House Enthusiast in Things That Inspire

There's been fun news here at Katie Hutchison Studio.  Earlier this week the Atlanta-based blog Things That Inspire featured an interview with me in the "Inspirational Architect" series. It was an honor to be included. The response at Things That Inspire has since inspired a new, House Enthusiast, magazine category called "Readers write." This is my first "Readers write" post, which will typically invite folks to share their thoughts on residential design, much the way the readers at Things That Inspire commented on my request for small-house design input. 

Take a look at this excerpt from my Things That Inspire interview, along with a reader comment, and then add your comments:

"I’m currently brainstorming the design of three or more homes to sell as design and/or construction sets available to any and all who might wish to purchase them. They will be small, ranging from approximately 1000, to 1400, to 1800 square feet. I envision each design springing from a vernacular type, reimagined for today. Since only a fraction of the population can afford to retain an architect for a custom design, I hope that my drawings will enable a larger audience to own an architect-designed home. Since no site or homeowner is alike, I plan to include a range of extra services to assist with customizing the drawings to suit a specific situation. Since it’s still early in the planning stage for the three designs, I’d be interested to learn from your readers what attributes they might like to see in the three homes."

I received great suggestions from Things That Inspire readers. Susan Salo emailed some particularly thorough recommendations which I thought would be fun to share. Here's Susan's list:

"Well then, where to begin? The 1000 sq ft. home may be too small, making some of my considerations irrelevant. The following are merely a few things I wouldn't want to compromise on.

  1. No major room less than 12 ft. across in either direction. Obviously, this does not apply to powder rooms and utility rooms/closets.
  2. Kitchens cannot be thoroughfares or should at least have a corridor or path off to the side, but not in the path of an appliance. Ooh, aggravating.
  3. Powder rooms that are also not placed in a thoroughfare. I feel they should be tucked away or put in a separate hallway. I think it only makes sense for the privacy of guests.
  4. My personal preference is to have long, low windows which are low enough to view the outdoors while seated and, generally, just lots of windows. French doors are a given or even a Dutch door (where appropriate), making outdoors inviting and accessible.
  5. Staircases are usually made so prominent! Because they are meant for family members and, at times, guests, I think they should be placed centrally or at the back part of a home. Especially when the laundry has to be traipsed from the second floor to the first and back up again.  Speaking of laundry rooms, one should not only be large enough to have an area to fold clothes, but also to house multiple hampers and a hanging rod! Tall order in a small home, I know.
  6. Staircases should also be wide enough to allow comfortable movement if two people are passing and when carrying laundry and such AND for moving furniture.
  7. Doorways that are no less than 3 ft wide. Again, to allow for comfortable movement not only with passing people, but also when elbows are outstretched while carrying things and, again, furniture.
  8. High ceilings for me! Even though I'm petite, I like space. Not the multi-leveled soaring kind, but more like 9 or 10 ft. This would be even more imperative in a small home for me. I'm always amazed at the difference a mere 12 inches  can make!
  9. Closet near (not necessarily next to) front door for guests' coats. If closets can have windows, so be it.
  10. Pocket doors where space is tight. They make so much sense!
  11. If dormers fit the style of home, I like them broad. Loved your post on dormers!
  12. Sheltered exterior doors are important.

Well, this is obviously a little more than two cents worth and, although I could go on and on, I realize these are all just one person's opinion."

Thanks Susan. I'd love to know what House Enthusiast readers would like to include in their small-house wish list too. Add your thoughts in the comments section of this "Readers write" post.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast