The Most Beautiful Homes of 2020

Benedetta Lamberti
·13 minuto per la lettura
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

From ELLE Decor

Looking back at the most beautiful homes of 2020 — a common practice this time of year — we see how the Pandemic and its many restrictions have impacted (and continue to impact) our lives and lifestyles. Early on, we were forced to organize well, to find new functions for the same spaces, and to learn to love our interiors.

This year, the word “home” conjures countless new positive adjectives, but it also brought out a few negative connotations. After all, the Coronavirus forced us to remain distanced and closed off between the domestic walls for months on end, but it also allowed us to rediscover an important and personal refuge to contain our habits, desires, needs, tastes, and memories.

We found a way to bring the outdoors in, transforming our living spaces into a home-office, a gym, a restaurant, and even a playground for the little ones. Similarly, thanks to the internet and video calls, we were able to take our private spheres through the urban social rituals of the outdoors, like a simple happy hour with friends from afar, or a trip to the opera, theater, or museum, whether around the corner or around the globe.

But these are only the functional implementations of the living space. We’re convinced that the home’s true beauty lies in its empathetic ability to make us comfortable, reflecting the very personality we’ve imbued into its open spaces and intimate corners. For this, we look to provide a new interpretation of 24 domestic landscapes, all realized in 2020, that are beautiful to see and functional to live.

An anti-conformist and colorful apartment in Madrid, 125 m2 by studio Gon + Ana Torres


Photo credit: Rocio Romero Rivas
Photo credit: Rocio Romero Rivas

A sparkling nonconformist refuge created for a single journalist who wanted to bring a bit of the magic from Malasana — the alternative neighborhood in Madrid where he lives — back inside. For this, the architects crafted a colorful collage, full of playful references and ‘80s accents, which unfold on a light layout whose old and rigid partitions were replaced by sliding doors for fluid and interconnected interiors.

Sensorial renovation in Milan by studio Offstage

Photo credit: Simone Furiosi
Photo credit: Simone Furiosi

Contrasts abound in this bourgeois apartment from the ‘50s, in the heart of Milan, which plays with the views and hidden angles, soft colors, prized materials, connections, spatial distributions, horizontal surfaces and vertical wings along with a touch of irony. Bespoke elements and finishes are distinguished by shades of gray and blue, paired to various hues in pink, from the wisteria of the boiserie and wardrobes, to the brilliant pink of the hallway leading to the bedroom.

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Le rainbow et le Bosquet (The rainbow and the forest) in Paris, 80 m2 by Matali Crasset


Colored walls are the trend of a new living approach. After years of minimalism and the hegemony of white and neutral tones, the desire to abandon grays, beiges, and creams is back, swapping out essential lofts and an absence of decor as a superfluous sign of architecture. The French designer knows this all too well, designing an 80 square meter apartment on the ninth floor of a building with a curtain wall that masterfully cuts through colored furnishings, recounting the link between rainbow color and life, starting from a brilliant white box.
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Photo credit: Philippe Piron
Photo credit: Philippe Piron

Ketelhuis (literally, boilerhouse) in Amsterdam, by Studio Modijefsky

Photo credit: Maarten Willemstein per Studio Modijefsky
Photo credit: Maarten Willemstein per Studio Modijefsky

A former industrial site becomes the home and workspace for a couple of artists. Designers realized a residence where the atmosphere was balanced between the spatial design and sculptural inserts, presenting a warm and welcoming feel. After all, its name, Ketelhuis (boilerhouse), was born from the use of 3 main materials and finishes (oak wood, brass and white-painted steel).

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Home with a greenhouse in Athens, by Natalia Bazaiou


Photo credit: Cathy Cunliffe
Photo credit: Cathy Cunliffe

A greenhouse in the living area: it’s from this that the Greek designer began to change the connotations of a home destined for a family of four, because “you can’t live without the warmth of the Mediterranean as an integral part of everyday life”. Enclosed within a glass cube that reigns over the kitchen and living room, nature becomes light, life, relaxation, and hobby.

240 m2 pastel loft in Berlin, by studio Batek Architekten

Photo credit: Marcus Wend
Photo credit: Marcus Wend

Industrial style and fluid atmospheres perfect for the family. This space recreated by the German studio is a matryoshka-home that revolutionizes the more traditional concept of the loft. The home distinguished by the almost complete absence of partitions and generally articulated with neutral tones of white or gray concrete, was reinterpreted for a family of 5, exploiting a series of boxes nested within one another, with the goal “to provide sufficient privacy without detracting from the open, generous feeling of the space”.

