Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

The House Behind House

We love ADUs. They have the power to do the near-impossible: pack more housing into suburban and other low-density areas that were not designed to be dense. And given that they’re typically wedged into a backyard, they err on the compact and efficient side of design. And we love this particular 550 sq ft Seattle ADU by Cast Architecture.

The house was built in the backyard of client Kate Lichtenstein. Tim Hammer, the architect who designed the project, is a bit of an expert in designing small spaces, having spent 18 months studying high-density housing in Kobe, Japan as well as living in 550-square-foot fisherman’s shack in Ballard, WA himself. Informed by these experiences, Hammer created a space that feels light and spacious, despite the tiny footprint.

The house has great eco cred, enjoying a 5-star Built Green designation. It uses a ton of salvaged materials including stairs made of an old bowling lane. It also features LED lighting, a super-efficient boiler heater, low-VOC paints and caulks and radiant floors of fly-ash concrete (a by-product of burning coal for energy) and an exterior envelope with two inches of rigid insulation and wall cavities filled with an additional 5 ½ inches of cotton insulation from recycled blue jeans.

Lichtenstein built the place after the City of Seattle started allowing ADU construction on single-family lots in 2010. We hope more municipalities take Seattle’s lead by permitting these innovative little homes to sprout up in backyards everywhere.

Via Seattle Magazine

  • TDHill

    Stunning! Love the open stairs that allow easy access to the loft bedroom. Cozy, warm, and everything one needs in a tidy, light-filled package. Great use of space and energy-efficient. Wow- well done!

  • Tim Domenico

    Nice to hear this house is so energy efficient. It most likely uses half the energy of a similar sized house without these features.

    Hot water heat is almost the most efficient use of home heating fuel. I visited a friend of mine in Colorado Springs that had built a custom home adjoining the Kissing Camels golf course. He showed me the hot water heating unit in the basement. It had a series of about eight valves above the unit on a manifold. These valves let him select which parts of the house to heat. This, 6 inch walls, and the argon filled double pained windows let him get away with spending about 25% of what his neighbors were probably paying to heat their homes.

    When he built his cabin in the mountains above Colorado Springs the design was even more fuel efficient. He used hot water radiant heat. This is a system where they lay down a pattern of plastic tubing before pouring the concrete floors. During the winter they run hot water through this tubing to heat the home. No energy is wasted as all the heat for the home radiates from the floor itself.

  • Ani

    Really nice! I’d live in a space like this. Looks plenty roomy to me as the key is good design (which this one has for sure).