Little Houses in Big Cities: Dave Sarti's Red Box


Karrie Jacobs, author of The Perfect $100,000 House, described in Metropolis how zoning regulations in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver are being modified to promote infill, smaller housing, and to "say yes to small instead of no to big."

One small house that she loved was Dave Sarti's 800 square foot little red box in Seattle. "It’s a sweet fire-engine-red box planted in the backyard of a Central District home. I walked down the grassy driveway past an unremarkable blue traditional home and was surprised to see this Bauhaus cube where another yard might have a swing set. The red HardiPanel siding made it look very much of the moment, but the efficiency of design and small size were reminiscent of the workers’ houses that Gropius and his contemporaries built in Europe between the wars."


From the Seattle Times: The house is a simple space, "more about volume than anything else," Sarti says. The 14-foot ceilings in the living room, sparse furnishings, light-colored walls and honey-toned wooden cabinetry and stairway emphasize the sense of expansiveness. "I probably could have squeezed in a third bedroom upstairs, but then I'd be dealing with a bunch of small rooms," Sarti says. "It was important to me to have a small house, but also to have rooms proportioned such that they felt gracious. I didn't want it to feel as if I was trying to do too much."

Sarti hired a builder but worked on it himself for seven months, and did most of the finishing work himself, and was able to keep costs of the house to $ 180,000. Structure is straightforward wood frame construction, with HardiPanel fiber-cement siding, although I shudder to think what the red will look like in a couple of years, it usually goes chalky from exposure to sunlight. ::Metropolis and ::Seattle Times via ::Future House Now


photos from Benjamin Benschneider of the Seattle Times

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