Small and Stylish Homes — And Affordable to Build!
Steve Donegan | Updated December 26, 2022
Many of our clients are looking for something small, simple, and economical. Some are building for their own home, and others are hoping to build for less and sell for more. No matter which category you fall under, there are a few key factors in creating a comfortable, enjoyable dwelling, while optimizing the price tag.
If you want to save money during the build, then build less. Simple? Of course! In fact, simple is the best word for it. Build a box. A box is the most space-efficient shape for builders and designers. Glamorous? It can be! Architecture is the art of making the structure both sound and interesting. A box doesn’t have to be boring. What architectural elements should I look for while I search for a home? Here are a few ideas to keep in mind.
Your home needs to keep a certain level of formality. Even if you think it’s a waste, your guests will feel more comfortable in your home. It will also sell better if you ever need to move. Make sure there is some kind of entrance to each private room. You never want a doorway in the middle of a wall. Create a small hallway or at least put in a recessed door. Look for plans with secluded bedrooms (especially the master suite), bathrooms, and a foyer for the front entry.
Leave the rest open. If you want to take advantage of your small space, then don’t waste it with walls. Go the extra mile on your kitchen so it can be a centerpiece and the main rooms can remain open to each other. Use your furniture arrangement to define spaces.
Share indoor and outdoor space. Windows are important. Get the best grade of windows you can afford. This will show up in the resale value. Well-placed windows and glass doors will bring in natural light, help the home feel much bigger, and bring the outdoors in. Porches, patios, and courtyards with furniture will help bring the indoors out and expand the size of your home. Carry the decorative theme of your home into the yard, and use your natural surroundings in your home décor. If you make your entire property usable space, you will maximize your property value and the enjoyment you get out of it.
Think horizontal. There are many advantages to having a second level or a basement. If you go up, you can seclude your bedrooms easily and create a view at the same time. A basement can house bedrooms, a second family room, as well as recreation and storage areas. If you can afford it, go with 9 – 12 ft ceilings. There are a lot of furniture and cabinet systems that take advantage of added ceiling height. One of my favorite units is a loft bed. Many people have put large closets and desks underneath their beds. That’s perfect for the kid’s room. You can also create a lot of storage space in the cabinets above for items that are rarely used.
There are many factors that go into optimizing value. I’ve focused on important elements that deal with interior space. Other things to consider are location and neighboring houses. These are perhaps the most important when it comes to resale. However, if you follow these tips and adapt them to your personal circumstances, you’ll create a comfortable and interesting atmosphere in what could otherwise be a boring design.
Thi home is a great example of an inexpensive build with great style. The homeowner made some slight modifications, actually removing the lower bedroom and replacing it with the kitchen. This opened up the floor plan and created the gorgeous rooms pictured above. There is also a sunroom and a basement! Check out Plan # 126-1304 for more detail.