For several years, I’ve been following the work of Ross Chapin Architects, out of Washington state. They specialize in very small to moderately sized cottage-style homes (one might call them “wee”) that may be compact, but are big on charm. I stumbled on the firm after reading an article in the New York Times on the new movement of the “wee” house, which is a housing trend that favors functionality over excess. In other words, McMansions are out, living in a smaller footprint, both literally and figuratively, is IN.

An avid lover of architecture since childhood, I had to check out what other small
home designers were out there, so I Googled my little heart out and found this gem of a firm. Also, keep in mind, I was living in a New York City apartment at the time, so the idea of living in an 800 square foot house seemed not only do-able, but positively luxurious! I had found my dream home(s). However, in the mean time, I gained a large dog and a darling little boy, which put my “wee” home dreams a bit in perspective (although, we did have a good taste of the wee home with the Little Carriage House that Could on Regent St.), making me realize that maybe it’s not totally gluttonous to live in 2,400 square feet, especially if there are possible siblings in said darling son’s future.
Anywho, I digress. I wholeheartedly support this small home movement. It’s green and it’s healthy. Clusters of these small homes have been popping up as “Pocket Neighborhoods”, where builders cram a bunch of these cute little cottages in a small area, usually anchored together by a common area or green-space, which promotes less driving and more human interaction… which is important in our era of emails, Facebook, and yup, blogging. Sounds good, right? To learn more, visit Ross Chapin’s website. Their press page has an amazing bibliography of articles and books on the subject.

A pocket neighborhood. How jovial! (But seriously- how much do you want to live there?!)

Where does this fit in to the Saratoga relevance of my blog? Well, you can order these home plans, easy- peezy, directly from their site. Which means, YOU TOO can build yourself a cunnin’ little cottage by Ross Chapin (I think you would just need a Saratoga architect to stamp it). I would LOVE to see a few little pocket neighborhoods pop in the area. Especially with what’s happening down in Malta, I want to protect our beautiful county from too much sprawl! Here are some of my favorite images and houses from their GoodFit ready-to-buy home plans. Super cute and super affordable!

The Gilann. This house is under 700 square feet and still manages to get in 2 bedrooms and a sleeping loft!

Space: there’s not much of it, but it is EFFICIENT!

The Crab Point- a newer plan. Love the board and batten siding and gooseneck barn light.

Ross Chapin is big on these little eating nooks. A bit cozy, but they sure are sweet to look at!

They also feature wood stoves, almost exclusively. At first I wasn’t a fan (a fireplace is so much cuter!), but then realized how much more efficient a wood stove is. Traditional fireplaces are generally big energy-suckers.

This is still one of my favorites. And again, with a serendipitous name- the Saratoga! (Much like my favorite Yankee Barn Home, the Chelsea.) I swear, I’m not picking them that way.

It’s perfect for a narrow lot.

Unfortunately, it’s only a 1 bedroom… I think I would somehow finagle a bunk room out of the storage room though.

-Chelsea