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A Small, Spacious House for a Skinny City Lot

A contest-winning design squeezes a vaulted living room, a master suite, and room to breathe onto a pencil-thin lot

In many cities, narrow lots end up being unused space. Portland, Ore., decided to turn that problem into a challenge by holding a design competition for "skinny" lots (25 ft. wide by 100 ft. deep). Roxana Vargas-Greenan and Trent Greenan of Vargas Greenan Architecture-Civic Design submitted an entry that went on to win a People's Choice Award and was one of two designs the city chose to make available as permit-ready plans. The 1500-sq.-ft., two-story house uses shear-wall panels to allow an open interior, and the design elements reflect the architectural traditions of Portland. A low floor-to-window ratio and high R-values allowed the house to earn certification from Earth Advantage, the local green-building authority.

A Small, Spacious House for a Skinny City Lot

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