These gorgeous home exteriors stood out in our Instagram feed this year

Thomas J. Story

Our Instagram followers love posts of inspired home designs. One category that really popped on our Instagram feed this year: home exteriors. From striking paint palettes to genius landscaping, these homes win on curb appeal–and our followers noticed. Take a walk down memory lane with these most-loved Instagram home posts on @sunsetmag.

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Surf Shack in the Woods Long before he went to architecture school, Andy Neumann was a champion surfer. So it’s no wonder he refers to his 800-square-foot, solar-powered retreat as “the surf shack.” The strongly geometric cube-shaped cabin, located 2 miles up a canyon in California’s Central Coast, packs a lot of design ideas―from storage walls to a hearth-desk―into a compact space overlooking a creek in rolling, oak-studded ranchland. “I had the luxury of camping here for three years and taking my time to get a bead on my design,” says Andy, who shares the retreat with his wife, Yvonne. “I knew I wanted to experience the outdoors while being sheltered in an uncomplicated way.” . The kitchen/living/dining area and enclosed bathroom occupy the cube; a bedroom is attached to one side like a saddlebag. The shedlike main roof is actually two triangular planes forming a trough that echoes the canyon slope and channels runoff to a salvaged anchor chain. Sliding window walls on four sides and at a corner of the living area open the house to the landscape. The remote site is in a high fire-risk zone, so Andy used noncombustive building materials (including 10-inch-thick plaster-and-metal lath walls that are the color of the earth) and eliminated roof overhangs, a common transfer point for wildfires. Electric power is generated by solar panels on top of the south-facing detached, one-car garage. Large-capacity military-surplus batteries are used to store the energy, eliminating the need for a generator. . The layout of the cabin exemplifies Andy’s pared-down aesthetic. “My brother-in-law built me a large maple ‘box’ that I pushed into the corner,” he says. The outside wall of the box contains cubicles for kitchen storage and books. Inside is a bathroom and walk-in closet; on top is a study/loft with two beds. The cabin is both a launchpad for surfing and a place to relax in the rugged landscape. As for the sleek geometry, Andy says, “It honors the spirit of freedom that drew me here in the first place.” Design: Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects . #cabininthewoods #cabinlife #cabinporn #cabindecor #cabin #cabins #cabinchronicles #tinyhouse #tinyhousenation

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Yard Transformation

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Romancing the Stone When Renée DuPree moved into her modern Oakland bungalow in the fall of 2016, the 1,700-square-foot garden was nothing special. There were a few raised beds, lots of mulch, and a simple path leading to a wooden bench. Winter rains sprouted a surprise: Everything, including the footway, was overrun with wild alliums. “When you walked through,” remembers DuPree, “it smelled like you had just cut onions in the kitchen.” . Later that season, she decided it was time for a remodel. A friend recommended Beth Mullins (@bethgrowsgreen), the owner of San Francisco’s Growsgreen Landscape Design and a specialist in hardscape—best defined as the bones of any yard, including decks, fences, patios, and steppingstones. “It’s basically anything that isn’t planted or movable,” explains Mullins.“ You can design different areas or rooms in the garden that fit together like a puzzle.” . This was right up DuPree’s alley, as she wanted to extend her home into the garden with plenty of space for entertaining, plus some cozy nooks where she could enjoy alone time. So Mullins started creating vignettes—irresistible moments that draw you into the landscape and encourage you to explore, whether with a glass of wine after work or a cup of coffee on a clear morning. “I like setting up sightlines,” says Mullins, who also styled the space with containers, furniture, and textiles. “No matter what corner you’re in, there’s something interesting to look at and move toward.” . In DuPree’s landscape, that means several seating areas—including one around a Corten steel fire bowl from @shopboxhill and another by a concrete planter doubling as a coffee table—that call out for relaxation or a gathering of friends and family. “It’s versatile,” says DuPree. “I can have a big blowout party, a small barbecue, or just hang out in the garden by myself.” | Photo by @mscaitlinatkinson | #sunsetmag

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