Eames


The house that celebrated designers Charles and Ray Eames created for themselves in Pacific Palisades, Calif., isn’t well known outside the design professions. A prefabricated steel-frame house with an open floor plan, it caused a sensation in 1949 and continues to be beloved by architects today.


Suburban Ranch House Is American Original


An American original, the suburban ranch house of the late 1940s introduced new construction methods, a new way of incorporating large areas of glass that blur the distinction between indoors and outdoors, a very private back yard, and the open floor plan with fewer walls and several functions within one area of the house. These have influenced the design of nearly every house built since.


Villa Savoye: Still Provocative After All These Years


Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye is one of the world’s most famous houses. When it was completed in 1931, its spare look, flat roof and reinforced concrete framing were shocking; even today the house is still provocative. It was never widely copied, but many of its features, including large windows that fill a space with light and big multipurpose rooms, are common in new housing today.




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