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.

Tuesday, August 13

backyard cottages seeking homes

Do you have a large lot that would be suitable for subdividing but are worried that if you sell you may end up living next to a McMansion?  We are frequently approached by people looking for lots for small homes, backyard cottages and even cottage housing developments. We would love to show the development community that well designed small homes create vibrant neighborhoods, are great places to live, and are a viable development prototype.

Given the scarcity of vacant lots in and around Seattle, finding a small lot is a seemingly impossible proposition.  When small lots are developed it is most often to the maximum extent allowable by the code.  Given the provisions in the Seattle zoning code, these houses can be huge ugly boxes way out of scale with their surroundings. No shortage of these houses have been built in Seattle over the last few years.  Enough to finally prompt amendments to the land use code. The Seattle Weekly recently did an article about the reaction to one local developer who's excesses led to these amendments.

crowded houses

Beyond a much needed overhaul to the Seattle Municipal Code, the most effective way to reverse this trend is to demonstrate viable alternatives. To this end we are currently looking for small lots on Mercer Island, North Seattle, and for a backyard cottage site on or around Queen Anne.  If you think that your lot may qualify or are otherwise interested please give us a call or shoot us an email.