Apple TV+ series ‘Home’ takes us inside creative dwellings worldwide

Now that’s living: The highly original houses include Theaster Gates’ properties in Chicago as well as sites in Sweden, California and elsewhere.

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One “Home” episode goes to Sweden to visit a Naturhus, a house encased in a greenhouse to embrace nature.

Apple TV+

From Bali to Sweden, from Malibu to Chicago, these are Quarantine Palaces.

Not that any of the beautifully strange or stunningly original dwellings in the Apple TV+ docuseries “Home” were specifically designed for homebound living, but as we’re introduced to one creative visionary after another and we see the amazing living quarters they’ve designed and/or occupy, we can’t but help but think about what it must be like riding out a quarantine in any one of these places. (Answer: about as awesome as isolated living can be.)

‘Home’

Untitled

Nine episodes streaming now on Apple TV+

The nine, roughly half-hour episodes focus on visionaries in Hong Kong, Maine, India, Austin and Mexico, in addition to the four previously mentioned locales. In the premiere, we’re transported to the wondrous Naturhus, which looks like something you’d see in a futuristic sci-fi movie. A relatively modest-looking and normal home is encased in a gleaming glass greenhouse — a self-contained ecological system alive with all sorts of flora that wouldn’t stand a chance in Sweden’s winters.

“It’s like having Italy outside the house,” says Anders Solvarm, who along with his wife Natalie and their children has lived in the house for more than a decade. “Sometimes when you build a house you push nature away, but this house embraces and welcomes nature.” Cut to one of the Solvarm kids opening his bedroom window and plucking an instant snack of grapes from a vine.

At night, this Naturhus (one of hundreds of similarly designed homes across the globe) gleams with warm light and looks like something out of a dream. As one family member puts it, “It’s a strange perfect bubble.”

From the sublime to the magically ridiculous, we go to Xanabu Ranch, a sprawling property featuring a jarringly colorful structure with bright red pagodas jutting out from the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains. The eclectic, surfer-hippie and wildly talented architect and Xanabu owner David Hertz has designed a number of iconic homes; among his more famous creations is the “Californication” house from the Showtime series of the same name, which Hertz designed (and lived in) in 1995 as a laboratory of sorts for innovative living, with natural ventilation, natural light, recycled and reclaimed materials and solar energy. Hertz and his wife Laura Doss-Hertz have undertaken a massive refurbishment and repurposing of the Xanabu Ranch, which was once owned by Tony Duquette, a Hollywood set and costume designer and artist who filled the property with found-object art from the sets of movie such as “Kismet,” “The King and I” and “Anna and the King of Siam.”

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The Chicago episode of “Home” focuses on the South Side properties of Theaster Gates.

Apple TV+

The Chicago episode of “Home” shines a well-deserved spotlight on Theaster Gates, a professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago and a brilliant installation artist who does amazing things with tar, wood and glass. Gates bought a bungalow near 69th and Dorchester when property values were low and says, “I was investing in my life, I was investing in my block. … When people [talk about the] South Side of Chicago as a violent place, a place with no beauty … I’m constantly seeing beauty.”

Gates eventually bought the building next door and other places in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. He transformed one into “The Listening House,” an open, two-story structure with bookshelves lining the walls, Another became “The Archive House,” where Gates hosted art exhibitions and pop-up dining parties and became what he called a “cultural producer,” nurturing the growth of art, music, film and other forms of creative expression in the neighborhood. A third became “Black Cinema House,” which Gates described as “an oasis in the middle of the block” offering emerging filmmakers a place to screen their work.

“My buildings constitute a love investment,” says Gates, and it’s clear the investment is paying off.

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