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10 minimalist houses to help you scale back this fall

Photo courtesy of Chad Holder

Scaling back is trendy right now. Tiny homes are taking over house-hunting TV shows, and books about minimalist living are making the book club rounds.

But did you know homes designed for simple living can come with more than 400 square feet?

In architecture, minimalism is design completely free of embellishment or adornment. Minimalist buildings are designed to efficiently perform a function -- like create living space -- without any additional distractions getting in the way.

They often have simple color schemes (lots of crisp, white walls), clean lines and plenty of windows to let in natural light. The materials are often equally basic: Think exposed concrete, wooden doors and floors and the occasional metal panel for a change in texture.

So if it's time to take a breath and pare down to the essentials, click ahead for 10 minimalist houses that might make Marie Kondo jealous.

Lake Lugano House in Brusino Arsizio, Switzerland

Photo courtesy of JM Architecture

This two-level home designed by JM Architecture features a glass-encased upper floor with a living room, bathroom, dining room, kitchen and storage area, according to the architects' website. The lower level, which is built into a hill, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage.

Lake Lugano House in Brusino Arsizio, Switzerland

Photo courtesy of JM Architecture

The design minimizes the home's ecological footprint through the use of geothermal energy, roof gardens, a rainwater collection system and energy-efficient glass.

Hampden Lane House in Bethesda, Maryland

Photo courtesy of Maxwell MacKenzie

This 2,200-square-foot house near Washington, D.C., was built to take up as little space in its lot as possible, according to the architects' website. The two-story home also has a finished basement and roof deck to add extra living space without enlarging its footprint.

Hampden Lane House in Bethesda, Maryland

Photo courtesy of Maxwell MacKenzie

The home was designed by the office of architect Robert Gurney and has four bedrooms, three half and three full bathrooms and an outdoor patio.

Port Ludlow Residence in Port Ludlow, Washington

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider

This 2,400-square-foot home overlooking the Hood Canal was designed by Finne Architects. The two-story home has 12-foot glass walls and sliding glass doors opening onto a raised deck.

Port Ludlow Residence in Port Ludlow, Washington

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider

It has a fireplace and his-and-hers offices. According to the architects' website, it was built with sustainable "green" materials like recycled steel siding and designed to be as energy-efficient as possible.

Riverhouse in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Photo courtesy of Tom Arban

This three-bedroom home designed by the Zerafa Architecture Studio is located along the Niagara River upstream from Horseshoe Falls. The building's wide expanses of glass and double-height living room are designed for residents to enjoy the river view on one side and garden views on the other.

Riverhouse in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Photo courtesy of Tom Arban

It has a swimming pool, office, garages for three cars and a boat and a 1,200-square-foot covered terrace.

Villa J2 in Falsterbo, Sweden

Photo courtesy of Åke E:son Lindman

This bright white home was designed by Jonas Lindvall. It has three bedrooms along a long hallway and wooden doors that add warmth and color to the white walls.

Villa J2 in Falsterbo, Sweden

Photo courtesy of Åke E:son Lindman

It has a spiral staircase leading to an upstairs library, study and outdoor terrace. It also has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Sosnowski Residence in Tempe, Arizona

Photo courtesy of Chen+Suchart Studio

This 3,427-square-foot home is built around a courtyard with a swimming pool and features an exterior made of cement bricks, glass and wood and metal panels. The lower level contains the kitchen, living areas and guest rooms, while the second floor houses the master suite. It was designed by the Chen + Suchart Studio.

Sosnowski Residence in Tempe, Arizona

Photo courtesy of Chen+Suchart Studio

The home was built in 2006 and has a koi garden, a balcony overlooking the courtyard and 30-foot glass doors, which draw the residents outdoors, according to Arch Daily.

Shakin’ Steven’s House in Melbourne, Australia

Photo courtesy of Shannon McGrath

Think all minimalist houses have to be black and white? Think again. Architect Matt Gibson's lime green accents start with this home's front door and continue throughout the approximately 2,153-square-foot property, popping up on the walls and in the tile work.

Shakin’ Steven’s House in Melbourne, Australia

Photo courtesy of Shannon McGrath

The home was built in 2010 as an addition to an existing Victorian cottage. Inside, the home is fully modern and minimal, contrasting with the decorative front facade. It has three bedrooms, a study and an open courtyard area off the living room that can be closed off with glass walls or opened up to the rest of the house.

Dual House in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel

Photo courtesy of Amit Geron

This home is actually a duplex built for two families of close friends, according to information from Axelrod Architects and Pitsou Kedem Artchitects on Arch Daily. The homes have different floor plans, one with one bedroom and the other with three. Both have their own attached two-car garage.

Dual House in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel

Photo courtesy of Amit Geron

The exterior of the property is made of concrete and glass, with bright white interiors, open floorplans and wood floors.

Reydon Grove Farm in Suffolk, England

Photo courtesy of Norm Architects

Many people envision minimalism as a trend for urban environments, but this rural home is located on the edge of a working farm. It was built earlier this year by Norm Architects on a stone platform. Sliding wooden shutters offer residents the option to cover the home's numerous windows for more privacy.

Reydon Grove Farm in Suffolk, England

Photo courtesy of Norm Architects

It has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a wood-burning stove.

Sweeney Lake House in Golden Valley, Minnesota

Photo courtesy of Chad Holder

This 4,500-square-foot home overlooking Minnesota's Sweeney Lake was designed by CityDeskStudio. It has walls of glass on the lake-facing side with sliding doors opening onto a patio.

Sweeney Lake House in Golden Valley, Minnesota

Photo courtesy of Chad Holder

The walls on the upper level are all white, while the lower level has exposed concrete walls. The home has three bedrooms and four bathrooms.

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