Affordable AtriumMeet an architect who brought Venice style to his L.A. digs, take a tour through northern Europe in a couple's Washington home, see a gallery owner combine living and working in a fantastic, functional area and check out how tiny temporary housing has everlasting style with the HELP House.
"Venice of America" was originally planned as a Californian seaside resort reminiscent of Venice, Italy — complete with canals and gondolas. The original homes were simple bungalows on tiny canal-front lots. Architect Whitney Sander found an empty lot for sale about seven years ago. With his wife, Catherine Holliss, he designed and built their dream home that embodies the modernist ideal of free flowing space.
At first glance, the homeowners' style looks prohibitively expensive. A closer look reveals that the materials used throughout the home are very affordable. For the atrium, Sanders chose one-inch-thick acrylic panels that were hand-sanded to produce a foggy transparence in the well-lit space. They like how the curved pieces give a warm, feminine flow to the modern aesthetic, which tends toward a cold, masculine edge. It just goes to show that it's not the expense of the materials but what you do with them that makes a space look sophisticated.
Modern MagicSander used the same tile on the walls and floor to create a continuity and flow in the bathroom. This allows the eye to take in the space as a whole, instead of seeing "wall" or "floor" as defined by different tile choices. This same philosophy is applied in other applications throughout the house. With the absence of traditional doors and interior walls, Sander's house relies on hospital track and curtains made out of inexpensive parachute nylon to section off spaces as needed. The curtains can be moved around easily to define a room or hide storage/functional elements, yet always provide a sense of flow and softness.
Artistic AtticInspired by the quaint historic homes of Northern Europe, Gary and Barbara Rainwaters designed a 930-square-foot Tudor cottage. Over several years, they built the home by hand — truly a labor of love. The result: a storybook cottage straight out of Shakespeare, complete with a romantic English garden and an expansive eight-foot lawn!
Gary Rainwaters carved an art studio out of attic space above the bedroom. If you have a garage, attic or basement that holds clutter, consider cleaning it out and using it for livable space. You'd be surprised how much working square footage you can add to your home.
Sunken SpaceThe 9' x 7' living room recedes into the floor to give the feel of more vertical space. The small room is a cozy little nook that doesn't feel cramped due to the open space above. They used that same idea with a small office, which also looks out to the open middle space in the house. If the office were closed in, it would feel too small.
Tiny TudorThe Rainwaters salvaged lumber from a nearby torn down building. They wanted an old feel to their home, and recycled materials were a great way to add character and history to the new construction. Since their house is so small, they were able to do a lot with a little material. They find the best part of living small is that there's less upkeep and more time to discover the things they really enjoy in life.
Home Is in the DetailsArchitect Carib Daniel Martin has always been interested in designing extremely small homes. When hurricane Katrina left thousands homeless, Martin paired with builder Rob Bragan to design an inexpensively produced and quickly assembled portable structure to provide temporary housing for those in need. Martin drew on several years' worth of small home construction ideas to create an 8- by 12-foot structure with 96 square feet.
So much fits into this little space: a working kitchen, bathroom, living room/bedroom and storage. It's hard to imagine there could be much floor space, but the HELP house is a smart design that accommodates people living in the space. Martin recognizes that every square inch counts, even beyond the floor plan. While the design is primarily about function, it's also about beauty. When it comes to disaster relief, Martin wants to give people more than a roof over their heads: he wants to give them a sense of home when they've lost that.
Folding FurnishingsEverything in the HELP house folds away and has more than one function. The couch folds out to become a double bed. It also houses two sizeable drawers below for storage. A single bunk bed drops down from the wall above the couch to sleep a third person. The fold-down table can be used as a kitchen counter, a dining table or a small desk. Fold up chairs can be used around the table or for extra seating in the living area.
Sustainable HELPThe HELP home can be functional without access to electricity or running water. It can be equipped with solar panels, a composting toilet and a gravity-fed water system. It is also ready to plug into utilities if they are available.
Vibrant LivingWhen Leonardo Annecca moved to New York to open his studio, he also needed a place to live. This Manhattan loft offered the perfect opportunity to create living and work space within an exhibition gallery. Simplicity was the key. Leonardo is proud that with very little money he created a warm, soulful, versatile space that is difficult to achieve in a bare, minimalist space.
At the end of the gallery is a taller table with barstools, which is used for entertaining, dining and working. This bar divides the gallery space from the living space and also conceals a small-scale refrigerator. See-through curtains divide the space but don't block the light and flow of the space. They also hide functional units: a tiny office space, a closet/dressing area and a corner nook that holds a bed with rolling drawer storage underneath.
Home GalleryHalf of the loft is designated for the gallery, with the white walls a clean backdrop for the rotating collections of artwork. Two tables on casters can be pushed together to act as a huge buffet or split apart for different needs: one in the office as a desk, one off the kitchen as extra prep space? The possibilities are endless.