bungalitos match historic homes

In Austin, Texas, there are many lovely craftsman and bungalow homes within city limits. Red River Restorations not only renovates these charmers but also constructs backyard bungalitos to match the historic homes.

These tinies may be used as an office, guest house, play room, yoga studio, storage shed, art studio, garden room or sanctuary. They have electricity though no plumbing.

Here are two drool-worthy and elegant bungalitos!

This 140 sq. ft. tiny bungalito is an authentic craftsman structure, built from scratch. (Red River Restorations)

This 140 sq. ft. tiny bungalito is an authentic craftsman structure, built from scratch. (Red River Restorations)

Inside the bungalito, there are many fine wood treatments in the loft, ceiling and ladder. (Red River Restorations)

Inside the bungalito, there are many fine wood treatments in the loft, ceiling and ladder. (Red River Restorations)

In a bungalito with Germanic touches, note the wider yet smaller dormer windows. (Red River Restorations)

In a bungalito with Germanic touches, note the wider yet smaller dormer windows. (Red River Restorations)

Doors match nicely, with the main house on the left and Germanic bungalito version on the right. (Red River Restorations)

Doors match nicely, with the Germanic main house on the left and bungalito version on the right. (Red River Restorations)

Why create bungalitos?

John Hindman, of Red River Restorations, explains what motivates him and his crew to build bungalitos.

“We are craftsman, we make everything by hand. Our goal is to create a space for our clients that is beautiful, unique and very functional. The type of work that we do is not easily found in today’s economy or society. People don’t do this kind of work anymore. We want to bring woodworking back and quality back.”

“So many of the older houses which are wonderful and well-built are small, and it’d be wonderful to have a little bit more space. Thus we created an outbuilding that can give you 100 square feet, up to 200 square feet, that will match the house in terms of quality and design, and it will be a beautiful building and yet very functional.”

We think that John and his crew have a great gig, keeping up woodworking traditions  — and enhancing Austin with tiny houses that are built to last.

 

bath house into tiny cottage

One look at this simple bath house, and we see a completely different purpose: a perfect, one-bedroom tiny cottage. Located in Pt. Reyes (CA), the bath house is used for summer fun at a seaside family compound.

Fortunately, architect Heidi Richardson creates flexible designs so you may re-arrange this tiny cottage with a larger great room, smaller bathroom and separate bedroom or sleeping area. Her building plans are for sale, with customizations extra, through houseplans.com.

This tiny place is inviting and simple. It's 150 sq. ft. for the main room, plus another 70 sq. ft. for storage or internal expansion. (Houseplans.com)

This tiny place is inviting and simple. It’s 150 sq. ft. for the main room, plus another 70 sq. ft. for storage or internal expansion. (Houseplans.com)

With a farmhouse look, you find a full porch that measures 90 sq. ft. Note the practical, long lasting trek deck for this wet climate. (Houzz.com)

With a farmhouse look, you find a full porch that measures 90 sq. ft. Note the practical, long lasting trex deck for this wet climate. (Houzz.com)

A country-cute bedroom is possible in a tiny cottage! There's plenty of room for two, including a closet, bench and dresser to place your items. (Houzz.com)

A country-cute bedroom is possible in a tiny cottage! There’s plenty of room for two, including a closet, bench and dresser to place your items. (Houzz.com)

sheds are for people, not things

Backyard sheds have been going upscale, as they transform into extra living space for their owners. It turns out that sheds are used more frequently for space rather than storage purposes.

This 100+ square foot garden office, called the Alexander MKII, may be ordered as a kit or be fully built on site. (Dunster House)

This 100+ square foot garden office, called the Alexander MKII, may be ordered as a kit or be fully built on site. (Dunster House)

Today, research from shed manufacturer Dunster House (UK) revealed that over half of sheds get used for hobbies or relaxation. Only 43% are for storage and 4% are for aesthetic, garden appeal. Alex Murphy discussed his company’s findings with the UK Independent:

“We all know that sheds have a practical use, but hadn’t realized so many people were using them as a bolthole from the stresses and strain of their everyday lives, either to grab a bit of peace and quiet, or to relax and enjoy their favorite hobbies.”

Let’s assume similar backyard shed uses in the USA. While sheds keep getting nicer, there’s a limit to adding creature comforts because they would run afoul of local zoning and codes. Tiny houses on wheels may be a solid alternative, as they are legally able to access plumbing, water and electricity.

It will be interesting to see how the demand for traditional sheds versus more elaborate tiny houses evolves over the next few years.

downsizing but valuing your books

Although we are in the age of Kindle, many beautiful bookshelves still exist! If you haven’t moved in a while, there could be a collection covering many years.

Do you have to give up your library? We like this bookcase wall, enveloping the door and storage. (Dezeen)

Do you have to give up your library? We like this bookcase wall, enveloping the door and storage. (Dezeen)

It is hard to part with books, though often necessary when going into a smaller house. One friend we knew had 25 boxes of back-breaking titles, ranging from high school math texts through the most unmemorable airport trash pick-ups.

While most books were untouched for decades, she insisted on keeping any book she had purchased. The process of downsizing was difficult, though she wasn’t a hoarder in other ways. We organized things by genre first.

Over the next few weeks, books were donated to libraries, schools and book sales discovered in neighboring towns.  It was a slow enough process, driven in part by bagging and placing books into the car trunk as a motivating force.

Eventually, we were down to three shelves.  At this stage, a new book rule took place to “catch and release” them.  If a book came in, then a book went out the door.  It created a new kind of freedom, without all the (literal) heavy baggage.

tiny guest house adds charm in 1920s bungalow yard

In a historic district, a backyard guest house has to conform to zoning and building codes as well as receive a certificate of appropriateness.

On this property, a nearly 100-year-old bungalow lends its design elements to the 200 square foot tiny house. There are exposed rafter tails, three over one windows and a front door that’s downsized but identical to the larger home.

Entry into yellow home, adorned with three over one windows. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Entry into yellow home, adorned with three over one windows. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

The house stays light and bright with large windows, white walls and a cathedral ceiling to the roof-line. The great room is well designed and takes advantage of the space.

Great Room seen behind Peter Hartel, as he ascends to the loft. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Great Room seen behind Peter Hartel, as he ascends to the loft. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

In the video tour, you’ll see a roomy kitchen, great room, breakfast nook, bathroom plugged into the property’s utilities, queen-sized sleeping loft and storage loft. The sleeping loft is particularly large in this home.

Large and airy sleeping loft features a queen-sized bed and mission-styled lighting for evening reading. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Large and airy sleeping loft features a queen-sized bed and mission-styled lighting for evening reading. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Of note, the built-in breakfast area is stunning and where we would spend a lot of time. Owner Peter Hartel built the eastern red cedar slab table along with the chandelier and seating.

Hand-made table and benches are can seat four. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Hand-made slab table, benches and cushions can seat four. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

The tiny house is built on pilings, an appropriate and safe choice in a non-earthquake prone, warmer area like Athens, GA. In other locations, a full foundation may be a better choice.