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Best Small Home: A Garden Cottage for Low-Impact Living

This 800-sq.-ft. infill home was designed for its site and its owners’ lifestyle

After living in a 600-sq.-ft.remodeled chicken coop on their 2.1-acre property in Eugene, Ore., for 28 years, Julie and Rob were ready for a change. Because the property also contained a 1920s bungalow, Julie and Rob's new home would still need to be small to comply with local regulations for secondary dwelling units. The 800-sq.-ft. house that architect Nir Pearlson designed for them nevertheless has long sightlines and open spaces that make the public areas seem bigger. Decks and porches don't count toward the size limit, so Pearlson included a covered porch and a large deck that provides access to Julie and Rob's extensive vegetable and ornamental gardens. Windows, clerestories, skylights, and three exterior glazed doors bring in lots of daylight. Low-sloped shed roofs with generous overhangs provide shade in the summer and accommodate two solar arrays. Rigid foam on the walls and roof insulates well beyond code levels, and heat is provided by a minisplit heat pump and a woodstove. These and other strategies earned the house Earth Advantage Platinum certification from an Oregon-based third-party program. For its shared spaces and connections to the outdoors that make it seem larger than its physical boundaries, this garden cottage is FHB's best small home for 2013.

See more award-winning homes from the 2013 HOUSES Awards.

Best Small Home: A Garden Cottage for Low-Impact Living

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