Less Is More | Minimalist Homes Focus Our Attention on What Really Matters
Minimalism is design through simplicity—of form, colour, volume and detail—yet this aesthetic isn't simple to achieve. Go too far in one direction, and the result is cold, even sterile; cross the line the other way, and messiness begins. Hitting the sweet spot involves an architectural and decorative language of unity and repetition and the clever manipulation of space—not as an element to be filled, but as one to be celebrated—as well as light.
"Good minimalism recognises that light is integral to design,” says Trish Bragg of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Denver. “There has always been a passionate base of people who gravitate toward this style of home,” she notes. “Buyers feel they will live more simply, with less stress, in a minimalist home: less clutter, more room to breathe.”
A property that Bragg represents uses minimalism to great effect. A 13,000-square-foot residence built on private wooded acreage in the middle of the city, the Denver Art House, as it is known, is modern, symmetrical and conceived to maximize the beautiful Colorado sunlight. The home’s architect, Jim Olson, founding partner of Olson Kundig in Seattle, notes that “minimalist architecture frames what is important,” in this case, an impressive art collection, nature and light. “People want happy, inviting spaces that inspire them to live better lives,” says Bragg. “Minimalist architecture is a step in that direction.”
New York-based writer Iyna Bort Caruso has contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday and others.
MONTERREY - MEXICO
Conceived as an active interface between man and nature, the Ecoscopic House is a formal complex optimized to channel the energy flows and harvest the material resources that come into contact with it. Situated in a residential area at the feet of the Sierra Madre Oriental on the outskirts of the city of Monterrey, this property offers spectacular views of the mountains.
CARMEL - CALIFORNIA
Bringing to mind a butterfly poised on a rugged cliff, this architectural tour de force showcases uninterrupted views of California’s rocky coast and the dazzling Pacific Ocean. Designed by architect Wallace E. Cunningham, a fixture on Architectural Digest’s AD100 list, the 2,667-square-foot home has a powerful organic aesthetic. Glass walls and stainless-steel panels combine to create a one-ofa-kind silhouette and facade. This residence exemplifies Cunningham’s career, an ongoing exploration of both the way structures interact with their surroundings and the concept of serenity.
CHICAGO - ILLINOIS
This contemporary masterpiece on a quiet, tree-lined street in Lincoln Park offers a dramatic, extra-wide interior space featuring architectural glass, manganese-ironspot brick and limestone. Wide-plank walnut floors, a floating glass-and-steel staircase, and Kelly Wearstler wall coverings add to the restrained elegance. Along with three en-suite bedrooms, the residence features a large third-floor multifunctional space with front and rear roof decks, among a total of four outdoor spaces.
SAINT LOUIS - MISSOURI
Custom-designed by a Boston architect, this dynamic contemporary home is open, bright and sophisticated. The living room has a two-story ceiling and wood-burning fireplace. Fitted with European cabinetry, the kitchen features two dishwashers, two refrigerators and freezers, as well as gas and electric stoves with two ovens. Separated from the other bedrooms, the master bedroom is its own unique retreat. Another wing of the home can host family or guests, and the 3.47-acre lot includes a tennis court.
PRAGUE - CZECH REPUBLIC
This villa in the city’s prestigious diplomatic district offers a unique concept of functionalist architecture set in the lot’s original park garden, which covers more than 3,000 square meters. A purist approach to interior design combined with the finest materials make this property truly exceptional. Its five floors comprise six bedrooms, two kitchens, an indoor pool, a home cinema and a wine cellar, as well as a seven-car garage.