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Small square footage doesn’t have to mean small living. Thoughtful design can go a long way towards big living.

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Having a small square footage to work with shouldn’t limit your living. You can make the most out of small spaces with smart and thoughtful design.

Building and living in small spaces was quite trendy just a few years back, and while the topic might  not be getting a lot of press coverage at the moment, it is a strong trend in home building.

Count me in. I think small spaces can live just as big as some McMansions out there. Plus, they are less work to maintain, cozy, and can highlight your personality with well-placed details.

A few years ago I finished building Mountain River Estates, in Bend, Oregon. It is a neighborhood of 19 homes along the Deschutes River on the Southwest side of Bend. The focus of these homes were: small space, big detail, high quality. The shots above were taken in our first home from the neighborhood. It is a single-level home, 2050 square feet, three bedroom, den, great room plan. Talk about one house packing a lot of punch. And, it’s doable!

This Great Room has a ton of detail: hand-wrought knotty-Alder wood floors, cabinets and trim, dry stack REAL stone masonry fireplace, and mortise and tendon timbers above the cathedral vaulted ceiling.

The kitchen includes a small breakfast area, or deck seating at the granite slab island. Dining tables were typically placed either to the left of the kitchen area, or some made the den a formal dining room itself. In Bend, outdoor living is just as important as indoor living, so I made sure to put a slider to a covered patio just off the Great Room/Kitchen. Secondary, outdoor kitchens became part of the plan just about from the very beginning. A second sliding door connected the outdoor covered patio to the Master Suite, so you had a big choice in the morning: morning coffee in the kitchen? Or outside next to the Deschutes River? Hard choices.

If you are having trouble finding a home that’s a manageable size and yet still has everything you are looking for, you might want to talk to a good architect. I can refer a few to you, should you like. Otherwise, come talk to me in Bend, Oregon. We have a lot going on here — and if you like dreamy small spaces that live big, we can do it!

Jess Alway