Professional Builder’s House Review design team balances openness with privacy in its small-home ideas.
Although the average home size has fluctuated recently, the demand for smaller homes continues to grow in many markets. Reducing square footage while maintaining a high level of design becomes a challenge for both architects and builders. As you’ll see in the following examples from our House Review team, creating interior spaces that open to one another and establish a direct relationship to outdoor living and entertaining areas are two of the design techniques often utilized. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, a smaller home must carefully balance the sense of openness without sacrificing private getaway spaces.
DesignerLarry W. Garnett, FAIBD254.897.3518Plan sizeMain house living area: 1,543 sfGuest quarters: 340 sfTotal living area: 1,883 sf
The demand for two-bedroom designs appears to be increasing, perhaps due to record numbers of single women buying homes and Baby Boomers interested in downsizing. Even though many of these buyers will forego an extra bedroom, they are not willing to compromise on other areas of the home. Kitchens, master baths, and outdoor living spaces are expected to be just as grand as much larger homes.
ArchitectDonald F. Evans, AIAThe Evans Group407.650.8770Plan sizeTotal size: 1,396 sfWidth: 30 feetDepth: 75 feet
This quaint lane-oriented, Courtyard Bungalow lives much larger than its 1,396 square feet and 30’ x 75’ envelope. The home is complete with several outdoor spaces that help expand the living area of the home, including a large front porch, spacious courtyard (with or without the optional pool), and private garden along the lane. The interior spaces of the grand room plan include a private guest suite, den, centrally located kitchen, and master suite.
Total size: 1,362 sf
Garage: 388 sf
Porches: 223 sf
There’s something about feeling warm and cozy in your home, a sentiment that is hard to accomplish with a McMansion. Having a home with only what you need was a common design element during the 1920s through the 1950s. That way of thinking is making its way back into modern day ideals. Although homebuyers want to scale down, the need for three bedrooms— the master, a child’s room, and a guest room or office— is still at the top of the list. Must-have items for the small home include well-equipped kitchens with proximity to the living spaces that make for a workable great room. A house with just 1,300 square feet to work with would seem to be a difficult challenge, but this plan offers the space necessary for everyday purposes. There’s an open living concept with the kitchen, dining, and living room all open to each other.
ArchitectTodd Hallett, AIA, CAPSTK Design and Architecture248.446.1960Plan sizeLiving area: 2,077 sfPorches: 235 sfWidth: 45 feetDepth: 66 feet
In order to make homes live larger than their actual square footage, they should have long site lines, connectivity between rooms, and minimal hallways. Also, they must include amenities that buyers are used to seeing in much larger homes. This 2,077-square-foot home does all that and more. This house might be considered the “Rudy” of the production home arena. The site lines and spatial relationships allow it to play a whole lot bigger than it actually is.
ArchitectRichard HandlenEDI International415.362.2880Plan sizeTotal size: 1,500 sfWidth: 31 feetDepth: 49 feet