See an Eco-Friendly Backyard Cottage in 700 Square Feet

See an Eco-Friendly Backyard Cottage in 700 Square Feet

– We live in Shoreline, which is the next town north of Seattle. We just love the sort
of outdoorsy lifestyle, fishing for salmon, and crabbing. – Puget Sound, there’s
so much to do out here. – The thing about Shoreline is the lots are much, much larger than in the higher-density
areas of Seattle. And so, it started from
this inkling of an idea, of just a simple studio
square we can rent out, you know, make some side-hustle cash on. – We originally talked
about a smaller structure. It’s not gonna be that much more expensive to have it a little more livable, and have a little bit
higher square footage. – And Sean told us, “I’m
starting this new company “to build backyard cottages
with green building, “and sustainable homes.” – It made us start to think,
we can actually live in this, versus, we’re just gonna use this as a rental for somebody else. – We were only living upstairs in the 900 square foot part of the home. To lower our cost of living
while renting out our home, we were able to save up more money now that we live in this space. We’re really changing the way we live in a really positive way. – The carbon impact of
this home is very low. We don’t have any
concrete foundation here. I use something called Diamond Piers, so there’s 23 of those
underneath this house. That is the foundation of the house. There was no excavators,
no dust, no diesel. – We were very impressed, it was not a massive construction crew. It was just Sean, and he was out here hanging off the rafters of the roof, single-handedly nailing the boards in. – I framed this house out of
almost all reclaimed lumber. 100 plus year old, mostly
fir, from the region. – Not only does it feel good
to bring it back to life again, but also feature it, whether it’s the front wall of the house, or the inside wall when you walk in. – [Sean] You know, the thing
I love about reclaimed wood is you see all the nail
holes, and bolt holes, and it’s got some character to it. – [Anna] Actually, some
of the wood still has like tree sap coming out
of it from 100 years ago. – When it was first being framed out, I was looking at it, it was like, “This is gonna be way too small.” Two rooms, one bathroom and living space. But once the finishes started going in, the flooring and
everything, it felt perfect. – You just feel cozy, and you feel homey, and most people say, “This doesn’t even feel
like 700 square feet,” and they haven’t even seen the
bedrooms or the bathroom yet. – I think the biggest way
we made it feel bigger is the ceiling height. – When he first brought it to us and showed us the initial render, these are gonna be 13-foot ceilings, it’s gonna be really tall. We were like, “Yes, absolutely do that.” Having a bunch of windows
to have natural daylight is so important here in Seattle. – It feels bright and warm
in here at the same time. Our kitchen is incredibly functional. And I was worried moving in here that downsizing to a
small apartment kitchen would feel tight. – We cook every night, and
it doesn’t feel smaller than the big kitchen that we had before. – There’s a full pantry that you can open with these deep drawers
that allow you to access and actually see your food. This amazing spice rack,
which I’ve always wanted. We have a 24 inch sink,
which I thought wast tiny, but the deep sink actually allows you to really use that space effectively. – [Sean] These countertops
are madrona wood, it’s a local, sustainably-sourced wood. It’s a very hard wood, durable. – Sean really brought the
vision for this project. He brought the design, he
brought the level of detail to the green materials. We were just gonna put cheap
vinyl plastic floors in here. The cork floors, I can’t
get enough of them. I didn’t think I would love
them this much, but I just do. They’re cozy, they stay room temperature, and they look really good, and they hide all of the pet hair. – Cork is a renewable resource. They don’t cut down cork trees, they take the bark off, they process it, the tree grows the bark back. The cork is the bark. – Houzz really allowed me
to pull each room together in a really cohesive way. I love that I can pull
up inspiration photos, find products that fit within my space. I had a lot of fun, as well,
just designing my home. So I found the perfect bar stools at the right counter height. Our couch is one of my favorite things, in addition to the rug with it, and seeing those paired next to each other on the ideabook was so important. The fabric is pet friendly. – We actually didn’t have
a couch this nice before, and now I wanna sleep on
this thing all the time. – [Sean] We didn’t waste
any space with hallways, everything’s sort of
right off the core here. – [Anna] The bathroom,
there’s heated floors, I got my fun tile that I wanted, and the clean lines of the shower wall going up to a gorgeous window. We have an office where
Donovan works from home. And then there’s the
bedroom, which I love, because the window stares
up at these evergreen trees. We knew it was going to be a smaller room, so you wanna make sure that everything you’re bringing in
is functional and beautiful. – [Donovan] We put in
our own closet system. Living in this small space, it’s really necessary to think about what you’re buying and
where it’s gonna go. – It’s a very functional use of space, because of the items we’ve picked out, and the design of this
home with the tall ceilings and the natural light,
and the big open space. I love that Sean incorporated these French doors that
open to the outside deck. Outside time is so valuable to people that live in the Northwest. Believe it or not, when the sun comes out, it does get warm here, it
does get up to the 90s, and rarely, the 100s, and so I’m really excited to entertain and host friends out
on this beautiful deck. – In green building, we wanna build houses as airtight as possible. I added a layer of exterior insulation that wraps the house,
it’s outside the plywood, covers all the studs, so think of like a blanket
around your house, right? If you’re cold in the winter, do you wanna stuff
insulation between your ribs, or put on a jacket? So this house has a jacket, okay. It’s two inches of mineral wool board. For heating and cooling we’re
using a ductless heat pump, also known as a mini-split. In the bedrooms, we’re using
a radiant panel on the ceiling that creates a radiant heat. It kinda creates that sort
of campfire, cozy warmth. – The way he vacuum-sealed this
house was very interesting. He basically vaporizes caulking, blows it throughout the house, and it auto-seals the house. – Really, it’s like fixing
a flat for your house. Because it’s so airtight,
we wanna provide fresh air. I’m doing that in this
case through an ERV, an energy recovery ventilator. The recovery part is
before that stale air, which has been heated
inside in the winter, leaves the building, it exchanges heat with the incoming air. They don’t mix, but
the heat is transferred to the incoming air. So on a day like today, where it’s 45 out, instead of bringing in 45 degree air, I’m bringing in 63 degree air, or something like that, fresh air. It’s not creating heat, but
it’s recovering a lot of it, so it’s more comfortable,
it’s more energy-efficient. – So we built a really
strong friendship with Sean, and we worked really closely together. We never felt like we had
to compromise on details, we would give him
feedback, and he would say, “Oh, I have a way to make that work.” – It’s very fulfilling to
have that home finished, the homeowners be very happy with it, and walk in to a nice cozy
home, and a nice space. – We went from 1,800 square
foot to 700 square foot. – We decluttered our space,
we decluttered our minds, and we’ve been able to
spend a lot more time doing the things we love and spending time with family and friends. (gentle music)

24 thoughts on “See an Eco-Friendly Backyard Cottage in 700 Square Feet

  1. Learn more about this beautiful home here:

  2. I could EASILY live in that home. I lived in an apartment that was a bit smaller, but was so well laid out that it seemed huge yet cozy.
    This was stunning.

  3. I love that it is all on one floor! I am 65 years old and beginning to have a harder time getting around. I want to downsize, but it has to be all on one, single floor. I can't have a loft, because I can't reach it. This house is perfect!

  4. is good to see that the city there allows people to build a second home in the back of their house…it is smart too, because if they rent the big house the city will gain in taxes….Unfortunately, not every city council gets people so smart as in this case.

  5. Absolutely stunning! I โค๏ธ Houzz and kudos to Sean for the amazing work heโ€™s doing. Itโ€™s great to see a builder thinking this way.

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