Smallworks Studios/Laneway Housing Arts & Crafts 750

A laneway house, as I’m sure you’re all aware by now, is a house built on existing lots (typically in the backyard of an existing house) that face onto the back lane or alley. Their popularity rose on the west coast of Canada, particularly in metro Vancouver, but have since spread across North America as a chic development in crowded residential areas, which is where Smallworks Studios/Laneway Housing comes in.

Obviously space is at a premium on metro lots, so small house sensibilities are often applied in tandem with the obvious economic advantages of building with a small environmental and physical footprint. In Vancouver, the average laneway house measures only 550 square feet and consists of 1.5 stories.

This home from Smallworks Studios, known as the Arts & Crafts 750, has two bedrooms and two sizeable bathrooms, and its own yard. The living space is surprisingly with a living room, kitchen, closets and ample storage.

It seems laneway houses have become a little less popular elsewhere in Canada when cities began to examine their effects on safety and services, such as access for emergency services, trash removal etc. One specific report in Toronto in 2006 recommended the curtailing of such construction, citing privacy, overlook and shadowing issues for adjacent neighbors, in addition to the aforementioned.

The Toronto report also cites difficulty with installing the necessary public and private infrastructure for a dwelling that fronts onto a laneway. Such construction could, according to the report, hinder emergency services. Homeowner parking could also present a problem with such access. Yet another reason to live off the grid and buy a bicycle, if you ask me. But if you must live in town, laneway houses are pretty interesting. Read more about it at BlogTo.

You can check out more of Smallworks Studios’ small house designs here:

The Smallworks Builder
Arts & Crafts – 500 sqft
Edwardian – 500 sqft
Loft – 750 sqft
West Coast Loft – 500 sqft

Check out some other firms designing laneway homes:
West Lane Homes

All images courtesy of


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  1. 2

    We live/work just outside of Vancouver, BC and have seen some Laneway houses, they’re very interesting and often larger than we expected. We’d say some are actually full blown houses in their own right.

    There’s also a variety of architectural concepts at work from modern to traditional.

    Seattle too has a growing backyard cottage scene. And even some smaller places like Port Townsend, WA have tiny backyard bungalows all over town.

    This is a nice little article with good photos : )

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