Home Tour: Cozy Oceanside Charm in Only 800 Sq. Feet

An 800-square-foot home isn't for everyone. But this diminutive charmer shows that for a growing segment of the population, a small home may be the perfect fit.


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Small Home, Big on Style
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Small Home, Big on Style

    People yearning for a simple, uncluttered, and economical life may find a tiny home to be just the right size for their needs. At only 800 square feet, this one-bedroom, one-bath house on Martha's Vineyard proves that building small doesn't have to mean skimping on style or quality craftsmanship.

    Appropriate to the oceanside setting, cedar shingles adorn the exterior walls and roof, giving the home a natural, warm feeling at first sight. This house gains distinction from the eyebrow dormer that rises above the doors to the living room. To invest classic design into this home, such elements as columns, a round window, and shingle siding were included.

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Living Room

    The living room's 11-foot cathedral ceiling with an eyebrow dormer helps create surprising volume. Around the dormer window, custom wood millwork butts up to the ceiling, forming a shadow that draws attention upward to the eyebrow's sculptural curve. Beneath the captivating dormer, a pair of French doors opens to a deck.

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Cozy Fireplace

    Surrounded by media cabinets for attractive yet practical storage, the fireplace anchors the living room with its eye-catching cherry mantel and soapstone surround. The elongated fireplace mantel emphasizes width in the room.

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Living Room

    Letting in lots of light keeps the house from feeling cramped. The window bay jutting out from the house offers an ocean view to those sitting inside.

    Sisal rugs top the cherry floors throughout the house, blending elegance and cottage comfort.

    Small Space Tip: Giving extra dimension to molding near the ceiling draws eyes upward, which emphasizes room volume--helping small rooms feel spacious.

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Dining Nook Serves Double Duty

    As a space-saver in the dining nook, built-in bench seating lines the window wall. A heat vent here keeps the spot cozy on winter days.

    The window bench serves double duty, accommodating guests when an extra bed is needed.

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Small Galley Kitchen

    Cupboards in the kitchen are tailored around appliances to use the space most efficiently. A sunny window spotlights the kitchen sink, with a dishwasher and undercounter refrigerator close at hand. Dark green solid-surfacing material was used for the counter.

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Pretty Storage Spot

    Adjacent to the kitchen is pantry storage and a comfy window seat that stores linens and sundries. To strike a casual note, this spot for removing outdoor gear was lined with beaded board.

    Beaded-board paneling and millwork add touches of craftsmanship throughout the home; their white painted surfaces tie the spaces together for a simple and relaxed oceanside atmosphere.

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Indoor and Outdoor Oceanside Views

    A circle window adds a jaunty seaside touch to the exterior. To invest a little formality into the design, columns and wide trim were chosen.

    Divided light windows provide panoramic views of the ocean while maintaining a hint of tradition. Architects brought the outdoors in by incorporating windows into two or three walls of every room.

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Floor Plan

    This tiny, 29x34-foot home works because of thoughtful layout and design:

    -- Multitasking rooms. Because space is at such a premium, the main living area must serve several purposes. It accommodates gathering and dining, and acts as a perch for ocean viewing.
    -- Storage-smart kitchen. There's no getting around it: the kitchen is tight. But extra storage space was gained by putting a pantry in the entry bump-out.
    -- Compact but complete. In a house where every square foot is precious, room could still be carved out for a master suite with a bath and closets.

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