best ofInteriors

15 Spaces with Stunning Architectural Features

by Lauren Chorpening

I’m glad to see that there is a revival happening in newer, custom-built homes to bring more character and personality into the living spaces. The bare-bones, builder-grade standard that the U.S. has adapted over the last 50 years is lacking in areas where there could instead be something special.

Moldings, decorative ceilings, arching doorways, unique fireplaces and other architectural touches give hints about when the home was built, what style or designer influenced it, and even the person who first lived there. A Spanish home from the 1920s, for instance, will probably include rounded doorways and fireplaces in stucco, and a neoclassical house might have columns in the great room. These design elements that tell a home’s story are beautiful, stately and anything but boring — and we can’t get enough of them. Click through the gallery to find 15 homes that understand this concept: design is in the details. –Lauren


15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Julia Sherman's 1890s Brooklyn townhouse was brought back to life by removing moldy carpet, fallen ceilings and black mold. It has been returned to its original grandeur. The crown molding, arched doorway and thick trim gave Julia hope that it could be done.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Amelia and Peter's downtown Chicago condo is outfitted with tons of elegantly placed wall moldings. Amelia's love for trying out new decor ideas and colors is given the sophisticated backdrop of the home's architectural features.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
This Israeli hotel's attention to architectural and artistic details is almost too much to absorb. The Efendi Hotel was an abandoned building rescued from decay and turned into this masterpiece in 2001. The structural features are highlighted by colorful added details and the decision to keep some of the fixtures white-on-white.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Morgane's Parisan home is decorated in a relaxed and personal way. The French elements in the space are jaw-dropping. The ceiling, mirror, molding and fireplace are each showstoppers on their own. Morgane's casual style creates a lovely juxtaposition with the ornate decoration of the structure.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Melissa and Keye's bold Brooklyn Brownstone was restored from potential hazard to rich and welcoming. "There were phone calls from the crew every other day about some unforeseen issues inside of this over 100-year-old house," Melissa says. "Roof leaks, unexpected load-bearing walls, electrical that was not up-to-code, the kind of renovation horror stories that we all have seen on TV — you name it and we had it." Melissa's use of color in her office is enhanced by the original carpentry in the space.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
The intricate stone detail in Gauri Nanda's home is breathtaking. The serene and minimal color palette allows the painted woodwork and carved stone to shine.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
An 1800s Baltimore church has been transformed into a doctor's office, public housing and now into Andre and Chris' condo building. The picture moldings and antique floors have kept the building true to its era throughout the art deco and mid-century renovations.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
A 1920s historic building is now home to 27 hotel rooms at Philly's ROOST Apartment Hotel. The decorative ceilings, art deco details and grand entryway make it easy to keep that 1920s feel in an updated hotel.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Spanish-style architecture in this Hollywood home gives a warm, playful personality to every room. The rounded details on the fireplace, cut-outs and doorways reflect hundreds of years of architectural design in Spain.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Art deco picture moldings in this bedroom are enhanced by DIY removable fabric wallpaper.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Tile details on the fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and a picture rail in this Bristol, UK living room leave the space full of interest, depth and beauty.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Nina Gotlieb's country home was inspired by New York barns. She wanted her home to be open and modern, but without the feeling that everything was brand new. Exposed wooden beams and pitched ceilings give this newer home tons of character and charm.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Hidden fireplaces and stained glass windows were uncovered in Siobhan and Jamie's 1850s Dublin home when they started renovating.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Architectural details can be done in a modern way. This coastal Spanish home plays with linear details throughout in an interesting and sleek style.
15 Space with Stunning Architectural Features | Design*Sponge
Hotel Nord Pinus-Tanger in Morocco is a wonderful display of Moroccan classic architecture. Keyhole doorways, carved stone and tiled walls make for a stunning atmosphere to enjoy while traveling in Northern Africa.

Suggested For You


  • #5 is such a great work space. I love the crown molding and window details in 3,4,8 and 13. The tie dye wall is so fresh as well.
    -Hal @ madcapprince.com

  • Hi I looked for a different place to make this comment in the contact section and did not find one. I just wanted to say that I have been coming to Designsponge less and less, to the point that I practically am never here. I am so sad to say this because design sponge was my first and always has been my very favorite blog on the internet! I have always loved it and still do except for one thing which is the one reason I dont come. Since you made your major change in design it is very slow. I know I have slightly slower than average connection speed and maybe it is not a problem for anyone else, but for me as much as I have tried to come here in spite of the issue I am now almost never stopping by. It is so sad for me. I dont know if anyone else has this issue, but I realized I did not want to just disappear without saying why. Please feel free to remove this post, I know it isnt really the right place for it.
    take care!

    • Bobbie

      I’m sorry you’re having that problem- that shouldn’t be happening. Our load time is actually the fastest it’s ever been. My hunch is that there’s a local browser issue or perhaps an ad blocking or loading problem. Could you tell me what browser you’re viewing on and what version- and what your load time is for the main page? All our tests indicate less than 3 seconds for the full site on even the older versions of most browsers.


Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.