Best Small Home 2018: Small House Has It All
A little house on an urban infill lot leaves room for gardens and play, and lives larger than its diminutive footprint.
When new clients Dave and Ali approached us to design a tiny house on an awkward, urban infill lot, we were excited by the challenge, but skeptical that the project would make it past the conceptual stage. They had a tight budget and a 0.2-acre parcel, which sloped steeply away from the street, and wanted to build a 500-sq.-ft. house, leaving some land for a miniature farm. After meeting Dave and Ali, we could tell they were serious and wanted professional help to create an efficient floor plan and make the most of their tricky lot.
They wanted the home to reflect their values of a simple life with less stuff, but realized the need to balance these things against the practicalities of modern living: laundry machines, computers, a TV, and ameneties for entertaining friends. Their home life centered on cooking great meals, gardening, and raising chickens, and a fully functional kitchen was a must-have. Their larger design goals included lots of outdoor living space and daylight, as well as privacy.
The house’s placement on the lot was critical to meeting these goals. The land is in an up-and-coming neighborhood, one block away from shops and restaurants, and came with its own set of challenges: car traffic, a steep dropoff from the road, a small buildable area, and a perennial creek at the rear. We quickly realized that the parking needed to stay tight to the street to minimize the cost of a driveway and to conserve land for other uses. Siting the house on the low portion of the lot partially screens it from the street, and creates intimate spaces for the screened porch and yard. A simple shed roof that opens up toward the road makes room for windows that bring in natural light from that side…