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Total yellow duplex in Barcelona, 150 m2 by Arquitectura-G

Photo credit: jose hevia
Photo credit: jose hevia

How can you bring the sun back into a home where natural light is scarce? This is the challenge that designers found before them in the restoration of a 150 square meter duplex in Barcelona. The renovation unfolding over two levels faces the north with few windows, using a golden yellow color to resolve the problem in an industrial-chic style.
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Magic Box Apartment in Viladecans (Spain), by Raul Sanchez


Photo credit: jose hevia
Photo credit: jose hevia

A modern home for two families speaks of tradition, openness and interconnection, using the reflections of the sparkling brass beams, steel claddings and directional changes in the parquet to outline rooms and environments. All in a sage game of magic boxes that open and close according to the need to connect its various spaces.

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Contemporary art in a London home, 350 m2 by Michaelis Boyd


The London team has renewed a Georgian home with a sculpture to be crossed in the center of the living area. We’re talking about the new staircase inspired by the floating red “Staircase-III” by Doh Ho Suh, showcased at the Tate Modern in 2010. Connecting the two floors, this volume in perforated red steel flutters above the floor of the living area and sparks a dialogue with the numerous works of contemporary art and design scattered throughout. An object that’s both sculptural and functional promotes the fluidity of atmospheres while playing with a cheeky character.

Photo credit: Gavriil Papadiotis
Photo credit: Gavriil Papadiotis

Transformer studio a là Le Corbusier, by Studio Michael K. Chen Architecture

Photo credit: Courtesy Michael K. Chen Architecture
Photo credit: Courtesy Michael K. Chen Architecture

This studio can be extended into a two bedroom thanks to a hidden interior design trick creating two separate spaces with the help of opening and closing beds and tables aboard a 600 square meter ship. The starting point of the project is a modernist architecture useful as a lesson for nautical design, which on a small scale tends to reorganize space according to the number of inhabitants. In the two-bedroom studio, there are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a closet, a day area and a storage room. The second bedroom is carved out in the extendable dining area, with a table that folds into the wall to make room for a bed.
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A kitchen at the core of the home, 140 m2 in Madrid by Plutarco


Photo credit: Courtesy Photo
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

An informal appearance, a typical Mediterranean feel and a kitchen at the core of the home were the main requests of homeowners that wanted a domestic living hub for family and friends. And the rest? A mélange of industrial style and colors masterfully mixed in vintage graphics and dusty tones that light up only in signature accents, like the Rietveld chair and other artworks covering the walls.

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Local materials, 54 m2 in Čachtice, Slovakia, by Architekti B.K.P.Š

Photo credit: Tomáš Manina
Photo credit: Tomáš Manina

Abandoned at the end of the Second World War, a small brickmaker’s home provided the chance to restructure a residence using only scraps from the garden. The project begins from the arcade, one of the distinctive characteristics of the home (typical of many rural areas in Europe), which, in addition to being a space for various activities depending on the season, protects and refreshes the structure. Architects maintained the element, extending the profile of the longitudinal axis and the arcade that was inserted into it, tracing a latin cross plan.


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Interlocking effects for a sculptural home in Barcelona, by Mas-aqui

Photo credit: jose hevia
Photo credit: jose hevia

The restoration of this home has transformed a battered ruin into a surprising interlocking of volumes with a sculptural spirit. The clean and linear aesthetic of the interventions, together with the serial repetition of wooden slats and beams, engages the space and lends harmony, dynamism and three-dimensionality to the domestic void. It's the staves that dictate the aesthetic essence of the space: sometimes arranged horizontally and sometimes vertically, forming benches, walkways, balustrades, or steps, these strips of wood pierce the bright volume of the home.

Total beige for a Victorian home in London, by studio Daytrip

Photo credit: Courtesy of Daytrip Studio; photography by Jake Curtis
Photo credit: Courtesy of Daytrip Studio; photography by Jake Curtis

Poised between the past and present, the Tower House showcases a subtle elegance which is expressed through soft colors, prized materials, artistic forays and vintage details, sagely mixed with more contemporary notes. The thirst for light required a change in the relationship with exteriors and embellishes walls with 50 shades of beige. The designers were then able to modulate the rather ubiquitous, and therefore difficult color, in charming and harmoniously paired variants, which render it a serene, delicate, and profound backdrop.


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Kigali house in Rome, by studio Strato

Photo credit: Serena Eller
Photo credit: Serena Eller

This generously sized apartment is located on the last floor of a building in an elegant area of the capital, and features antique decor and fluid spaces that make the passage from one environment to the next a continuous succession. Everything is conceived with to craft a relaxing domestic dimension where the family with two kids can fully enjoy the home. The confines, occasionally in glass and occasionally just chromatic, underline the functional space and define the fascination of this new place.


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An urban and austere loft in Antwerp, by Vincent Van Duysen

Photo credit: Koen Van Damme
Photo credit: Koen Van Damme

Every angle of the house, which unfolds around the axes of its volumes, is conceived to maximum the views over the river, whose silver waters are echoed in interiors dominated by gray and brown. The C Penthouse is a loft penthouse with a rough charm whose meticulous geometries and concrete surfaces recount a desire to belong to the context distinguished by depots and warehouses that line up along the quay, showing their raw and nude facades marked by the passage of time.


