Little Laneway House in Calgary Looks and Acts Big

©. Studio North via Dezeen

Studio North packs a lot into 859 square feet.

More than anything else, laneway housing brings out very literal Not In My Backyard types. In some cities like Toronto, they have been proposed and opposed for decades. In Vancouver, they have a very strict bylaw controlling overlooks and privacy that is working well, but wow, it's tough. Laneway houses are always a challenge.

house and drawing

© Studio NorthIn Calgary, Studio North has built an interesting 850 square foot laneway house that's behind an existing historic house. This is one of the great virtues of building in back lanes; it creates much-needed additional housing units behind without dramatic changes to what's in front. It can keep people who want to downsize in their neighborhood. As the architects note on their site:

The design of the Withrow Laneway House aims to reflect the changing needs of Calgarians with inventive and adaptable uses of space. The compact living solutions include a built-in dining room table that folds out to accommodate large gatherings, storage space integrated into the framing of walls, and a sleeping loft in the vaulted ceiling space. During construction, the design was adapted to incorporate repurposed building materials such as windows rescued from the 2013 flood, a second-hand fire pole, and salvaged glass as clerestory windows.
view from loft

© Studio North

The architects tell Dezeen:

"The project offered an opportunity to save one of Calgary's heritage houses while building an affordable, compact living space in the inner city," said locally based Studio North, founded by Matthew Kennedy and Mark Erickson. The income from renting the heritage home to a family will pay the majority of the mortgage on the entire property, giving us the ability to build a laneway house for around C$300,000 – about C$100,000 less than buying a new condo of a similar size in the same community."
plan of house

© Studio North via Dezeen

There are a few things that I find a bit odd; two full bathrooms and a powder room in such a small house seem excessive and a waste of space. And I worry about firemen's poles in houses. And I cannot figure out where the home office is.

ladder and dog house

© Studio North via Dezeen

But it does demonstrate that you can put a lot of nice stuff into 859 square feet, including a loft over the bathrooms and a doghouse. More photos on Dezeen.

doghouse detail

© Studio North via Dezeen