Vernacular architecture captures the soul and history of an area or larger region through distinctive building designs, construction methods, choice of materials, and more. On this page you can explore a wide range of projects that showcase a variety of architectural styles from around the world. These designs range from urban to rural houses and from compact cabins to spacious family retreats. What they all have in common, however, is the way they integrate vernacular cues in a contemporary design. Some of these houses and cabins give a nod to traditional architecture in subtle ways. Others pair elements of vernacular architecture with strikingly modern details to highlight the beauty of both styles.
Traditional houses vary from one place to another. For example, old stone houses look different in Italy, France, or Spain, even though they have strikingly similar dry stone walls, gabled or flat roofs, and almost matching fenestration. Likewise, solid wood houses and cabins showcase particular vernacular elements, whether they’re from rural Colorado or the Alps. Regardless of their location, all of these houses have a special connection to their site’s cultural and architectural heritage.
These projects often involve renovation and rehabilitation work. Some of these houses date back to the 18th century, while others were built in the 1950s. From old shepherd’s huts to Italian farmhouses and Dutch barns, these projects bring vernacular architecture back to life. Other projects are completely new builds that take inspiration from the area’s architectural past. Others are conversions of old buildings into private homes, rental properties, or public shelters for hikers in the mountains, for example. Finally, when completed with respect for the character of vernacular architecture, modern extensions only enhance the charm of an old house.