Photos: Loren Nelson
Home DetailsSquare Footage: 1,100
Bedrooms: 1 to 2Baths: 2 full
When working on something creative, like designing your dream home, constraints may seem like the last thing you want. However, constraints and creativity often go hand in hand. In the case of this fully custom Dayton, Oregon, home, the constraint was the most common of all: budget. The solution? A cozy floor plan designed specifically for its owners.
The Low Down
The owners love the outdoors, so New Energy Works included large triple-pane windows that bathe the home in natural light and make the snug square footage feel more expansive. The living room lives like it’s part of the surrounding property.
Although the original plan included a basement gallery, it was cut due to budget constraints. However, this freed up funds elsewhere in the design, allowing the team to splurge on an expanded truss and skylight system. “The truss is fairly unique,” says David. “We pulled a king post apart and separated it with a steel rod, and that space is where the skylight comes into play. It’s very skinny and runs down the living space. The house lines up pretty directly east to west, and there’s a good view of the North Star from inside the house.”
The home is built around a double-loaded corridor. High ceilings avoid a cramped feel and a small wood burner in the corner of the living is capable of heating the whole home. “The reason we could create such a beautiful home within their budget is because we were able to drill down into what the client’s needs were and distill it into a compact floor plan that met those needs exactly — nothing more,” David explains. “Having that back and forth with the client, we were really able to streamline the design, and that was key in giving the homeowners realistic expectations.”
The Inside ScoopNothing will make you think harder about who you are and what you really want more than designing your home from the ground up. If you find yourself butting up against budgetary or other constraints, consider these tips:
Make a list.
Rate what’s most important to you. Work from the top down, and know what you’d cut first. With this home, the gallery in the basement was ultimately lower on the list than having a second bathroom.
Be honest about your lifestyle.
Think about your life patterns. If you only sleep in your bedroom, does it really need to be super spacious? If you only shower in your bathroom, do you need a tub? Knowing what you will actually use will go a long way to reducing the overall footprint.
“When the homeowner engages with some of the work themselves, they get more satisfaction with the finished product,” David says. “And it takes a little bit off the bottom line.”
The Highlights1. Though it’s not a dedicated bedroom on the plan, the office has space enough for a bed, should the need arise.
2. A generous walk-in pantry is a wise spatial investment, even in a smaller home.
3. To maximize space, the kitchen, dining space and living room are combined to create a cozy common area. A corner wood-burning unit saves space as it heats the whole house.
4. A mudroom/laundry area located next to the entrance provides a convenient landing spot for muddy boots and heavy coats while confining clutter to an out-of-the-way location.
See also: The Case for Designing a Custom Plan