These Days, Home Architects are Custom Crafting Smaller Homes
Even though some clients are after mansions, and there are a few in the 8,500 square foot category, we are also seeing some trends that require more house with less resources. Some people want to spend less but get more. Although this sounds contradictory, it means that smaller houses need to be more carefully designed. You cannot waste a square inch.
Rand Soellner Architects is including high end features in much smaller houses these days, like second sinks in kitchens and wider aisles between counters, 2-way fireplaces, multi-functional secondary bedrooms, and overlapping spaces in public areas to give the feeling of larger spaces within smaller total area. Rand Soellner used to design projects for one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s main apprentices. Mr. Wright was an artist with space and Soellner learned about how to overlap “implied rooms” with others to give the illusion that the combined space is larger than the two. It works. Most people believe that Soellner-designed homes are much larger than they really are.
More House with Less Resources, but More Upscale Features:
Soellner often includes very nice features in both smaller and larger homes. Some of these include: more gracious master bathrooms with 2-person showers, enclosed toilet rooms, double doors into master bathrooms, larger windows affording a better views with the exterior world around the homes, and Outdoor Living Rooms oriented to the primary views. Soellner also incorporates very large sliding glass doors that are far wider and taller than normal, thereby opening up views and allowing the seam between inside and outside to evaporate when the doors are open. All of these features makes Soellner’s smaller homes seem much larger than they really are. These features also add to the enjoyment of the home, even though it may be smaller than others.
Current “More House with Less” Projects Under Design Now:
For instance, Soellner is developing a 1,352 square foot, 3 bedroom/3 bath house that feels enormous, with some interior views as wide as 41 feet, which many mid-size to large homes do not possess. Part of the secret to Soellner’s optimized designs is that he wastes nothing. No hallways, no spaces without function. Everything does one or two or three things and the result is high functionality and convenience and a feeling of spaciousness.
Soellner’s current More House With Less is called the Cardinal Camp Cottage, so named by Merry Soellner, Rand’s wife and Cashiers-Lake Toxaway real estate broker. She sees a real market for such homes that offer more features and a feeling of greater spaciousness for less money. The footprint of the Cardinal Camp Cottage will be somewhere around 24 feet x 40 feet as a main level with a lower walk-out basement terrace level. There is also another all-one-story version underway that will offer both the 24 x 40 and 24 x 50 with some popouts for several features. Soellner also offers an optional 2-car garage and optional rear Outdoor Living Room porches. Merry Soellner thought it was important for the designs to allow the homeowners to pick and choose the cost of their modest sized homes by selecting the options they wanted to pay for in the design. Soellner’s modular option approach allows for this to happen.
More House for Less Money:
Okay, now let’s talk about the elephant in the room. People still want primary residences and many still want vacation houses. They just want to spend less. But most of them are not willing to let go of the popular features they have seen in magazines and in other people’s finely crafted houses that happen to be larger. The answer is: better design and more careful planning of each and every square foot. And that is what the Soellner firm does every day. They never stop. Rand Soellner is the son of a middle class family from Midwest America and the thrift from growing up in that culture taught him to have value and functionality along with the beauty in his architecture. Designing “more house” with less actually means designing a smaller house with more features that feels larger than it really is and that has upscale features not commonly associated with more compact residences.