Ross Chapin Architects

House-and-cottage combos suit many lifestyles

Sunset  –  January 23, 2006

“A flexible, high-density in-fill project that accommodates changing lifestyles.”
– jury comment

SPECIAL AWARD, Ross Chapin Architects, Langley, WA
In this Whidbey Island, Washington, development, a shared alleyway rambles through the backyards of three adjacent 1,200-square-foot houses, separating each from its own 425-square-foot detached cottage. (Progressive city zoning allows accessory detached units in single-family zones as long as the units are compatible with neighboring homes.) The jury particularly applauded the inclusion of the cottages because they introduce a great deal of lifestyle flexibility – they can serve as home offices, separate family rooms, master bedrooms, starter homes for grown children, in-law quarters, guest cottages, studios, or even long-term rentals.

The larger houses combine kitchen, dining, and living rooms in a single multifunctional space. Peaked ceilings, windows placed for maximum daylight and side-yard privacy, and light colors keep these great rooms open and bright. The largest of the three, which is designed for wheelchair accessibility, also features an elevator and third-story view tower.

“The in-fill project fosters a sense of community by design,” says architect Ross Chapin.