Home Tours That Still Inspire Me Years Later

Thinking back to 2012 through 2018, I was on Houzz quite a bit. It was very different in the beginning; a much smaller website than it is now. Better.

I hardly visit Houzz anymore but when I do, it’s fun to look back on my old ideabooks. I saved so many home tours and photos, it’s wild.

While some of them would never be saved by me today, others have stood the test of time and I come back to them every time I’m working on a renovation.

They’re all quite different which may seem surprising, but for me it isn’t. I like most styles! That said, I think there are a few common threads running through the homes that attract me.

  • They all have either lots of windows or very large windows.
  • They usually have a lot of plants
  • They use natural building materials (No LVP!)
  • They aren’t ostentatious or overly designed
  • There’s lots of warm whites combined with wood so that colorful accents aren’t too much (for me anyway).

I think I can safely say that as long as I don’t stray too far from my list above, I’ll be happy and stay happy.

For anyone who is into interior design, anyone house hunting or ready to undergo a renovation, you should definitely start compiling a collection of houses and photos you love. The longer you do this, the better you’ll understand your own personal style. Your personal renovations will have better outcomes!

Okay, let’s get into it.

The Santa Cruz house “that A Pattern Language built”

Photo by Shannon MaloneMore exterior home photos

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Photo by Shannon MaloneMore bedroom photos

Okay, so this one is pretty traditional. It was inspired by the book, A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander; which I love. It’s one of those books you don’t have to read cover-to-cover. You can flip it open and read about any neat thing relating to architecture and urban design.

One of the recommendations they took from the book was to have a south-facing outdoors. That said, it’s really important to consider your climate. Here in the Midwest, I once had a south-facing home with a gorgeous back yard. But the back yard was so shady that it was one of the last places in town to thaw out after winter. It was difficult to garden. And even though it was the best feature of the house, I never actually wanted to be there. I’m a sun lover so it just didn’t work. The book delves into all of this in the best way. Really, it’s all about the human experience, right? Check it out.

Another thing the owners took from the book was to have lots of “cozy” zones including the bedroom nook with the chaise. I also love the sun-soaked kitchen, the area at the bottom of the stairs, the hallway at the top of the stairs, the entry with stone flooring and orange paper lanterns, the paper lantern bedroom, and the window seat surrounded by books. I could go on and on. That curved tub is beautiful… the exterior landscaping…

In one of my dream lives, I’d live here. I’d putter around the property maintaining and enhancing the gardens. I’d be writing and creating and reading in those nooks, basking in the sun. Financially secure, obviously.

And I hope that’s exactly what the owners are doing. I hope they still live there and I hope love it and they’re happy.

The cozy bookish LA loft

Photo by Carolyn ReyesSearch living room design ideas

Photo byMore living room ideas

Photo by Carolyn ReyesDiscover living room design inspiration

Some day, I hope I’ll create a whole little house like this living room full of books and music! I love everything about it. This is a rental too! It shows how much you can do with non-fixed design elements. This little spot makes me question my belief that I’d never live in a city. I hate cities! But maybe… haha. By the way, we should always question our beliefs and I love when interior design helps me do just that.

Aside from their awesome living room, I also love the terra cotta hued papier-mâché light fixture. I love the hanging branches. And that dining table! The renter, Gabrielle, designed it out of Douglas fir. Douglas fir is my favorite wood. It’s a pretty soft wood though so I’m curious how it holds up as a table…

The cool house in Laurel Canyon

Photo by STRUKTR Studios PhotographySearch exterior home design ideas

Photo by STRUKTR Studios PhotographyMore kitchen ideas

Photo by STRUKTR Studios PhotographyBrowse living room ideas

This place is so fun! I could care less about the pool but, man- that landscape! I love how natural this house looks and how it’s all nestled into the trees. I love the blues and oranges used throughout. It’s warm, inviting, and it has plenty of personality and sunlight.

An awesome barn conversion in Ohio

Photo by Franklin & Associates – Design/BuildBrowse living room photos

Photo by Franklin & Associates – Design/BuildSearch living room pictures

Photo by Franklin & Associates – Design/BuildSearch dining room design ideas

Barn conversions aren’t generally my thing. That said, I do love this one.

I think the thing that attracts me the most is how family friendly it feels. If I could have a baskeball hoop indoors for the kids, or roller skating, or any other “outside” activity, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Super cool. Also, I liked how they insulated this barn by doing it from the outside. Basically they built a new roof over the old one. This allowed them to preserve the interior framing rather than cover it up by insulating from the inside (what normally happens). They truly thought outside the box on this one. Check out the video or you can read about it here.

An Aussie house in the trees

Photo by Hipster MumMore living room ideas

Photo by Hipster MumMore bathroom ideas

Photo by Hipster MumDiscover bedroom design inspiration

Nature plays a big role again with this one. This house has soul. You can feel it. I love the story of how the owner found this house. It has a great backstory. Also, I like that despite the renovation, it feels relatively untouched. To me, that’s a huge indicator of successfully honoring the home for what it is. It bums me out when the actual home is disregarded during a renovation. Check it out here.

Some more house inspiration from old saved ideabooks- runners up

Here are a few more. I don’t visit these ones quite as often as the ones above. I also probably wouldn’t live in them. That said, I do find them inspiring and full of soul. Check ’em out.

The maximalist dream farm in Florida

Photo by Rikki SnyderSearch kitchen pictures

Photo by Rikki SnyderSearch living room pictures

I definitely couldn’t live in this one. But if I pared it way back and edited, edited, edited the interior down to less, I bet I’d love it. I love the natural materials like the terracotta-hued saltillo tile floors and the stone fireplace. I love the building totally shrouded in vines. If you’re a maximalist, you’ll probably appreciate everything they’ve done.

The Texas charmer

Photo by NEST Design GroupMore living room ideas

Photo by NEST Design GroupBrowse bathroom photos

What inspires me about this one is that they kept the original wood trim and worked with it/designed around it. Most people would have painted it all white. Kudos to them! The kitchen is really nice but a bit stark for me. Texas cowboy flair isn’t really my style but I do like the way they ran with it.

Lastly, a tiny home that has always made me wonder

Photo by Jessica Helgerson Interior DesignLook for kitchen design inspiration

Photo by Jessica Helgerson Interior DesignBrowse living room photos

Photo by Jessica Helgerson Interior DesignSearch bathroom pictures

Could I go this small? With kids, like them? Of course I could. But would I? Nope. This one makes me want to reconsider though. Every time. And I’ll always take inspiration from that bathtub. Someday maybe I’ll put an old clawfoot on wooden pedestals too- because why not?

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed at least one of these tours. Let me know which one is your favorite, if any.

Thanks for reading,

HouseRat Zero

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