January 31, 2019

In the fall of 2018, I had the privilege of taking a day to tour two very special companies while I was visiting Copenhagen, and the level of craft and attention to detail evident in their products blew me away.

Michael Lehrer

Michael Lehrer, FAIA


Lehrer Architects

January 29, 2019
By Amy Albert

Michael Lehrer designed his first home 40 years ago and has been at it ever since.

BALA_Best in American Living Awards_Texas_Hill_Country_Ranch_Retreat

BALA winner Piebald Ranch, in Texas Hill Country, designed by Craig McMahon Architects. (Photo: Craig McMahon, AIA)

January 29, 2019
By Susan Bady, Senior Editor / Nigel F. Maynard, Editor-in-Chief / Amanda Hermans, Associate Editor

To be honored in the Best in American Living Awards (BALA), a custom home must exceed the client’s expectations and make a powerful design statement. In 2018, a panel of eight judges gave awards to 24 custom and spec homes.

September 11, 2018
I inked my first real estate transaction in 1999. It was a half-acre of raw land in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I was born and raised. 
Cary Bernstein photo
July 09, 2018
By Amy Albert, Editor-in-Chief
Cary Bernstein has had her own architectural practice for 25 years, creating modern homes that are light-filled and space-savvy with rigorous attention to detail.
June 30, 2018

Last year Zillow reported that more than 15 percent of American households are empty nests. As the silver tsunami continues to swell—and as many of us attempt to ride it—that number will grow.

Gnar House in Squaw Valley, Calif., with charred wood exterior

PROJECT: Gnar House, Squaw Valley, Calif. BUILDER/DESIGNER: Rob Wells/, La Jolla, Calif.; CNC FABRICATOR: Byecraft Cabinet, Sparks, Nev. Photo: Jon Rouse/Rouse Photography

April 15, 2018
By Amy Albert

Designer and builder Rob Wells is based in San Diego but spent his teen years in Squaw Valley, Calif., and wanted his kids to experience life in the Sierra Nevada. Building Gnar House there was also a chance to experiment.

Paul Masi headshot
April 09, 2018
By Amy Albert, Editor-in-Chief
Bates Masi + Architects, in East Hampton, N.Y., is known for award-winning modernist homes that range in size but consistently pay homage to the coastal structures of their environs.
 Exterior, dusk, of modern home by Build LLC in Seattle

Build LLC’s homes combine Scandinavian influences and contemporary materials. Photo: Courtesy Build LLC

April 09, 2018
By Stacey Freed

Some design firms are driven by a particular style. Some by their competition. Others, such as Build LLC, are driven by a philosophy. “Our architecture is highly inspired by the Scandinavians,” says Andrew van Leeuwen, lead architect and partner at the Seattle-based firm.

Craig McMahon Headshot
April 03, 2018
Craig McMahon, AIA

The scene is familiar: A couple sits down in my conference room to discuss a new home. This meeting has been preceded by at least one or two phone calls, or maybe even a site visit to the land recently purchased.

March 22, 2018

Moving across the country to Los Angeles nearly 15 years ago meant boning up on many aspects of life in the West. This included earthquakes, of course. Until you actually feel one, you have no idea.

Semi-circular front entrance

Architect Luis Jauregui’s design/build firm offers a full complement of services. His homes, such as Bentwater Lakehouse, in Houston, are often influenced by the modernists of his native Mexico (Photos Courtesy of Jauregui Architecture, Construction, & Interiors)

January 12, 2018
By Stacey Freed

Since his first design/build project in 1982—a spec house funded by all of his savings and a bank loan with 18 percent interest—architect Luis Jauregui has added to his arsenal of architectural and building services, which include real estate, development, and interior design. 

December 12, 2017

Data from the Migration Policy Institute and the Pew Research Center show that in the past six years the U.S. has seen an influx of migration, with foreign enrollment at American universities almost doubling since the Great Recession.

Girl looking into the woods from  floor to ceiling windows

(Photos: Tzu Chen)

September 15, 2017
By Stacey Freed

Masonry, glass, metal, concrete ... these are the building materials that Vincent “Vinny” Petrarca and Katherine Hogan, AIA, owners of the firms Tonic Design and Tonic Construction, in Raleigh, N.C., favor. “These things last over time,” Hogan says.

Shorefront Camp in coastal Maine

Shorefront Camp in Trenton, Maine (Photo: Brian Vanden Brink)

September 15, 2017
By Stacey Freed

With abundant windows and light-filled rooms, Little Camp by Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects and Doyle Constructio

September 26, 2017

Teardowns are becoming the rule in my Los Angeles neighborhood, replacing the 1,000- and 1,200-square-foot homes that were built here in the 1950s. It’s happening nationwide, in scores of enclaves like mine.

Environs infill Chicago home

Many of Architect Ken Brinkman's infill homes have the older characteristics of Chicago's old, stately neighborhoods with modern interiors (Photos: Herbie Rooprai).

June 30, 2017
By Stacey Freed

About 170 homes ago, architect and builder Ken Brinkman designed and built his first spec home, a small frame house with vinyl siding on a narrow lot.

June 27, 2017

Last fall, a salesperson from a solar company knocked at the door. He was in the right neighborhood—in sun-baked Los Angeles, our pocket is one of the sunniest.

March 24, 2017
By Scott Hobbs

We know the plans aren’t finalized, but we’d like to get some idea of costs. We won’t make any decisions based on these numbers; we just want a ballpark figure.” 
So begin all too many problem projects. 

March 30, 2017

They arrive almost every day, via design blogs, emails, colleagues, and friends. Modern or gingerbready, space-age or shingled, from the Netherlands to Nashville to New Zealand. They have clever storage that lays to waste the idea of unused square footage.



This Month in Custom Builder


Dura Supreme Cabinetry has launched a new selection of stains.


A hidden library door gives this new custom-built house the quirkiness of an old home.

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