Attached housing is a really smart way to increase density and provide affordable, small housing in walkable neighborhoods, but it is illegal in most places. Duplexes don’t have to be ugly! This is a gallery of lovely examples where attached housing not only fit well into an existing neighborhood, but is also really attractive. Help normalize and re-legalize missing middle housing by adding your pictures to and sharing galleries like these!
Just a few blocks from Crozet’s downtown district is a little one acre parcel of land that was once the home to part of a much larger apple orchard. A few of the old apple trees remain and a tenacious grove of bamboo has colonized the stream bank. Today this plot is completely surrounded by houses, has public water, sewer and electricity, and is an easy walk from coffee shops, post office, a new Library, restaurants, stores and loads of small town charm.
The concept for this one acre parcel just north of the intersection of Jarman’s Gap Rd and Orchard Dr (two lots) in Crozet is to build two houses that have attached accessory units that even though they are attached, feel like their own completely separate houses. This is done by clever house and window placement, utilizing the existing topography as an advantage. The houses are designed to be net-zero ready, using such
little energy that a few solar panels on the roof or mounted remotely can power them while providing superior indoor air quality and comfort for the residents. The houses are placed on the site to capture their outdoor spaces, making them comfortable and loved. The grounds will be planted with native plants as well as non-invasive food producing orchard trees. The existing street will be lined with shade trees and rain gardens. The houses are also designed to fit in with the existing neighborhood’s one and two story ranches in scale, color and texture.
So you’ve decided to simplify your life, get rid of all the clutter and more into a tiny house on wheels, but there’s one catch: where do you live? It’s tricky. One option is to buy some land, but if you aren’t planning on being off the grid you’re going to need electrical hookup and perhaps a well, maybe even a septic system. All of this gets expensive and a little outside of the original idea of downsizing, especially when there are plenty of people who would be more than willing to rent a little place on their property with everything you need already there in exchange for a little rent and utility sharing. With the transient nature of our culture, we’ve lost a lot of the real social networks that would have once made it very easy to find a place like this. A brand new site called TinyHouseParking is trying to network people living in Tiny Houses with those who have the land and desire to help this tiny movement get some traction!
I like this idea for how to re-purpose all of those ancient school busses. All you need to do is put up some insulation and better finishes and BAM! House.
In the quest to live simply, there are many online resources available. The Tiny House Blog is a great one, focusing on living in small spaces. They have compiled a fantastic directory of tiny house designers, builders, blogs, and more. If you’re really into exploring the vastly different styles and construction types of small housing, then this is a great place to start!
Jay Shafer is at it again; one of the visionaries behind the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is out with a brand new spin-off: Four Lights Tiny House Company. Running in the same vein as Tumbleweed, but expanding on the idea, literally. A few of the new designs utilize the full width allowed on the road allowing for a lot more space. This is less portable (you need a professional driver) but far more livable for two people.
A community of tiny houses! This is a really neat idea if they can keep architectural unity and keep it well maintaned through the years. It will be really interested to see how they make this project happen as it is out of the realm of what city planners and zoning officials have ever seen.
Inhabitat, Ford, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation are hosing a live webcast with leading automotive designers and architects to talk about how to make functional and comfortable rooms out of tiny spaces. It will be interesting to see how the seemingly very different worlds of cars and buildings can provide much insight to each other. The Webcast Starts Thursday, June 6th at 12:30PM CDT (1:30 PM EST)
Think Big, Live Small
In our current society, everyone places too much value on their personal belongings. We build bigger houses to fit all of our stuff into and we are using energy to heat and cool those posessions. When you pare down what you need down to the bare essentials for daily life and then design your home for only daily life, then what you find is that you need a lot less space.
There are several benefits to living smaller.
- Home costs much less so you can pay it back in a resonable amount of time.
- Energy costs are drastically reduced or eliminated.
- The finishes in your home could be of a lot higher quality.
- You wouldn’t have to dread moving day.
- When your expenses are reduced, your house and therefore your job wouldn’t have to tie you down.
- You could afford to rent larger spaces when having a party or have it outside.
- Connection with the natural environment is enhanced.
- Impact on the planet is reduced.
There are a lot more benefits, just ask any 19th century Transcendentalist, early 20th century Arts & Crafts designer, or Tumbleweed Tiny Houses; they all say it better than I.