I was on the west coast recently so I decided to see what the Small House scene was like. I came across architect David Sarti’s house in Seattle on Future House Now. It was also featured in a Seattle Times article by Dean Stahl a few years ago. The photos are by Benjamin Benschneider. More Northwest small houses to come…
Just shy of 800 square feet, this house, sited in the backyard of a Central District home, was built for just under $200 a square foot including the price of the land. The Central District is a residential neighborhood in Seattle located east of Cherry Hill, west of Madrona and Leschi, south of Capitol Hill, and north of Rainier Valley. It is dominated by large lots with older single-family homes and much of it is zoned multi-family. Sarti bought someone’s backyard for $35,000 and built his house there for about $180,000.
Mod and affordable.
This house is pretty simple compared to the Wingardhs Mill House. The ceilings are 14-feet tall in the living room. There are sparse furnishings, lightly colored walls and honey-toned wood accents that create a sense of expansiveness. The ground floor is one open room containing a living room and kitchen; a half bath is near a side entry on the ground floor as well. The open staircase in the living room leads past a storage area on the way up to a master bedroom, a guest bedroom/office and a full bathroom.
Sarti hired a builder and took the better part of a year off to frame, sheath, side and roof. Once enclosed, he did much of the finish work himself. From cabinets to a kitchen island on wheels that slides under a counter to double as a breakfast bar. Minus the doors, the materials are mass-produced, affordable and practical. Plastic-laminate sheeting, modified expanded polystyrene foam (MPS) flooring upstairs, vinyl tile, aluminum windows and fiber-cement panels.
Despite all the custom touches, his costs were less than $200 a square foot, including land, mainly because he did much of the work himself and served as his own contractor.
There you go, do much of the work yourself and your small house doesn’t have to cost $300 or $400 a square foot.