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All too often people setting out to create a new home – either through self-build or renovation – take the conservative path. But this book celebrate those that have chosen to ‘do different’. The fantastic homes in this collection don’t bow to the pressure of the mainstream market, or the straight-jacket of the planning regime, or even conform to the notion of what a traditional house should be.

Look around any new housing development and what you’ll see are (usually badly executed) mimics of a nondescript period style (most often a type of soft Georgiana) that add nothing in terms of architectural merit and, on the whole, fail to meet the modern aspirations of their new owners. Luckily, there are a growing number of people willing to make a break from the norm and create an individual home that is truly of its time. Why do they do it? Well, they are of course keen on making an architectural statement but, more importantly, of the decision that there really is only one style of house that can fit the very modern requirements of light, open plan, large rooms, big windows, simple living, and energy efficiency all in one package – a modern one.

It makes perfect sense to build a contemporary-designed house to meet contemporary needs. Of course, the question of exactly what does make a home ‘contemporary’ in style is one that has puzzled critics for many years. Students of architectural history will have no difficulty noting that the majority of the houses featured in this book fall into 20th century genres – whether it be the Modernist or International style or the organic school, championed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

It doesn’t take much imagine to picture many of these homes in fact being built in the 1930s. I hope you enjoy this fine selection of design advice and contemporary homes. They are amazing not just in their architecture but in the fact that, in many instances, despite all the travails, they got built at all.

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