It's one thing to take an off-the-shelf floor plan and plug it into “Anywhere, U.S.A.” It's quite another to walk a parcel of land, take in the topography, vegetation, wildlife, and weather and then craft a unique dwelling for a singular spot.

With the migration of Tuscans to the tropics and Tudors to Texas, some have wondered aloud whether regional architecture has gone by the wayside. But if the four custom homes on the following pages are any indication, the practice is still alive and well. Incorporating local building materials and devoutly site-sensitive design, each home feels like a natural outgrowth of the soil on which it rests—be it Carolina marsh, arid wine country, the Pacific coastline, or a mountain meadow at the foot of the Rockies.

Despite their wildly diverse forms, these exceptional homes do share one thing in common: In every case, the living experience is just as much about what's happening outside the house as what's on the inside.

Mountain Majesty Stepping Stones River Dance Surf-and-Sky Sandwich