Let's Talk Mini [houses]

 

Architecture is complicated. One would think that you could simply dream up some crazy design and plop it on a land, but often times that is not the case. Designs are driven by so many elements - the land, the codes, the weather, etc. But isn't that what makes the 'problem' so fun to solve? 

 Jim's initial notebook sketches. From the beginning, we knew we  would need to bury the house into the ground in order to achieve multiple floors with the city's height restriction. 

Jim's initial notebook sketches. From the beginning, we knew we  would need to bury the house into the ground in order to achieve multiple floors with the city's height restriction. 

One of our recent projects came with a very unique 'problem'...... a plot of land that is only 25' wide. You might be thinking, "well, 25' is still pretty wide!", and that is very true. Unfortunately, there are city codes (laws) in place that turn that 25' into 15' wide build-able area. A 15' wide space is not very large to fit all of the spaces of a modern day home, especially if you want to squeeze in three bedrooms! Adjusting the plans to have one continuous path of circulation on the eastern side of the house allowed more space for bedrooms, while also bringing lots of daylight into the hallways. 

 North and South elevations showing 'pop-out' boxes that were added to maximize square footage on the small lot. We really took advantage of every bit of city code to make the most of the land! 

North and South elevations showing 'pop-out' boxes that were added to maximize square footage on the small lot. We really took advantage of every bit of city code to make the most of the land! 

On top of the minimal width of the land, there was also a very short height restriction on the plot - just 18'! We knew from the beginning we would need to bury the house in order to create multiple stories. We took this as yet another challenge. Why not make the most of the so-called 'basement'. As seen below, we decided to dig out the majority of the lower level to create a garden room. Although buried, the space feels light and gets plenty of sunshine - with the added bonus of lush landscape all around! 

 East Elevation showing the buried house with the dug out land. Quite the opposite of a basement!

East Elevation showing the buried house with the dug out land. Quite the opposite of a basement!

I guess the moral of the story is - sometimes the most difficult of problems are the most fun to solve! Your land may direct the design, but there is always a solution! While these were early sketches, the design concepts stayed intact throughout the process. If you want, feel free to go drive by the house under construction! Here is the address:

4843 South Lucile Street, Seattle, WA 98118

Feel free to share your thoughts!