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4 Must-Haves for Your Not-So-Big Home

Jonathan Orpin, founder and owner at New Energy Works Timberframers, shares four things to include in even the humblest abode.



Jonathan Orpin, founder and owner at New Energy Works Timberframers, is a champion for smart design — no matter the size of the home. “So many of our clients now are building smaller homes because they simply don’t need a bigger one,” he says. “Seems smart for many reasons: less vacuuming, less heating and cooling, less taxes. And, for many, less strain on the finances as we get to the point where retirement shines bright and hopeful.”

But are there design elements you should squeeze into every home despite the square footage? Jonathan shares four things to include in even the humblest abode:

1. Open living area

“One of the things we tend to do in our designs is include a combined kitchen/dining/living area that we call ‘the commons.’ By holding these important spaces together in a related but separated area, you actually can use it for a variety of purposes. It’s a flexible space, which makes sense in a small home.”

2. Pantry

“I always plan for a pantry. It’s a cheap form of storage and it saves a lot of room. A pantry located next to the kitchen allows for an extraordinarily large amount of storage without taking up valuable cupboard space.”

See more Spatial Effects: How to Fit Furniture into Your Timber Frame

3. Walk-In Closets

“Many people think that large closets are a place to slash space in a smaller home, but we always include walk-in closets, complete with drawers, shoe racks, shelves, etc. This way, everything is tucked away in its own area and isn’t cluttering your main floor space.”

4. Mudroom/Mechanical Room

“Even when there’s not square footage to spare, I like to include a mudroom or mechanical room right next to the front door or the main door people will be using. Big or small, this type of closed-off space keeps everything nice and organized.”

See more How to Design A Timber Frame Bedroom Floor Plan