Historic contexts in Lisbon, by Aurora Arquitectos

Photo credit: do mal o menos
Photo credit: do mal o menos

In a 19th century building in Pombalino style (which marked Lisbon’s reconstruction), an apartment was restored, modifying the space while maintaining its scars and vintage decor intact. The few internal demolitions made are highlighted with bronze strips (the contours of the beams) which alternate with the rosettes and plaster moldings already embellishing ceilings. The same thing occurs with several parts of the unused doors, walled up and covered with plaster, whose profiles emerge like bas-reliefs. It’s this peculiar choice, almost playful-like, that makes the new home so unique, honoring its history and showcasing a definite and contemporary character.

A green loft surrounded by art in Rome, by Alessandra Cerasi and Paolo Barillari

Photo credit: Max Zambelli
Photo credit: Max Zambelli

In this new Roman loft, a couple of curious surgeons and collectors represent the course of life as its interwoven and fueled with love for nature and art. “This is our home in the country where we can relax, read, hold birthday parties and dinner parties for our many international guests. We love sincere conviviality and we think that it’s through encounters with new and interesting people that we renew the pleasure of living with art in a space conceived to stir profound emotions.”

The ideal refuge, by Studio XM


Photo credit: Simone Bossi
Photo credit: Simone Bossi

Monastic peace, French style and contact with wild nature are just a few of the ingredients in this holiday home not far from Aix-en-Provence, in Marseilles. To pair with the rustic character, the architect decided on a discreet intervention in terms of furnishings and finishes, using local materials and expertise. Here and there you’ll find seats pulled from the market of Marseilles, together with design pieces like Le Corbusier’s lamps, which take the name of the same city. Atmospheres are extremely luminous and perfectly pair comfortability — imposed by age — with a countryside character that remains the greatest attraction in this kind of residence.


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A contemplative home, by studio Razavi

Photo credit: Simone Bossi
Photo credit: Simone Bossi

An introspective space devoted to reflection and tranquility, where clutter and ornaments recede to let thought run free and flow undisturbed: this is the idea behind Apartment XVII, a project for a single young scientist in Lyon. Situated in a historic neighborhood populated with Renaissance era buildings, the home presents a linear structure with antique elements, like the solid oak beams and two imposing fireplaces, which a meticulous restoration preserved and brought back to life. And the rest? Decor was reduced to a minimum, with few furnishings seeming to float in the sober setting, accompanied by metaphysical references that are read in the geometries of passages or in the measured chromatic splashes.

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A sentimental restoration in Madrid, by studio Carlos Manzano

Photo credit: Amores Pictures
Photo credit: Amores Pictures

A woman inherited her old childhood home (after 45 years of absence) and restored it like new through a meticulous renovation, because some places we belong to will always remain a nostalgic nest. The design approach can be summarized in two basic points: recovering and highlighting the original elements, and redistributing the atmospheres to adapt them to a more contemporary vision. All without ever losing its spirit.
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From warehouse to loft in Dublin, by Clancy Moore Architects



Industrial style and the dream of a loft in a former brick factory (in a peripheral zone that’s emerged as a creative district) unite both artists and business leaders. For the amount of space available, for the generous volumes and for the rough charm of interiors, the future owners here (a family of photographers) decided to incorporate few changes, leaving practically the entire property unaltered across two floors, organized around a central space with concrete floors and large windows carved in the rooftop. The most important addition to the total white interiors? Modern furnishings and a few important design icons to complete the mood.

Photo credit: Fionn McCann
Photo credit: Fionn McCann

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The past-present gap, by studio Atelier NEA


Nothing can compete with the charm of an old home with vertiginous ceilings and elegantly aged finishes, but moving into a place like this means bridging the gap between the past and present, from habits to comfort, and living standards. Then there’s the personality of the space and those that inhabit it. Here, a finely executed restoration has managed to combine all this with a few simple modifications and a new equipped volume that’s perfect for storing and organizing all kinds of objects, leaving the historic shell entirely intact.

Photo credit: Lorenzo Zandri
Photo credit: Lorenzo Zandri

A flexible home in Requena (Spain), by Crux Arquitectos


Casa REI is a flexible villa in perennial mutation, which already incorporates a possible future solution drawing on ancient models. This bright and linear volume, articulated across two levels and clad with a concrete mesh and a vague Moorish imprint, flaunts an innovative layout revealing its elastic character. To prevent time from rendering the architectural plan obsolete, architects searched for a template that was as versatile as possible, discovering it in the most unlikely of references: the Christian Basilica. The open layout of the home is composed of three macro-areas, where the central space is dedicated to welcoming the main functions of everyday life (eating, chatting, resting and playing), while the two lateral naves remain flexible without any rigid labels.
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Photo credit: Milena Villalba
Photo credit: Milena Villalba