House Tours: Small But Mighty Cottage Home
A 400-square-foot cottage in Fairfax, California, lives large with smart storage and a punchy color palette.
Bigger isn't always better. City code kept this couple confined to a 320-square-foot footprint, so they used their design experience to eke out the most of every inch. To keep this new building true to the style of the surrounding neighborhood, the small house referenced the 1920s.
Clever space design enabled the couple to fit two beds, a sofa, a kitchen, stacking washer and dryer, and a dining nook into 400 square feet.
Small-scale furniture and appliances and an efficient floor plan maximize this home's miniscule footprint. From wall art -- letter-theme pieces from salvage materials create the piece above the sofa -- to savvy hidden storage, the clever cottage holds lots of lessons in smart living.
The table for two expands to accommodate a cozy foursome in a pinch. Drop leafs are a great way to give an option of being able to entertain without taking up all the space all the time. Turquoise is cheery and cool in this cottage.
The kitchen condenses the amenities of a full-size home by using apartment-size appliances. A traditional staircase to the bedroom would take up too much space, so a library ladder on rails that run along the living room gives great access to the sleeping loft.
Natural light bounces off the white walls. A skylight opens the sloping ceiling in the loft. The two stained-glass windows were added for a personalized touch. Accessories found their place on pegs nailed into a salvaged door. (Check with your local building codes to determine if you need to attach a railing to lofted spaces or not.)
Built-ins offer the most storage in the smallest amount of space. Scour salvage shops for cabinets and wardrobes for storage solutions. Don't disregard pieces that are slightly beat up or even mismatched storage compartments. Often, all it takes are minor tweaks and a coat of paint to unify disparate pieces.
Dress It Up
For the ultimate space-saver, a vintage Murphy bed is installed and swivels in and out of the wall for a welcoming guest bed. A mirror outside of the door covers the bed so the space can serve as a dressing area when the bed is stowed.
A pretty patterned sheet, tablecloth, or fabric hung behind the bed makes an instant, laid-back wall accent. This tapestry softens the look and heightens the effect of the headboard.