10 resourceful small-home design ideas
How do you make a small home live large? Use your outdoors and smart materials
By going up, not out, the One Window House—so called because all but one of its “windows” are actually glass walls or sliding doors—makes the most of its small (680 square feet) footprint. Three stories give the house a total size of 1,500 square feet, despite its relatively small footprint. And Deborah and Olivier’s design philosophy can also be seen in how they refine rough-hewn (and economical) materials and use them in interesting new ways, extend the size of rooms by connecting them to the outdoors. For example, from the street, you can see the opaque panel that lets light into the staircase.
Design: Touraine Richmond Architects, Venice, CA (touraine-richmond.com)
For instance, they decided to use oriented strand board, or flakeboard, for the kitchen cabinetry and a few other surfaces in the house. Most commonly appearing as subflooring, “it can be made in part from wood waste and new-growth, renewable forest species,” says Deborah. “They press it together with glue. It’s kind of like plywood, only sometimes made with scraps.” The builder ran the wood through a drum sander to smooth it, mitered all the corners and edges, then applied three layers of a water-base urethane. Was it economical? Sure, but make no mistake: “We chose that material because we thought it was beautiful,” Deborah insists.
Flakeboard cabinetry and polished concrete flooring indeed suit the indoor/outdoor life.
By filling the garden with native California plants, Deborah and Olivier practically ensured a steady stream of curious flying visitors. And by separating themselves from all this bounty by nothing more than glass, they get to observe the action close up. “We can watch wasps, yellow jackets, and all sorts of butterflies, not to mention some birds that you don’t get to see in the city so much,” Olivier adds. “You can get close to all these flying things without scaring them.”