Decoding Contemporary Homes


Modern living room and patio next to swimming pool

Photo: Getty Images

There's a new kind of house out there. Kinda weird, yet plane. Boxy, but modern-ish. They look sophisticated, but do they have a soul? Check out these 5 important lessons from Dean:

Lesson 1: No, it’s not a modern house. It’s a contemporary house.

Contemporary is what’s new right now. Modern is what was new at some time in the past (specifically from late 20’s through 50’s)

Lesson 2: They may appear somewhat simple but actually are just the opposite.

Open voluminous space and walls of glass require serious engineering. The simplicity of finish means there’s nothing to distract from and nowhere to hide imperfections. It’s a different definition of craftsmanship than we’re used to. We’re used to craftsmanship = ornate.

Lesson 3: Like any style of home, there are a lot of bad Contemporaries out there

  • Boxy, clunky
  • Weirdly Angular
  • Cold, Impersonal
  • Sterile, Institutional
  • Story-less
  • There are a lot of obtrusive, ugly and uninspiring contemporary homes
Modern Stucco and Wood Clad House

Photo: Getty Images

Lesson 4: The magic that happens when a Contemporary house gets done right.

  • Light, light, and more light.
  • Nestled into nature - like Dean’s cabin.
  • Open Plan with lots of volume.
  • Clean, simple, minimalist.
  • Neutral, muted colors with bold accents.
  • Little to no moldings.
  • Gallery-like.
  • Energy efficient.
  • They float, rise, blend, belong
  • State of the art appliances and tech.
  • Green.
  • Clad in organic contrasts.
  • Freedom to write your own story.

Lesson 5: Can a Contemporary home have a soul?

Of course it can! In many ways, Contemporary architecture is the most honest architecture. It, like any home, can become the repository of all things us. Of our 21st century lives and our 21st century stories and our unique 21st century way of doing things.


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