Category: environmental design

Granny knows how to Downsize

By , January 9, 2014 11:50 am

My 95 year old mother in-law lives in a Granny Flat, she came west from cold Ohio to live behind her sons home in warm San Luis Obispo 15 years ago. Evelyn climbs the exterior staircase to her one bedroom 400 sq ft apartment above a garage. I was inspired to build my own studio following my Granny’s pioneering idea. Mother in-law apartments or Granny Flats have been around for years, but no longer just for Granny’s, ADUs ( Accessory Dwelling Units) offer rental income, work studios, and promote community Multi-generational living and increase your homes property value.

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Granny Evelyn with son Damian

Today the modern term is Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

In the fall of 2012 I went to a day long summit the International Living Future Institute held in Portland Oregon. Build Small LIVE LARGE  brought together architects, developers, builders, remodelers, urban designers, policy makers and real estate professionals to discuss, inspire and share ideas to craft strategies for this growing housing market. Go here to see videos from the summit. This was the first ever summit on space-efficient housing!

Currently the planning bureau and Portland City Council have waived Systems Development Charges on ADUs and they have increased the ADU size limit from 33% to 75% of the primary dwelling or 800 sq ft, whatever is smaller.

Go to this website for a one stop source of information about ADU’s, granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages.

Let me share with you my 380 sq ft Sellwood Studio ADU that I build last year!

First Permits and paperwork- Upfront work but well worth it.

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Now the fun part tearing down the old garage that just was a storage place for junk not a car.

DSC07446 300x225 Granny knows how to DownsizeThe size 16 x 24 was similar footprint to the garage but was vaulted and has a private patio

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BEFORE rear of existing garage

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AFTER rear of Sellwood Studio

Emily Refi was the architect that I worked with she now works for Waterleaf Architects.

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Architect Emily Refi at front of Studio-                            complete with red   Vespa scooter!

I like how the Studio is similar in scale to the red cottage in front and that it sits in the middle of my urban garden.

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Red Cottage in front is 900 sq ft

Since the garage was demolished a small garden shed as built with nod to the old garage- the original green door was used.

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View from Studio set in middle of garden

Thanks Granny Evelyn for inspiring me to build a modern flat!  Next time we meet I will take you inside!

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French Garage Makeover

By , January 17, 2012 11:02 am

Hi all! Happy New Year!

I’m getting back into the swing of things finally and today, I have a fabulous garage make-over to share with you - all the way from Bordeaux! (You all know how I have a thing for garage projects!)

This tiny 441 sq. ft. space was designed by the ingenious team at FABRE/deMARIEN.

Check this out before shot…dull, dingy and dark.

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Not anymore, step into this light, airy, beautifully designed space...
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Glass walls allow plenty of natural light in and minimal white furniture and cabinetry keep the look crisp and clean.
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That wooden cube houses the sleeping loft, bathroom with shower, washing machine and storage. The small staircases leads up to the bed.
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The built in desk and convertible sofa offer both function and flexibitly – which is SO key when dealing with limited square footage!
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The sleeping loft has clothing storage and shelf space. The skylight makes the space fell less closed in.
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A simple, but functional bathroom is underneath the bed area. Love the generous counter space!
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The deck extends the living space and is a great place for dining al fresco on a lovely evening.
442660 0 8 9196 modern patio French Garage MakeoverPretty fantastic right? To check out the project in its entirety and read more about the process please go here.
Have a wonderful week!

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All images via Houzz

Airstream Dreams

By , December 14, 2011 11:12 am

Downsizing is all about priorities. What do you really need to live, work and play? What are the essentials? Arriving at a place where your space is smaller may actually lead to a larger lifestyle. Mobility, less financial burden, a clutter free existence – FREEDOM!

So, I love it when I see successful people living in downsized homes whether it be a condo, apartment, town-home or trailer! Check out this fabulous retro airstream that has only 150 sq. ft of living space and has been refurbished by landscape architect, Andreas Stavroupolo.

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Airstream 09 1 Kind Design e1323888553232 Airstream DreamsAndreas actually works from a second trailer that provides ample natural light, plenty of desk and wall space to spread out his plans and is equipped with solar panels that power his laptop and other electronics. Now, that’s just plain cool (and green)!

Stavroupolo loves the freedom this lifestyle affords him and the ability to live and work on or near his work sites helps him personally connect with each project.

Do you have any dreams of owning an airstream? Or perhaps you already do…I would love to hear about it!
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Images via here.

My New Old Shed

By , October 12, 2011 5:36 pm

Hello friends! I’m back! Summer was busy, busy and my time spent with family and friends was top priority! Now that Fall has come and everyone is getting settled back into their schedules, I have found time to work on my blog once more. As I mentioned in a past post, my son and I worked on rejuvenating the garden of my rental home and we were also in the process of building a storage shed. Both projects turned out brilliantly and here are some of the pics to show our fabulous results!

First up, the garden. It was so long neglected, full of weeds and completely overgrown but we brought it back to life!

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DSC04480 640x480 e1318462976555 My New Old ShedAnd yes, that is my “new old shed” back there! Cute right?

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DSC04490 360x480 My New Old ShedEven though our summer was extremely mild, Peter managed to pick a ripe tomato from the vine before heading back to school!

Okay, now for my shed! As you know, I researched sheds online, in stores and just about everywhere! I wanted just the right design. Simple, funky and constructed using some of the salvaged materials from the garage remodel (soon to be granny flat) I’m working on.

Finally, I found a shed builder – Justin Marical – that had great ideas and would build to my specs. Check out his great company here. He was very open to using my salvaged materials and helped me design a 12 ft long and 3 ft deep, lean-to style shed that fit perfectly with the scale of the backyard garden.

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DSC04444 360x480 My New Old ShedThis old window was from the main house which I had replaced with a new vinyl double hung.

DSC04447 e1318464436271 My New Old ShedPeter washed down the old door from the garage, which is now the front door to my shed.

DSC04468 640x480 e1318464506511 My New Old ShedThe shed threshold was created with bricks that we found on site. Peter did a fantastic job laying these in.

DSC04474 360x480 My New Old ShedThe beautiful red stained cedar siding was left over from an old condo project I worked on! This siding is usually very expensive but I got a great deal on it and Justin was drooling! ha ha! I added an old flower box that had previously been installed on the main house and the lovely trellis was installed by my very talented Russian carpenter – Eli! He has done some gorgeous work on my beach house too. Even the roof was done with left over composite material. Isn’t it cute!? I’m so happy with the result and it felt good to use materials that most likely would have ended up in a landfill.

What projects did you complete over the summer?

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Small Spaces : A Jewel Box of Ideas

By , August 4, 2011 11:03 am

Hello! Hope your summer is going well. Mine has been very busy – working, gardening, planning my remodel and visiting with family and friends! Finally had some time to check out the internet for some inspiration and I had to share this with you…

Found this amazing design contest  via Jovoto, that has closed but the plans submitted are just fabulous! The assignment was to design a “Jewel Box” studio apartment within 420 sq. ft. Here are a few shots from the 1st place winner

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Some really ingenious ideas here. Go check out more of the design entries…I could have spent all day going thru them! So inventive!

Have a great rest of the week!

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