There are five small retreats featured in the small-houses book I'm writing. A small retreat is a getaway like a studio, an entertaining space, a napping spot, etc. in the backyard or off on its own plum parcel. Small retreats can explore -- in an even smaller package -- many of the same design strategies that help small houses to feel comfortable, airy, and spacious despite the size of their footprint.
When it came time for me to design the small retreat above, which is both a screened space and sauna, I took inspiration from not only the retreats in the book but a few of the houses. The resulting schematic design is a nod to some of the gently sloped roofs in the book, cathedral ceiling spaces, large apertures, long views, versatile layouts, ancillary niches, indoor/outdoor connections, succinct finish selections, and choice quality materials (which are noted on the sketches above). What you can't tell from these sketches is that the retreat's very existence will allow me to shape an engaged outdoor court between it and the ranch house renovation/addition it accompanies. All these features will enable a variety of experiences in both the small retreat and the outdoor rooms it fashions, adding much more to the property than the sum of its parts.
Like me, I'm hoping you'll take inspiration from the book. Look for it on bookstore shelves in mid-October 2015.
by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast