Contemporary Cottage by Nir Pearlson

By Dan Gregory, Originally Published in Eye On Design

This award-winning, energy-efficient design is compact but feels spacious thanks to an open plan and easy outdoor connections.

Oregon architect Nir Pearlson brings new energy to compact and sustainable home design, building on his long experience as a craftsman/builder. In fact, he won Fine Homebuilding magazine’s 2013 Small Home of the Year Award for an 800 sq. ft., two bedroom one bath garden cottage. The magazine recognized the design “for its shared spaces and connections to the outdoors that make it seem larger than its physical boundaries…” It’s our Plan 890-1, and it can be yours as well.

The layout is mostly one open space containing kitchen and living-dining area connecting to a large wrap-around deck, as shown here (all photos in this post by Mike Dean, courtesy Nir Pearlson). Nir explains that

he designed the house as a series of roughly 12 foot-square modules — they overlap to comprise the main living area. Key elements define individual “rooms” without separating one from another,

effectively making the main space feel larger than it is, like this window seat with storage drawers. The built-in platform and overhead beam frame the seat as a separate unit without cutting it off from the larger

 space. The kitchen peninsula 
(a warm-toned granite) performs a similar function — see it in the distance — as does the central wood stove on its slate pad. Naturally dyed plaster wall finish, and red oak floor and Douglas fir and hemlock trim add visual warmth. The natural approach continues in the bathroom, where shower walls are lined with richly veined marble on interior walls

and glass block to bring in borrowed light on the exterior. 

Nir designed the house to be as energy-wise as possible, with rigid foam insulation in walls and roof, and separate photo-voltaic arrays — a larger one 
for generating electricity and a smaller one for hot water — which are visible on the roof in the photo at the top of this post. It’s definitely the little award-winning cottage that could!



January 12, 2014