Best Small Home 2018: Small House Has It All
A little house on an urban infill lot leaves room for gardens and play, and lives larger than its diminutive footprint.
Synopsis: The 2018 Best Small Home Award goes to Duncan McPherson and Margaret Chandler of Samsel Architects for designing a 816-sq.-ft. home that makes sensible use of a difficult lot. The 0.2-acre property slopes steeply away from the street, so the house was sited on the low portion of the lot to create intimate spaces for the screened porch and yard, with a simple shed roof that opens up toward the road. Because the lender was loathe to back a 500-sq.-ft. house, the homeowners upsized their plans and included a loft accessed by ladder. The article includes eight design lessons from a small house, including the use of storage solutions, durable materials, light, and bonus spaces.
When new clients Dave and Ali approached us to design a tiny house on an awkward, urban infill lot, we were excited by the challenge, but skeptical that the project would make it past the conceptual stage. They had a tight budget and a 0.2-acre parcel, which sloped steeply away from the street, and wanted to build a 500-sq.-ft. house, leaving some land for a miniature farm. After meeting Dave and Ali, we could tell they were serious and wanted professional help to create an efficient floor plan and make the most of their tricky lot.
They wanted the home to reflect their values of a simple life with less stuff, but realized the need to balance these things against the practicalities of modern living: laundry machines, computers, a TV, and amenities for entertaining friends. Their home life centered on cooking great meals, gardening, and raising chickens, and a fully functional kitchen was a must-have. Their larger design goals included lots of outdoor living space and daylight, as well as privacy.
The house’s placement on the lot was critical to meeting these…