TALL builds a house
If you've been around us at all in the past year or so you have probably heard us wax poetic about buying a house or a small piece of land in the Ocean Springs area. If you were around us enough, I'm sure we started to sound like broken records (sorry!). After researching our options (spoiler alert: buying a house while both you and your spouse are small business owners is challenging) we decided why buy when we can build? Our family offered up a beautiful piece of property in the Vancleave area to use as an experiment/laboratory, and we set about designing our modest dream home.
We decided we didn't want to build large, but we also didn't want to build "tiny". We settled on 480 sq. ft. with a 240 sq. ft. deck. Whoa! Huge, we know. While 480 sq. ft. doesn't count as tiny for us (we have lived in 160 sq. ft.), it is on the tinier side for most. The perks of building small? We can fit pretty much everything we need in this amount of space, it fits within our budget, and it is a great exercise in planning and space management. The house will be comprised of two "pods", each 240 sq. ft., with a deck in between. The deck will be situated around a maturing water oak (a respectable, albeit little loved tree), and the water oak's limbs cast the perfect amount of shade for those hot summer days. You may be wondering why on earth we would split the house into two sections, or you may be thinking, "those crazy architects", but hear us out! One pod is designed as a living pod- kitchen and living room, while the other is designed as a sleeping pod- master bedroom, bath, and tiny guest room/office. This type of layout hearkens back to the old southern vernacular of the dogtrot. What is a dogtrot you may ask? It is not directly related to the dog in form or function, but rather, it is comprised of two separate buildings with a breezeway in the middle. We are breaking typical dogtrot rules a bit in that our breezeway won't be covered except by that sprawling water oak!
The other reason to split the house in two is that the plan is to move it in the future (nope, it won't be on wheels), and the two small pods are much easier to move than one large unit. We've been doing a bit of research and the idea is to move them much like you would move a shed. With that in mind we will keep an eye out for another piece of property closer to town, and move them when the time is right. Ultimate flexibility is the desired goal. We’ll let you know if it works out that way.
As far as the design of the house, we wanted to keep it mod and simple. The idea was easy to build with clean detailing, the same quirky shape used for both pods, and fun moments scattered throughout. We are working on a tight budget (aren’t we all?), so using locally sourced materials was crucial. While we always assumed that having ourselves as clients- two heavily opinionated designers- would be asking for trouble, it was actually relatively easy. Dare we say, the easiest project we have ever designed? That goes to show that we know what we like, and over the past three years running a business together, we have learned how to communicate our design ideas. It's about time!
One thing we are hoping to gain from working on this project is first hand experience as to what to expect when constructing a building. We believe this is crucial in order for us to accurately guide our clients, and thus far, one month into this ordeal, we have learned more than we could imagine. The permitting process alone deserves a leather bound manual, and we know that is just the beginning. Through this small build we hope to be able to empathize with our clients, offer advice via first hand experience, and make better connections with local suppliers, as well as those in the building trade.
We're showing a few of the renderings and model photos today, and we will be updating you on our progress as we go along. Get ready for loads of photos, and a few sob stories thrown in for good measure. We'd love to answer any questions you may have, and feel free to tell us how crazy we are (it wouldn't be the first time)!