Privacy and Light on a Small Lot
With a durable exterior and a surprising daylit interior, this neighborhood home remains private even as its walls fold open onto a neat courtyard.
Synopsis: This small lot offers a lot. Architect David Hall managed to design a daylit house, a two-car garage, a woodshop, and an outdoor room on this 75-ft. by 100-ft. site in Anacortes, Wash. Privacy is virtually guaranteed, thanks to the seclusion offered by a courtyard surrounded by outbuildings. The house, meanwhile, has walls of windows that open onto the yard. It pulls in more light through a 22-ft.-long ridge-top skylight, which illuminates the home’s oval core. That’s where the kitchen and baths are located, letting the rooms that most benefit from natural light to hug the exterior walls.
When Sue Mason and Richard Roth decided to leave Anchorage and move south to the Lower 48 for their retirement years, they didn’t stray far from the sea. Experienced mariners, they decided to build a home on a vacant lot they owned in Anacortes, Wash., gateway to the San Juan Islands. Minutes from Puget Sound, the 75-ft. by 100-ft. lot is tucked into an established neighborhood. After living on boats, Sue and Richard were accustomed to getting maximum use out of every available bit of space. That’s exactly what we would have to do to squeeze a sunlit house, a two-car garage, a woodshop, and an outdoor room onto this small lot.
Like the proverbial ring of wagons creating a protected zone at its center, the house, the shop, and the garage encircle the yard. The house fronts the street, while the two-car garage and the 600-sq.-ft. woodshop border the back of the lot, accessed by an alley. In between lies a sheltered courtyard. On sunny days, Sue and Richard swing open the folding doors in the dining and living areas to mingle house and yard. A fountain plays water music to muffle neighborhood sounds.