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Pocket Neighborhood Home Designs That Marry Privacy With Community Connection

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House Review

Pocket Neighborhood Home Designs That Marry Privacy With Community Connection

Pedestrian-friendly and compact, these home designs for pocket neighborhoods stay true to the pocket concept


By Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD House Review Lead Designer December 1, 2020
Dahlin Group's Miraval II interior living space looking out to outdoor living area in pocket neighborhood
Interior living space at Residence 2x at Miraval II designed by Dahlin Group. Scroll down to see more about the project. | Photo: courtesy Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning

While “pocket neighborhoods” are traditionally composed of smaller homes on narrow lots overlooking a common green space, the essence of these planned developments is that they promote a sense of neighborliness and community while still maintaining a level of privacy and security for each resident. Automobiles are sometimes relegated to secondary locations along rear lanes or designated parking areas allowing residents to walk through courtyards and visit with their neighbors as they travel to their front door. 

As with any project, attention must be paid to the opportunities and limitations of each site. The following concepts range from three-story detached cottages with water access and magnificent views to attached and rather modern rowhouses. Each takes advantage of its location, and all maintain the pedestrian-friendly nature and small size essential to any pocket neighborhood. 

As always, we welcome your comments and questions.


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Sunset Inlet

ARCHITECT: Donald F. Evans, AIA, The Evans Group, [email protected], 407.650.8770

DIMENSIONS: Width: 25 feet; Depth: 47 feet, 6 inches; Living area: 1,825 sf – 2,902 sf

Florida’s Sunset Inlet was built on an old condominium site from the 2008 downturn and rethought as a one-of-a-kind community of very special two- and three-story single-family homes. 

The enclave community is perfectly sited between the river and the ocean, with 31 homes on sites originally designed as boat slips. With that, the siting allows for an optional pool behind each home. 

Buyers of the three-story homes also have the option of locating the main living area or the bedrooms on the third floor to take advantage of the views afforded by the design.

Site plan for Sunset Inlet, designed by The Evans Group

 

A. Site plan and location (above)

B. Front and rear streetscape elevations (below)

Home elevations for Sunset Inlet, designed by The Evans Group

 

Residence 2x at Miraval II

ARCHITECT: Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning, [email protected], 925.251.7200

DIMENSIONS: Width: 52 feet; Depth: 117 feet; Living areas: 3,519 sf

Located on a small infill lot in the Mesa Verde neighborhood of Costa Mesa, Calif., in Orange County, Miraval II is an enclave of 11 homes. Expanding upon the hugely successful first release of the concept, Miraval, an enclave of 10 homes, Miraval II offers bigger homes on bigger lots and a floor plan with a primary suite down. This arrangement allows for a smaller second floor and a 14-foot ceiling in the great room. 

Both enclaves are inspired by mid-century modern design, featuring a transitional take on the style, with a second floor as well as quality materials to add to the unique look. 

Site plan for the residence 2x at Miraval II designed by Dahlin Group

 

The result blends well into the historical Mesa Verde neighborhood, which is characterized by a dense, suburban feel and vibrant recreational options, including several bars, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and a spectacular country club. 

Floor plan for the residence 2x at Miraval II designed by Dahlin Group

 

A. Floating staircase with open treads

B. An open floor plan extends indoor/outdoor livability

C. The absence of rooms directly above the great room allows clerestory windows for additional natural light

D. Generous primary suite on the first floor

 

Elevation for the residence 2x at Miraval II designed by Dahlin Group

 

The Cottages at Santa Fe

DESIGNER: Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, [email protected], 254.205.2597, larrygarnettdesigns.com

DIMENSIONS: Width: 31 feet; Depth: 79 feet, 8 inches; Living areas: 1,600 sf

 

Elevations for The Cottages at Santa Fe designed by Larry Garnett

Located in an expanding suburban area, this 4.15-acre site provides an ideal location for a pocket neighborhood targeted for the 55+ market that wants to downsize both living space and maintenance. 

All of these single-story designs offer two bedrooms, two baths, and a study or workspace alcove. Garages are strategically placed along a rear lane so that all autos must be inside the garage or in the single open parking space. 

A walking trail intersects the 5-foot-wide sidewalks as it meanders through the common courtyards and residents’ park.

Site plan for The Cottages at Santa Fe designed by Larry Garnett

 

A. Lots 1 through 8 face the 22-foot-wide street with inset parking and a 5-foot sidewalk

B. Lots 9 through 20 face common courtyards

C. Walking trail

D. Living, dining, and kitchen face a private side yard

E. Study offers a secluded work space with views to the covered porch and yard

F. All homes have two-car garages and an extra parking space accessed from a 15-foot-wide rear lane

 

Floor plan for The Cottages at Santa Fe designed by Larry Garnett

 

Three-Story Townhomes 

ARCHITECT: Kevin L. Crook Architect, Kevin Crook, [email protected], 949.660.1587

DIMENSIONS: Width: 120 feet; Depth: 50 feet; Living area: 1,540 sf – 1,825 sf

This pocket neighborhood bridges commercial and residential neighborhoods, with a park to create a transition between the old and new. The connecting street bisects the site providing a link between a local street and a collector road.

Contemporary-style elevations create a street scene that adds variety and value to this neighborhood. Homes front the collector road with porches, entry stoops, and private decks above to engage the street, enhancing safety by providing “eyes on the street” while other homes front green courts. Head-in guest parking is provided on the connecting street and internally. 

All of the townhomes feature three bedrooms and a fourth optional bedroom, with some offering a bonus room/home office/bedroom (with bath) on the first level. 

Second floors consist of a private deck, great room, kitchen, and a bedroom with an en suite bath. Third floors are composed of bedrooms, baths, and laundry. Each resident has a two-car tandem garage.

Exterior of three-story townhomes designed by Kevin L. Crook Architect

 

 

Floor plans for Kevin L. Crook Architect's three-story townhomes

Floor Plans

A. Plan A

B. Plan B

C. Plan C

D. Plan D

Site plan for Kevin L. Crook Architect's three-story townhomes

Site Plan

E. Connecting street

F. Local street

G. Collector street

H. Neighborhood park

I. Townhomes facing the street

J. Townhomes facing the green court

K. Green court

L. Guest parking

 

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