Sometimes the most beautiful houses are ones that have been handcrafted by their owners. Artists' Handmade Houses, by the NY-based landscape architect Michael Owen Gotkin, is a coffee table book that offers a peek at some early examples of these sorts of homes, built from the late-19th century to the mid-20th century.
The home of Architect Paolo Soleri in Arizona seems stilled by the stifling heat of Arizona, as if setting an example for how to live in such a climate, by barely moving.
Here his cool stone cantilevered table is the connection between the indoors and outdoors, flowing from the kitchen through to the outdoor dining room and work space in the southern courtyard.
Likewise, the wall of the bathroom also connects to the back of the fireplace in the next room and provides radiant heat in the winter. Soleri was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and a reinterpretation of the master's organic architecture is clear in the outside dining room and the bathroom, seemingly grown inside a cave for cool summers.
The boulders in the sunken dining room in the house of sculptor, ceramist, and tableware designer Russel Wright are evidence of the design influences imbuing his work as the result of a seminal trip to Japan in the 1950s.
On the land, which Wright dubbed Manitoga, he planted and cultivated native trees and wove stone paths around them, and even diverted a river into an abandoned quarry.
A very Japanese aesthetic informs his kitchen blending into the rocks beyond. Most of the ceramics are the artist's own work.
American furniture designer George Nakashima embraced construction as a kind of improvisation. He built without plans, and the detailing was developed from the material on hand or that which was available.
Nakashima combined American vernacular influences and Japanese sensibilities, evidenced here in the shoji screen dividing off the kitchen from the dining room.
In all, the book lovingly details thirteen interiors of homes handcrafted by artists and craftsmen in America, at a time in the early years of the twentieth century that saw a resurgence of interest in oriental design