Best Small Home 2018 Photo Gallery
Lessons from a small home: Design solutions for simpler living on a small lot.
Located about a block from a popular street packed with restaurants and shopping, this 0.2-acre lot had plenty of close neighbors and road traffic. The owners wanted to build a 500-sq.-ft. home, leaving enough land for gardens and chickens. The bank required them to upsize their plans so they could get a loan. Duncan McPherson and Margaret Chandler of Samsel Architects tweaked the footprint and raised the roofline to add a habitable loft, bringing the house to 816 sq. ft.
After a small flat spot next to the road, the property slopes steeply before flattening out again and backing into a treeline along a stream. The slope provided some challenges for construction, but by locating the house at the bottom of the hill, the architects used the contours of the land to provide a natural privacy buffer for the yard and home. With the slope screening the house from the street, the wall of windows in the dining area flood the space with natural light without compromising privacy. Locating the living space and screen porch at the back of the home accentuates the sense of solitude.
To make the most of the small space, the architects designed one room to serve multiple functions. The laundry, bathroom, additional storage, and a hot water heater share a space that also serves as a back entry and mud room.
Outside, the architects terraced the slope to accommodate the gardens the owners wanted, leaving the remaining flat portion of the land for play and other activities. A 200-sq.-ft. screened porch located at the back of the house opens into the yard, and allows the house to “live larger” during warmer seasons.
For the design of this home, Duncan McPherson and Margaret Chandler of Samsel Architects received our 2018 Best Small Home Award. Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the house and the read the full article in FHB #275 for more.
All after photos by Todd Crawford, courtesy of Samsel Architects.
Please click the Launch Gallery button below to see a slideshow of photos from this home.
This shot from Google Street View shows what the property looked like before construction began. There’s scant flat terrain to work with, and a dramatic slope, as well as an ephemeral stream running along the back of the property.
Terracing gardens into the existing slope and locating parking above the house adjacent to the street helped to maximize the usability and privacy of the lot’s rear, flat area. A second entryway, facing the street, opens into a combined bathroom, laundry, utility and mud room—a solution that left more space for the living area and bedroom.
A highly functional kitchen was a must-have for the owners, who do most of their own cooking and like to entertain. The ceiling follows the line of the shed roof, making the living space feel large and airy, while providing plenty of wall space for windows to brighten the home and enhance its connection to the outdoors.
The screen porch connects to the home’s living area, allowing the home to live larger at least three seasons of the year. The porch and the relatively unobstructed views through it give the house a strong connection to the outside space, and the porch’s location at the back of the home provides privacy for the space.
Locating the house at the bottom of the property’s steep slope provided a natural privacy buffer, allowing this large window wall to transmit plenty of natural light into the living area without compromising privacy on the urban lot.
A simple form and earthy pallete give the home a modern aesthetic that meshes with its surroundings, and fiber-cement siding and a metal roof add durability. Ample windows and a screen porch help connect the indoor space to the outdoors, making the home feel larger. Locating the house at the bottom of the existing slope provides a natural privacy screen from the urban street.