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5 rad things architects built for their moms

The best kind of payback

We know architects can design some pretty awesome homes for themselves, but every so often, they also give back to the people who really gave them their starts: their mothers. Below, take a look at a handful of charming dwellings architects have designed for their moms, from dandy backyard shelters to a beachfront stunner and more.

Setting the bar high for architectural gifts to mom, the Garden House by Amsterdam-based builder Caspar Schols was designed to fulfill all of his mother’s needs, including spaces to paint, meditate, and host dinner parties. In response, Schols designed a transforming cottage with two layers that can slide in and out to form an open pavilion, closed shelter, or something in between.

—Photos by Jorrit 't Hoen via Dezeen

Simply named “House for Mother,” this minimalist residence was designed from the ground up by architect Björn Förstberg, in collaboration with Mikael Ling, co-founder of their firm Förstberg Ling in Malmö, Sweden. The airy home is for Förstberg’s mother, Maria, a librarian and weaver, and features a cozy mix of exposed beams, tiling, and raw plywood. There is also a small greenhouse to the side.

—Photos by Markus Linderoth via Designboom

For his mother who loves art, architecture, and Thai gardens, Aussie architect Tim Angus completed glass box of a backyard addition. The extension, a striking contrast to the existing century-old Edwardian bungalow, offers 320 square feet of sleek living space with views and access to the garden.

—Photos by Ben Hosking via Dwell

Built in 1991 by Chilean architect Mathias Klotz for his mother, “Casa Klotz” in Chile’s Tongoy, north of Santiago, packs a lot of drama in a compact 1,000-square-foot design. At the center of the wooden beach house is a double-height living room with an entire wall of ocean views and direct access to the front deck.

—Photos by Roland Halbe via Dezeen

Finally, the most famous of the bunch has to be the iconic Vanna Venturi House, designed by American postmodernist Robert Venturi for his mother in the late ‘50s and completed in 1964. Considered the first postmodern building in the U.S., the three-bedroom home lingered on the market for almost a year before finally selling this past June for $1,325,000—$175,000 below the asking price.

—Photos courtesy Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty