Small-House Secrets

By Charles Miller

A ceiling that rises to 14 ft, balanced light, 8 ft. tall sliding doors and tall double hung windows create a feeling of spaciousness. Photo by David Wakely

The best small houses manage to manipulate their footprints so that they feel larger than their square footage. For this California cottage, writes editor at large Charles Miller, architect Cathy Schwabe used 10 design strategies to make it live larger than its 800-sq.-ft. size. To make this house feel roomy, Schwabe's design plan included raising the ceilings; playing with scale; borrowing views from outside the house; using texture and color sparingly; spending money on high-quality materials where it counts; minimizing hallways (and making them do double duty); creating long interior views; making multipurpose rooms; using windows on as many sides of a room as possible; and creating private outdoor spaces.

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Originally Published in Fine Homebuilding

09/24/2013