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Decor can do a lot for a space, but you can’t underestimate the impact of the bones of a home. Looking back at the most popular house tours we’ve published this year, an obvious common thread is statement architectural details. The ones you loved the most feature larger-than-life windows, vaulted ceilings, and exposed beams. (Psst: If your place is lacking these kinds of moments, that’s where a maximalist wallpaper comes in handy; see Joy Cho’s creative studio, below, for inspo.) From Jove Meyer’s colorful Fire Island spot to a perfectly round beach home, here’s a reminder of your top 10 favorite houses in 2021.

The Rainbow Retreat

Event planner Jove Meyer found his happy place on New York’s Fire Island, and that joy carries through in the design of his fixer-upper. Hand-painted sheer curtains in front of two walls of windows flood the living room in pastel shadows, while the primary bedroom is painted in Dunkin’ Donuts stripes. 

The Geometric Beach House

Ray Dinh had an almost impossible task: Create a sustainable home in a bushfire-protection area, on a sand zone, with 360-degree views. His solution: a circular structure with no hallways and no doors (!). 

Sasha Alexander’s Malibu Retreat

Styling by Catherine Dash

When Rizzoli & Isles star Sasha Alexander first bought her California residence, it had a tiki bar theme. Cue designer Estee Stanley’s transformation of the place, where almost everything is painted white, including the original cabinets in the solarium-like kitchen. 

The Studio Apartment for a Family of Three

Styling by Helen Crowther

By moving the front door to the living room and maximizing every square foot, designer Holly Waterfield managed to turn a studio with impressively high ceilings into a three-bedroom apartment for her family. One child’s bed is tucked under the stairs, while another’s is lofted 7 feet off the ground. And yes, they’re functional.

The Sag Harbor Saltbox

Built in 1865, this coastal saltbox had lost almost all of its original charm after ’90s upgrades and years of neglect. But Ethan Feirstein and Ari Heckman weren’t intimidated. Thanks to bold paint choices (olive green paneling in the powder room; a rich navy in the guest bedroom), plus a Narnia-style nook in the hall closet, the Sag Harbor, New York, cottage is a cozy haven once again.

The Fort Greene Italianate

Camilla Gale and Zach Aarons tapped architecture firm BarlisWedlick to rethink the floor plan of their previously dark and dated Brooklyn brownstone, located just a block from Fort Greene Park. A built-in reading nook and dining area flank the central fireplace rather than face it, rewriting what a parlor floor should look like.

The Kalamazoo Farmhouse

Against all advice, Megan and Dustin Moon built their Michigan home from the ground up in the midst of caring for their newborn. The result: a moody, modern take on a classic farmhouse, complete with a metal-clad pitched roof and dramatic vertical black siding.

Adrian Grenier’s Brooklyn Brownstone

Photography by Max Burkhalter; Design by Estelle Bailey-Babenzien

Referencing every life lesson his mother taught him, actor Adrian Grenier enlisted designer Estelle Bailey-Babenzien to renovate a Brooklyn brownstone just for her. Four years and a truckload of recycled denim insulation later, the residence celebrates sustainability, community, and, of course, style.  

Joy Cho’s A-Frame Workspace

Styling by Scott Horne

Oh Joy! founder Joy Cho struck a compromise between WFH and commuting by building a creative studio (that doubles as a guesthouse) right in her Los Angeles backyard. Even in the spaces without floor-to-ceiling windows, punchy wallpaper keeps the view interesting. 

Heather Taylor’s Mid-Century Pad

Styling by Scott Horne

Gingham queen Heather Taylor transformed her family’s Laurel Canyon, California, property from a minimalist’s dream to an oasis where old world meets new. No stranger to pattern, Taylor’s signature prints are mixed and matched in every room, with graphic stripes, woven textures, and complimentary paint colors.