This is one of my favorite small house plans by an architect working right now. It’s called the Lisette and makes the most of about 635 square feet. Find it at Ross Chapin Architects.
The house is designed for a narrow lot but I think it would look good just about anywhere.
My favorite parts of the floorplan - window seat, dining nook, study - neat ways to maximize space and keep the interior interesting without needlessly expanding the footprint. I like the covered porch a lot too. Although as usual, if it were mine, there’d be a deck or porch off the bedroom too. And I’d probably wrap the front porch around the front as a deck - I love outdoor living space!
So earlier I said I’d tried to grow some green onions from seed and I don’t think it’s going so well. Now I have a new method to try - recycling store-bought onions. The article is good - but you might want to mute the music that plays on this site.
Another find from Antique Home - this house’s floorplan is pretty close to perfect. At 34’ x 28’, it doesn’t really qualify as a tiny house, although it’s still less than 1000 square feet. The oversized columns on front are a funky touch - not sure they would appeal to everyone, but I like the pergolas flanking the central gabled roof - hard to believe this design dates from 1921!
The large central room with flanking smaller rooms reminds me a lot of South Caroline Low Country cottages. I think it would be ideal for a hotter climate, as you could open windows at either end of the central room for cross ventilation, and windows and doors in the flanking rooms also are positioned to allow cross ventilation.
I would have to tweak a few things, because I always have to tweak a few things. First, the central room needs a door with flanking windows at each end of the room, so that you could access either the front or back porch (both of which would be full width, of course; probably an open front porch and screened in back porch).
On the right side of the house, the kitchen’s back wall should bump out to be in line with the central room’s, and the wall between those two rooms should be a half-wall with a breakfast bar so they’re open to each other. I think if you did this, you could squeeze a small bathroom between the kitchen and front room, which could then double as a guest bedroom.
On the left side of the house, I’d actually take out the front bedroom and push the bathroom closer to the front. I don’t think I’d make the bathroom wall line up with the central room, as I like the idea of a recessed bay on the front porch and throwing in an asymmetrical touch. But rearranging the bathroom fixtures a little would allow you to match the window pattern on the other two front rooms - and give you a bathroom full of natural light! Then I’d make the back bedroom long enough for a king-sized bed. Turn the window in the bedroom that’s next to the bathroom into a sliding glass door to access a private deck. And since the bathroom plumbing is on the same wall, it would be easy to add an outdoor shower.
To save floor space, I’d have all the interior doors be surfaced-mounted sliding models instead of standard swinging doors. If you wanted to go for a Zen feeling, you could do shoji screens or wood-framed doors with reeded glass panels. Or, if looking for something more rustic, then distressed wood barn-style doors could work.
Earlier this year I decided to try my hand at growing vegetables in containers, starting from seed. The experiment has yielded mixed results, which I expected. I couldn’t get lettuce and spinach to grow much at all even though they’re supposed to be ridiculously easy, but I think the record-breaking heat we had in March may have thrown things off. I’ll try those again this fall since they’re cool weather crops.
But there have been some successes!
Catmint - supposedly super simple to grow, but it appears to take a while to get established. I also tried sowing some seeds directly in the ground, and they came up just fine, but then critters ate the tender shoots and that was that. I’m hoping these seedlings I’ve grown in containers will get established over the summer and then I can transplant them into the ground this fall.
Parsley - this is my lone survivor of the various attempts I made with parsley. Apparently parsley does better with direct sowing, as all the seedlings I started indoors with peat pellets didn’t make it. For whatever reason, the critters that are my catmint seedlings didn’t get this parsley - at least not yet.
Theoretically, these seedlings eventually are going to turn into carrots. I started them from seed, direct sown into the container. Like parsley, all the carrot seedlings I started in peat pellets didn’t make it. The seeds germinated right away, but the seedlings have not grown very quickly. I just moved them to a sunny spot, after keeping them on a fairly shaded deck for the past 6 weeks. Now just have to wait and see if the extra sun helps.
And best of all, my tomato seedlings are doing great, although it took some trial and error to get there. I tried several different ways of starting the seeds indoors in late February. The ones I put in peat pellets did poorly, as did the ones in plastic cells with seed starter mix. I had the most success with some bigger (about 3” square) biodegradable pots and filling them with seed starter then sowing the seeds. We had a warm spring, so I moved the seedlings outside pretty quickly, but waited until they were 6” tall or more before transferring them into containers. I pulled away most of the biodegradable pots because I’d read they sometimes take too long to degrade, then I put the seedlings in 5-gallon containers, and buried about a third of the seedling stem in the soil. A friend recommended planting marigolds with the tomatoes, as there’s something about marigolds that seems to ward off pests.
I really hope the tomatoes do well. I’ve got big plans for making lots of pico de gallo with homegrown tomatoes later this summer. And I’m already planning to add peppers, cilantro, and onions next year!
Again courtesy of the excellent folks at Antique Home, here’s another vintage design for a small house - about 500 square feet!
This design is from a 1921 mail order house catalog. I love the Craftsman details on the porch, eaves, front door, and windows. The large windows on the front would allow plenty of light. If it were mine to build, I’d add a wood stove in the corner of the living room, and turn the back bedroom window into a door, with a screened porch across the back. And add a cottage garden all around to finish it off. As the ad says, there’s nothing fancy about it but it certainly is a pretty little house.
I found this gem at Antique Home. It’s a vintage design for a kit house, dating from 1939. Not sure why the plan on the right doesn’t have a bathroom. But I think Plan A on the left is still really functional, and ideal for anyone interested in downsizing to a small house.
If I built this place, I would make the living room and kitchen open to each other, maybe vault the ceiling so it felt really airy. A vaulted ceiling also would let me put loft space above the bedrooms for storage, with one of those cool library style ladders to access it.
I think the key to comfortable small house living is to minimize the separation between indoors and outdoors, and maximize the outdoor living space. I’d build a big porch across the front, a screened-in porch across the back, and a deck off the bedrooms (with a sliding door on each room’s side wall to give direct access to the deck). This arrangement would require building on a crawl space so you had a place to put the mechanical equipment but I think it could work. Or I think you could put in a traditional ceiling above the bathroom and put mechanical equipment in that enclosed space.