Lean Design Blog: A skinny plan based on outdoor living

March 7, 2012

For the second week in a row I am featuring a skinny plan. What gives? Well I suppose as spring is approaching I am thinking of my own skinny plan; to be able to fit into my summer clothes. The fact that my wife just bought one of those torturous infomercial workout things makes matters even more pressing. Shedding a few pounds for the summer is nothing special but today’s featured skinny plan is. Let’s take a closer look:

A. The Courtyard is the heart of the plan. The rooms are centered on this outdoor space allowing it to expand the functionality of the home. Entertainment, dining, and relaxing are the hallmarks of this outdoor room.

B. The Foyer explodes with light as it becomes a bridge between two outdoor spaces and creates a long view from the entrance.

C. The stairway is placed out of the visual line of the courtyard yet still receives ambient light from the space through high windows.

D. The Front facing Great Room takes advantage of the view unencumbered by pavement due to the alley garage entry.

E. An optional fireplace in the Master Suite positioned next to a bank of windows establishes focus on the courtyard wall.

F. The Private Study can expand to include a bath and a closet morphing into an in-law suite for multi-generational living.

G. The upstairs loft is a hangout for the children to study, relax and work on their I-Pads. The rooms are centered on this space eliminating the need for wasteful hallway space.

Well, I guess it’s time for me to strap into this new-aged Iron Maiden and get my own skinny plan on. Just remember when dealing with tight lots and rear entry Garages, outdoor space is critical. Get the jump on your competition by featuring an interior courtyard. The square footage for this indoor/outdoor room is inexpensive and the value it adds is immeasurable.



Todd Hallett, AIA, president of TK Design & Associates has been designing award-winning homes for more than 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of its homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was president of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. Todd welcomes your feedback at thallett@tkhomedesign.com or 248.446.1960.