Never ones to shy away from the most glamorous and exciting homes around the world, shelter magazines (and magazines generally attuned to stylish homes) covered incredible ground this year. Yes, geographically they've unearthed standout residences in global destinations like Istanbul and Milan as well as more low-key residential neighborhoods in cities like New York and San Diego. But perhaps even more fascinating is how distinct personalities, combined with specific passions and circumstances, and, more often than not, fabulous wealth and some designer help, have led to unforgettable digs in totally diverse styles. Okay, so that "period paradise" château and Turkish "hunting pavilion" may be a bit over the top, but rest assured there are some down-to-earth cottages and big city apartments in the mix, as well.
↑ Burgundy, France—After acquiring the 18th-century Château de Digoine in 2012, French TV producer Jean-Louis Remilleux, who happens to specialize in historical documentaries, has since then carefully transformed the empty interiors of the part-Baroque, part-Neoclassical estate into a "period paradise." On top of necessary modern additions like 150 radiators and new baths, Remillieux has "antique-bombed" the 15-bedroom home with hand-picked items like statuettes of literary figures and a neo-Gothic library featuring chairs made for Louis XVIII. "Antiques are not dead things," the producer told AD. They're certainly alive and well in this home.
↑ Provincetown, MA—Hovering at the end of Captain Jack's Wharf, a Cape Cod pier that once attracted renegade artists like playwrights Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neil, is Spindrift Hesperus, a former fisherman's cabin that still embraces its ramshackle roots albeit in a spruced-up, magazine-perfect way. Indeed, featured this summer in NY Mag, the seafaring retreat was mostly left as is by current owners, save for a revamped kitchen and bathroom, and floors that have been stripped to unveil original hardwoods. The practical "worn" look continues inside, where a rattan sofa from the '40s shares the spotlight with broken-in leather club chairs.
↑ New York City—The coolest pied-à-terre in Manhattan may be the loft-style digs of São Paulo-based entrepreneur Hossein Jarouche and his interior and product designer partner Ana Strumpf. Profiled in Casa Vogue in May, the 936-square-foot home went through a total renovation after Jarouche purchased the pad three years ago. Decked out in furnishings and objects sourced from local thrift stores and flea markets, the home hits all the au courant decor stops rather effortlessly, mixing animal busts and paint-chipped chairs right in there with a heavyweight art collection that includes Damien Hirst and Alex Katz.
↑ Normandy, France—The 120-acre château property that once belonged to late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and partner and YSL Couture House co-founder Pierre Bergé actually hides a secret log house that's been designed to look like a "pure fantasy." Following the death of Yves Saint Laurent in 2008 and the subsequent sale of the main château, Bergé has since then reached out to the cottage's original designer, Jacques Grange, to turn the place into a fully-equipped country home. (Grange was recently profiled on Curbed here.) Lovely guest quarters and a petite master bedroom have been added accordingly, while the main living, dining, and kitchen areas feature worldly details like Moroccan-style stained-glass doors, a Russian dining room set from 1900, and antique French tiling.
↑ Chicago—A couple wanted a bold and spacious home that would accommodate their kids. What they got from Chicago-based architect Phillip Liederbach and high-end interior designer Steven Gambrel is an eye-popping townhouse that blends the feel of classic architecture—think '20s and '30s David Adler—with striking colors, antiques, and textiles. "The house has a collection of stylish things, with no great concern about provenance," Gambrel tells House Beautiful. A peacock blue-lacquered library with blue club chairs and a blue sofa and a barrel-vaulted kitchen with oversize iron lanterns are just a few highlights.
↑ New York City—Designed by Brooklyn-based O'Neill Rose Architects, this pared-back house in the Queens, New York was born of an incredibly specific challenge from the client: figure out how to coherently accommodate three branches of a family into one single structure. As uncovered in the Winter 2015 issue of New York Design Hunting, the solution involves splitting the street-facing and yard-facing volumes of the house into separate apartments, with the concrete-finished basement serving as the third residence. Though separated for the most part, the three dwellings do share some staircases and a large common space leading out to the backyard and garden.
↑ Washington, D.C.—This 1750s Georgian mansion has proudly claimed the title of "D.C.'s oldest home," for quite some while now, and for a long time, its interiors were entirely outfitted in period decor to match. But now, the home's owner has taken the historical manor in a new direction, tasking interior designer Mariette Himes Gomez with making the house feel more like a home than a museum. Her approach? Polishing the space's original floors and "exquisitely detailed walls," and filling the residence with antiques, reproductions, as well as a few understated, contemporary pieces.
↑ Milan, Italy— The Milan apartment of Tuscan-born decorator Emiliano Slaci looks straight up like an oil painting—that is, it's doused in the ripest of colors and the most perfectly vintage of furnishings. This translated description in AD France is quite apt: "The walls are dense and velvety colors. It was daring, but daylight floats between them and splashes it all." The home came together after Salci moved in and restored the home's original shutters, doors, and moldings, and getting rid of its false ceiling and thick layers of paint.
↑ Istanbul, Turkey— The Macar Feyzullah Pasha—a restored "hunting pavilion" built in the 1850s—has a reputation for being "the most beautiful home in Istanbul" and its recent spotlight in Town & Country is fantastic proof. Lovingly restored by Turkish designer Serdar Gülgün, the glamorous home is furnished almost completely in antique pieces like red lacquer altar tables, massive porcelain urns, and expansive ornate carpeting. Other highlights include Chinese ancestral portraits, a life-sized, crown-wearing taxidermy lion, and the jewel-toned, hand-painted fresco ceilings.
↑ San Diego, CA— La Esquina, a complex of eight micro-dwellings built by architect and professor Hector Perez in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego is a little bit of Le Corbusier-meets-Cesar Chavez. The units have plywood paneling, ladders leading up to sleep and work lofts, hanging planters, concrete walls, and at least one 3D mural of Cesar Chavez. Built at just $130 per square foot, the altogether 4,000-square-foot project is also a promising new model for small living.
↑ Nantucket, MA— Though facing strict building codes, architectural designer Simon Jacobsen still managed to build a dozen ultra mod Nantucket homes that definitely break from the mold. While the structures pays homage to the quintessential shingled cottage in exterior form, inside they're all stark white and modern, with 26-foot high ceilings and sparse furnishing. What it doesn't skimp on is Mies van der Rohe, a few chairs and a daybed by the modernist master lounge about freely.
↑ New York City—The art deco-styled NYC apartment of cosmetics legend Terry de Gunzburg puts art above all else, as each room was designed to compliment an impressive art collection that includes pieces by Damien Hirst, Jason Martin, Richard Serra, and Francis Bacon. For that reason, most of the decor tends to manifest in a palette of burnt orange, plum, turquoise, navy blue, and lime green, picking up tones in the largest paintings. This, as W Magazine calls it, is the "visual equivalent of perfect pitch."