Simpler Lives, Cozy Homes Happening

Simpler Lives, Cozy Homes Happening

Along with the occasional mansion, I am seeing a shift to more compact houses of reasonably upper-mid-range quality. People seem to want simpler lives and overall, smaller footprints.

Housing in the 2,500 hsf (heated square feet) to 3,500 hsf seem to be the demand more often these days.  In the mid-decade (2003-2008) 4,500 hsf was the average, with more houses in the 6,000 hsf range and bigger.  Recently, I have had two different clients from different places in the USA, moving to the Carolinas, and wanting 2,800 hsf to 3,000 hsf or so.  This appears to be a trend.  Another client is having us modify their 6,000 hsf previous design direction to become more like 2,500 hsf.

The key to this emerging trend is developing more compact footprints with design approaches that FEEL big.  That’s where the architectural artistry comes in.  I used to work for one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s main apprentices and that is where some of the open space planning philosophies came from.  Wright’s designs look very different from mine, but they share overlapping open plan space concepts, which serve to expand the visual environment in a house.

I have also developed sliding interior doors for certain multi-functional spaces, like seldom used bedrooms, that are more typically part of a recreation room or part of a great room.  But we are here to serve the needs of the mansion clients and the cozy compacts; all are welcome.

We often receive phone calls or e-mails with people sheepishly asking if we would consider designing a house for them of only 2,500 hsf +/-.  Our answer is always the same: YES!  WE have actually designed ultra-compact in-law living quarters as small as 393 hsf.

I recently conceptually designed what I call the “Firefly Cottage.”  It is a 2-story bungalow of 912 hsf, with 512 hsf on the main floor and 336 hsf on the loft level above.  The loft level is the master suite, complete with His and Her closets, room for a seating area  or modest home gym equipment, stair, AHU (Air Handling Unit) and a really nice bathroom.  The main level has another full bathroom, substantial Kitchen with a decent island, living area, dining area and Home Office area (that uses the dining table as the conference table), with an 8′ or 9′ tall Grand Canyon-Dor (our trademark giant sliding glass doors) and a modest entry porch, and coat closet.  Pretty good for such a compact plan!

To see these and more, please contact Rand Soellner Architect at 828-269-9046.