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Living Small by Intention

I work with a lot of clients that subscribe to the belief that bigger isn’t necessarily better. As a believer in this myself, it’s been a privilege to be featured in several of the “Not So Big” series of books by Sarah Susanka. I’ve recently had a client who exemplified this concept and I wanted to share their story with you.

Laura and Brian B. found us through the “Not So Big” website (www.sarahsusanka.com). They have a modest little mid-century rambler in what’s become a very exclusive neighbourhood just outside Seattle: Clyde Hill, which happens to be the same small neighbourhood that Bill Gates lives in. Laura and Brian’s house is in an older, more modest section of Clyde Hill; nonetheless, many of these little old homes are being torn down and replaced with McMansions at an alarming rate, much to the chagrin of neighbours who choose to remain (in their original homes).

The city of Clyde Hill has been trying to find ways to dissuade these pumped-up houses from maximizing their footprint and size on these lots, so when we applied for a variance to add a very small addition to this very small existing one-story house, we were met with huge resistance. Laura and I both engaged with the city agents to assure them that our intention was to keep this house small-even espousing the Not-So-Big philosophy; and were able to persuade the city to grant our setback variance to build this 300sf addition, which enabled a remodel that vastly improved the livability of this still-small home.

As a result, Laura & Brian are thrilled with their Not-So-Big home, and the City of Clyde Hill has ear-marked this project as a reference to illustrate the benefits of planning and building modestly but carefully considered!

Thank you, Sarah Susanka, for espousing your philosophies nation-wide! We all benefit in many valuable ways.

Julie Campbell AIA, LEED GA

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