As presented in the Reset House introduction, this micro-house ideally illustrates complexities in planning and draws our attention to meaningful design considerations. When space is at a premium, hard decisions must be made and priorities outweigh other conveniences and luxuries. Often called tiny, small, little, micro, cottage, nano, or compact, these homes typically share one common strategy to make more space.
A logical conclusion when designing a 120 square foot home for four is that exterior space is a great method to extend living space. I still distinctly recall the enormous canopy my father installed on the side of our 1977 Volkswagen Campmobile because it literally doubled the amount of sheltered living space we had. The same applies here on the Reset House. The covered exterior porch is a larger room than any indoors, even though it is not a small expense for permanent, code-complying construction.
There are other strategies to make living better. The interior finishes are beautiful, energetic, and cheerful. Natural wood is used throughout and a warm golden yellow is balanced by a soft blue. (Technically, this is a primary scheme because the wood is actually a shade of red.) There is plenty of cove and soffit lighting bounced off the yellow backsplash and the ceiling to avoid harsh glare. The majority of the remaining exposed surfaces are white, either painted or a glossy plastic laminate to endure hard use and splash more light around the spaces.
The spacial design centers on a strategy of double-loaded circulation. This is a circulation spine with spaces on both sides. Here, the entry door is in the middle of the home with the short path to the kitchen dividing the seat and the bathroom. The same ordering system continues upstairs with the bed on one side and a long storage wall on the other. By double-loading it, the circulation total is reduced and shortens access to everything else. Which means more usable space within the total.
The loft upstairs accomplishes more space savings than any other feature. It doesn’t count in the 120 SF footprint, but it could be extended to almost double the available living space. Technically the building code does not count spaces less than 7′-0″ high, and real estate agents, appraisers, and mortgage lenders do not count anything less than 5′-0″ high. (Odd that those two aren’t coordinated, isn’t it?) But it certainly is usable. The loft in our van was the most spacious of anything else. So, too, here in the Reset House. Even the simple shed roof contributes to the scheme. It is the most efficient form structurally but it also has the advantage of enabling higher headroom at the ladder and the storage cabinet wall.
Continue to follow the articles here in the category Reset House. Next article, I’ll talk about my favorite strategy that Reset uses to increase usable space.