Photo by: Grey Crawford
The green-house effect is everywhere these days. You just can’t escape the news about how important it is to save energy with efficient appliances and ample insulation—and that’s a good thing. But the simplest, most effective way to reduce a home’s energy usage in the long run is to reduce its size from the outset. A shrinking energy bill is just for starters: The need for fewer building materials, less land, and less maintenance is a significant by-product of building smaller houses.
More and more of my clients ask whether a small house can work for them. They’re concerned that it won’t have enough room for family and friends on holiday visits or that it just will seem cramped. The reality is that a small house doesn’t have to appear or feel small. With thoughtful design techniques, a small house can be made to seem larger and more gracious than its actual dimensions.
On these pages are ten guidelines that can be used to expand the perceived size of a small house. They comprise an overall approach that will yield a house that is both practical and excellent. To be successful, a small house also should be straightforward, composed of simple architectural forms and construction techniques, quality materials, and careful detailing. Quality feels better than quantity, while spirit and personality bring a house to life.