It’s not a secret that I’m OBSESSED with interior design… and architecture and really any kind of design. It’s all art and it all makes me so happy. Also, unfortunately, not a secret (anymore) is the slightly embarrassing fact that I take in an average of 2-3 house tours a day online. I mean off-grid rainwater-collecting homesteads on YouTube, British celebrity-owned castle tours from Architectural Digest (for real, here’s a link) and my absolute favorite tiny spaces on Apartment Therapy. I’m not sure if my lifelong love of New York influenced my love of small homes or the other way around, but I live for a good studio apartment.
It’s not just the houses themselves that draw me to these tours. It’s also getting to know the people living in each space, taking a few minutes to daydream about the possibilities for my own home and pondering the millions of ways millions of people set up shop. Endlessly fascinating to me.
If you haven’t gotten on board with the virtual house tours yet, allow me to introduce you. I’m hoping to get more people as addicted as I am. So here are my top 5 favorite house tours out there (in no particular order).
1. Mandy Moore’s contemporary California dream home that’s just the right amount of girly
This house tour is the perfect fix for that wonderfully stereotypical actress’s-home-overlooking-the-Hollywood-hills vibe… except not in Hollywood and much more peaceful and welcoming. The decor is brought to you by the always lovely Sarah Sherman Samuel and the architectural design is by Emily Farnham. The colors are a blend of neutrals, gem tones, soft metallics and, yes, plenty of blush pink.
P.S. I adore the flowery blue and white dress Mandy is wearing in the video, all part of the fun of seeing people in their own homes showing their style in all the ways.
2. This so-brilliantly-named “Diamond in the Sky” playhouse from Apartment Therapy
In all the touring I’ve done - from my own apartment hunting, to Airbnb researching, to magazine flipping - the thing I look for in my home fantasies more than anything is crazy, weird, playful uniqueness. This place has it all for days. My #housegoals now begin and end with a glass cottage on the top of a West Village apartment building.
In typical New York style, my favorite part is how much of an afterthought the kitchen is! Tiny, tucked away and unnecessary when you have an endless supply of pizza around.
3. The chicest thing to happen to eclectic: this place Refinery29 co-founder Christene Barberich calls home
This apartment is everything that I dreamed living in New York would be when I was growing up. Stylish, artsy, colorful and oozing all the charm. The homes I ended up living in during my years in NYC were a little less chic and more eclectic (street finds and hand-me-down furniture), but I’d like to think the spirit of those places lived up to this Brooklyn pad.
Oh and RHOC Tamra leads the intro here which I happen to think is amazing and adds to the fun, but don’t let it scare you off if you’re not a Housewives fan! It’s well worth the somewhat cheesy beginning.
If you want to get your eyes on even more of Christene’s killer style, here’s another tour and a walk through her new nursery on Refinery29.com.
4. Molly Bernard’s perfectly “Millennial” pink Brooklyn nest
Playfully refined, it’s like a really happy child had the design vision and then a very calm and cool grown up made it happen. This sunny home is the epitome of a contemporary Brooklyn apartment. We all know Brooklyn has changed a ton over the years/decades and this home proves that evolution can be beautiful.
One of my favorite things here, which is also in Mandy Moore’s house, is the TV that’s framed in wood and looks like an art piece. No one loves television more than I do, but in those few hours of the day when it’s not streaming “Younger,” I want to see something just as pretty! Adding this TV to my wishlist right now.
5. And an Earthship…
Ok this is a long one, and I’ll warn you it’s not really an omg-that-sofa-is-so cute-wonder-where-it’s-from kind of house tour like the other stunners. But I find just as much beauty in simplicity, efficiency and clever design. This video actually takes you on a tour of a few different homes all designed with Earthship specifications, which are basically guidelines for a sustainable, self-sufficient home. I love how connected to nature these places are, in fact they can’t exist without it.
It’s on Kirsten Dirksen’s channel, which I have lost myself in so many times. She is the queen of unique, alternative homes in all shapes and sizes. There is so much to see, from teeny Parisian apartments to pre-fab modern boxes in the woods and a million things in between.
One day soon I’d love to borrow these ideas, take all the practical, sustainable parts, but make them into a beautiful contemporary home. I hope to see more overlap in aesthetically-pleasing design and eco/ethical-friendliness. When I have it all together, you’ll be the first to take a tour of my own Earthship.
I need to keep feeding this addiction, so what are your favorite house tours? Videos, blog posts, magazines, let me know about them all! Share your finds in the comments.