A grandmother’s modern backyard cottage | microhouse

Modern backyard cottage in Seattle with one bedroom and a loft in 650 sq ft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Wanting to be closer to her family, Sylvia recently moved from North Dakota to this modern “granny flat” in her daughter’s Seattle backyard. When her daughter’s family purchased their house, they had made sure it was zoned for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and that the yard was large enough to add one.

The property they chose was ideal for an ADU. The backyard sloped away from the house, with views over the neighboring homes to Seattle’s Lake Washington and the more distant Mount Rainier. The slope would allow for large window areas facing the views and the sun without compromising privacy.

Modern backyard cottage in Seattle with one bedroom and a loft in 650 sq ft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Those factors drove much of the design by architect Bruce Parker of microhouse, a Seattle firm that specializes in backyard cottages. He placed the cottage to one side of the yard so as not to block views from the main house, and put the living room on the downhill end. The bedroom and bathroom are at the other end with the kitchen in the middle.

Modern backyard cottage in Seattle with one bedroom and a loft in 650 sq ft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The living room has a raised ceiling but there is a loft space over the kitchen and bedroom. Sylvia uses the loft as a music studio and a playroom for her granddaughter, though it could easily be a second bedroom. There seems to be adequate headroom for standing, at least on the side where the sloped ceiling is higher. The total floor space comes to 650 ft2 (60.4 m2). The cottage is topped by a pair of shed roofs having a low pitch to match the roof on the 1950s modern house at the front of the site.

Modern backyard cottage in Seattle with one bedroom and a loft in 650 sq ft. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

To reduce the home’s overall height, the ground floor walls under the loft were reduced to 7’ tall instead of the usual 8’. By designing an open ceiling with exposed floor joists, the architect was able to recover most of the lost ceiling height. The raised ceiling in the adjacent living room also balances the lower one in the kitchen.

A pantry wall in the kitchen provides abundant storage, eliminating the need for upper cabinets. That left the wall free for a big window over the sink, and keeps the compact kitchen from feeling confined.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Photographs courtesy of microhouse.

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