These Stunning Home Tours Will Provide Serious Design Inspiration
Home sweet home — or maybe not. If your house is feeling a bit ho-hum lately, it might be time for a design upgrade. And there’s no easier way to get ideas for your own space than to take a peek inside some of the world’s most stunning homes. While the jaw-dropping locations and sprawling square footage aren’t within reach for most of us, we can still incorporate some of the best ideas from these homes into our own living spaces.
Whether you favor minimalist modern, over-the-top-elegance, or cutting-edge, eco-friendly design, we’ve rounded up eight stunning home tours that we guarantee will provide some serious design inspiration for your own projects.
1. The Biltmore Estate
Go big or go home, right? Well, the Vanderbilt family decided to do both. Their famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is the largest private home in America. The French-style chateau, which has 250 rooms and roughly four acres of interior living space, was built in the 1890s – a perfect testament to Gilded Age glamour and excess.
Compared to today’s preference for clean, clutter-free spaces or more rustic-inspired design, the Biltmore might seem ridiculously over-the-top – think lots of mahogany furniture, oak paneling, and damask wall coverings. But if your tastes run toward the more opulent, there’s plenty here to inspire. If you’re in Asheville, you can see the home in person. Otherwise, check out this photo tour of the estate for a glimpse at how the 1% lived in the 19th century.
Next: A tiny home in California
2. A tiny canal cottage in California
At 362 square feet, this petite cottage in Venice, California would probably fit inside one of the Biltmore’s bedrooms. But in spite of (or really, because of) its small size, this cozy, tiny home is awe-inspiring in its own way. The 1920s-era house is home to designer Whitney Leigh Morris and her husband, son, and two dogs. Yet somehow, the postcard-sized place doesn’t seem crowded, due to a combination of ingenious design tricks and some gorgeous, light-filled outdoor living spaces.
Morris shared her small-space living solutions with Refinery29: They include hidden storage, choosing attractive, functional items that become part of the home’s design, and displaying books with the spines facing the back of the shelf to minimize visual clutter – all budget-friendly design choices anyone can emulate.
Next: The perfect lakeside cabin
3. A lakeside cabin with amazing views
This 1930s-era log cabin manages to be quaint, cozy and jaw-droppingly beautiful, thanks to its location on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. The home, which was once owned by Howard Hughes, has everything you’d want in a cottage retreat, from a big stone fireplace to sprawling porches nestled among the trees. Your own summer hideaway may not have such a prestigious address, but mimicking its unpretentious rustic interior is totally doable, even if you’re not a billionaire. Or, if you’re rich, you could just buy the place yourself. It’s on the market for $14.5 million. You can find more photos here.
Next: A house fit for a Bond villain
4. An unbelievable Greek cliff house
Channel your inner Bond villain by drooling over this unbelievable Greek cliff house. The brainchild of design firm OPA, Casa Brutale is perfectly integrated in the landscape, boasting a surface-level swimming pool with living quarters beneath and a wall of windows looking out over the Aegean. The only catch? The images that wowed the Internet back in 2015 were of a home that didn’t yet exist. But after renderings of the design became a viral sensation, the firm found a willing client, according to ArchDaily. The house is currently under construction in Lebanon. While such a breathtaking home is out of reach for most people, Casa Brutale provides a lesson in dreaming big and being willing to push the design envelope.
Next: A home made entirely of shipping containers
5. A St. Louis home made of shipping containers
Living in a shipping container sounds like something people would do out of necessity, not choice. However, a St. Louis couple thought otherwise. They recently built a 3,100-square-foot home out of eight retired shipping containers. The home might not be pretty on the outside, but the price was right: Constructing costs totaled a mere $130,000. And the inside, which they filled with repurposed and reclaimed materials, is the perfect mix of cozy and quirky, as shown in the video above from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Next: A mid-century estate that was once home to a member of the Rat Pack
6. A famous mid-century hideaway
Recognize this house? If you’re a fan of Mad Men, you should. It’s the Palm Springs home where Don Draper relaxed poolside in the Season 2 episode, “The Jet Set.” In reality, the house is in Chatsworth, California, not Palm Springs, but its mid-century credentials are otherwise impeccable. Known as the Farralone Estate, the property was the home of Frank Sinatra for a decade, and Marilyn Monroe once camped out in the guesthouse.
Designed by architectural firm Perreira & Luckman (who also created the iconic Theme Building at LAX), the property’s floor-to-ceiling windows, open floor plan, and indoor-outdoor living setup is exactly what you’d expect from this type of home. Though the current decor might not precisely match the mid-century architecture, the building alone provides plenty of inspiration for those who love all things modern.
Next: A prefab house that moves with you
7. A futuristic house you won’t believe is a prefab
Prefab homes don’t have to be cheap or shoddy, as these sleek, modular structures from German company Coodo prove. The interiors are customizable and feature contemporary design and high-tech smart-home features like app-controlled lights and shutters. Coodo makes the structure with recycled materials, and it’s small size and smart design makes it resource-efficient. But here’s the best part: Every Coodo is completely mobile. You can plop your pod down virtually anywhere, from an oceanfront beach to the top of a mountain. The result is a home that moves with you and has a minimal impact on the environment – design ideas we can get behind. You can get a peek inside one of Coodo’s several available models here.
Next: An inviting Icelandic home
8. A one-of-a-kind Brutalist home in Iceland
Brutalist architecture isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re a fan of concrete, you’ll swoon over this unique Icelandic home designed by Högna Sigurðardóttirin in 1963. She was the first woman to design a building in Iceland, Curbed explained, and she produced this 3,300-square-foot home with features like a built-in concrete bench, a brick-lined conversation pit, a large fireplace, and an indoor pool. While an interior primarily made of concrete sounds cold, brightly colored furniture and soft floor coverings make it surprisingly inviting. Head here to see more photos of the home.