Small is the new green

Increasing environmental awareness along with economic and demographic trends favor smaller house sizes. Many cities are doing their part by updating zoning codes to allow cottage housing and small backyard cottages (detached ADU's) on residentially zoned lots. Seattle and Portland are two cities which allow backyard cottages up to 800 sq. ft. in size. These small houses provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock density and diversity. Continue reading for more information about small house design and Seattle's backyard cottage ordinance or contact us to find out if your lot is eligible for a backyard cottage.

Friday, December 30

backyard cottage open house



Would you like to learn more about backyard cottages and tour a newly completed 800 sq. ft. cottage in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood? Please join representatives from Microhouse,  Carlisle Classic Homes, and ANR Landscape Design for an open house and information session on January 15th. 

Ben and January are one of the first Magnolia families to take advantage of the recently expanded backyard cottage ordinance that allows backyard cottages in all of Seattle's neighborhoods.  Cottages can have many uses including housing an aging family member, providing rental income, or even as a downsizing strategy.  They plan to use their newly constructed cottage as a vacation rental in the near term with plans for January's father to live in the cottage when he retires.  A great advantage for a family with two small children.

Building this cottage involved overcoming a number of challenges including working in ECA (environmentally critical area) steep slope site and limited budget. Stop by and and talk with us to see how we worked with these challenges to create a great 800 sq. ft. two bedroom home.

Event:        backyard cottage open house and info session
Location:   3448 36th Ave W (alley side)
Date:          January 15, 2012
Time:         1:00pm to 4:00pm

map

Open house contact:     



This cottage will be available as a vacation rental. For those interested in renting the cottage please contact. 


magnoliacottagerental@gmail.com 
206-779-1444





Median house size decreases

Welcome to the future.  The median U.S. house size continues to decrease from it's peak in 2007.   Excerpt from the year end review in Zillow's blog.

Rather than space-age technology, the biggest thing that is expected to change in future single-family homes is the size.


“Homes will get smaller,” says Stephen Melman, Director of Economic Services at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington D.C. “We asked builders, ‘what do you anticipate the new home size would be by 2015?’ “
According to the results of the study, surveyed home builders expect new single-family homes to check in at an average of 2,150 square feet. Current single family homes measure around 2,400 square feet, which is already a decrease from the peak home size in 2007 of 2,521.

To read the full article..  zillow home trends

Saturday, December 24

happy holidays



Thank you everyone for a great year of designing and building small houses!

Tuesday, December 6

cottage housing in the suburban wilderness -sammamish

The city of Sammamish City Council will be doing a second reading of there proposed zoning code changes that would provide for a demonstration project of up to 50 cottage housing units at their regularly schedule meeting tonight. The current proposal needs help. Those interested in cottage housing should show up to support cottage housing or email the city clerk  Melonie Anderson.


Microhouse is currently working with a Sammamish landowner to develop his one acre parcel retaining his house and building seven cottage houses.  Under the current Town Center zoning he cannot. He is allowed to develop rowhouses and apartments neither of which are suited to his beautiful steeply sloping wooded lot. Modifying the cottage housing provisions will give him flexibility to design with nature and result in a better project while increasing housing options and density, goals of the town center plan.


Currently the number of cottage housing units in the town center zones and in the proposed amendment is limited to 15% of the total units in a development.  This restriction is redundant and unnecessarily restricts small scale projects.  For example, in the TCB zone, the minimum density is also established at 8 per acre. Thus to do an 8 unit cottage housing development would require a 5 acre development of 53 total units. A 53 unit development is well beyond the range of most local builders. Why is this a problem?  

Only large national developers like the Toll Brothers will be able to build cottage housing after aggregating large parcels of land. Small land owners interested in developing their property will be required to sell, relinquishing control of their land. This will result in large cookie cutter development that doesn't reflect the character of Sammamish or the will of it's residents. 

Sammamish is blessed with a beautiful and varied natural landscape full of mature forests and waterways. Eliminating the 15% restriction for cottage housing will result in better built projects that reflect the community, meet the stated goals of the town center plan and give builders more flexibility in protecting the natural environment.  The 15% restriction should be removed from the demonstration project and also from Town Center as well.



http://www.ci.sammamish.wa.us/files/document/8279.pdf




Sammamish City Council Meeting
6:30pm -10:00pm
City Hall at Sammamish Commons
801 228th Ave SE
Sammamish, WA 98075