The House Out Back
A Seattle backyard cottage demonstrates lessons in smart small-home design.
Synopsis: When the city of Seattle passed an ordinance allowing the construction of detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs), architect Tim Hammer’s project went from renovating a backyard shed to replacing it with a 550-sq.-ft. cottage that not only met his clients wish for an art studio, a place to play music, and a location for working on bicycles, but also provides a potential rental space. In this article, Hammer discusses four ways for making the most of a small space that he used in designing this cottage: (1) using an open floor plan, (2) providing abundant natural light, (3) devoting extra room to areas that can enhance comfort and joy, and (4) proving outdoor access.
When Kate initially contacted me, her property consisted of a large lot with a 650-sq.-ft. one-bedroom home and a dilapidated shed in the backyard. The home was a bit on the small side for the lot, for…