Details, details. Beautiful, creative, well-executed details can mean the difference between a pleasant project and a showstopper. They hold the power to make a houseguest forever remember the room where she slept, or a car slow down as it drives by a building, or a design awards judge develop instant respect for an architect he's never met.

Not every exceptional detail calls out for attention—in fact, many of the best ones are so subtle, few people consciously register them. But their effects on a space are profound. We at residential architect think the details on the following pages deserve a close look—and perhaps the ultimate compliment of emulation or adaptation. They're clever, practical, finely crafted, and, in some cases, even gorgeous. They elevate each project they inhabit. They put the heart and art in architecture.