Small in Seattle

written by:
October 21, 2011

For architect Michelle Linden, living and working in 600 square feet poses its challenges, but one of the biggest was completing a gut-renovation on the tightest of budgets—just $25,000. Originally built in the 1950s, Linden's home wasn't optimized for today's living styles, but was located in a neighborhood rich with amenities and close enough for her husband, Cameron, to bike to work. Location trumped the lack of storage, closed-off spaces, and outdated finishes, and with thoughtful planning and cost-conscious choices, Linden, who heads Seattle's Atelier A+D, crafted a home that's short on space, but long on personality and charm.

  • 
  Michelle Linden encountered a common real estate dilemma: a less than stellar home in a convenient and desirable neighborhood. Rather than scrap plans to be able to walk to the grocery store, live adjacent to a major bike route, and be close to friends, Linden decided to take on the fixer-uper.

    Michelle Linden encountered a common real estate dilemma: a less than stellar home in a convenient and desirable neighborhood. Rather than scrap plans to be able to walk to the grocery store, live adjacent to a major bike route, and be close to friends, Linden decided to take on the fixer-uper.

  • 
  Living small means evaluating what you really need. "Think about what you need rather than what your friends have," advises Michelle. Everyone uses their home differently and you can get rid of a lot of the excess. For example, we didn't need a walk in closet or a dining room." The 600-square-foot home is where Linden's architecture office, Atelier A+D is based, so they did need to create an office space, shown here in the background.

    Living small means evaluating what you really need. "Think about what you need rather than what your friends have," advises Michelle. Everyone uses their home differently and you can get rid of a lot of the excess. For example, we didn't need a walk in closet or a dining room." The 600-square-foot home is where Linden's architecture office, Atelier A+D is based, so they did need to create an office space, shown here in the background.

  • 
  The living room coffee table is Michelle's own design and the Salema sofa was purchased from Area 51, a Seattle purveyor of new and vintage furniture.

    The living room coffee table is Michelle's own design and the Salema sofa was purchased from Area 51, a Seattle purveyor of new and vintage furniture.

  • 
  Michelle kept the character of the mid-century home intact, but didn't mimic the style in her new alterations. For example, she kept the Roman brick fireplace, which became a storage space.

    Michelle kept the character of the mid-century home intact, but didn't mimic the style in her new alterations. For example, she kept the Roman brick fireplace, which became a storage space.

  • 
  Custom furniture rubs elbows with catalog pieces in Michelle's home. "Nobody wants their house to look like a cut sheet. It's really important to pick the pieces that speak to you and not worry about where they come from," says Michelle. Ikea chairs surround a table Michelle designed and built from lumber left over from the renovation.

    Custom furniture rubs elbows with catalog pieces in Michelle's home. "Nobody wants their house to look like a cut sheet. It's really important to pick the pieces that speak to you and not worry about where they come from," says Michelle. Ikea chairs surround a table Michelle designed and built from lumber left over from the renovation.

  • 
  Dishes rest atop a shelf made from a type of textured lumber typically used for framing. The horizontal tile behind the shelf echoes the pattern and proportion of the bricks used in the hearth.Michelle and Cameron did nearly all of the work themselves, which was often a learning experience. "We had to be willing to roll with the punches. A dimple in the concrete counter isn’t a mistake—it adds character," she says. "When people visit our house it tells them a story, and I think we all respond to that."

    Dishes rest atop a shelf made from a type of textured lumber typically used for framing. The horizontal tile behind the shelf echoes the pattern and proportion of the bricks used in the hearth.Michelle and Cameron did nearly all of the work themselves, which was often a learning experience. "We had to be willing to roll with the punches. A dimple in the concrete counter isn’t a mistake—it adds character," she says. "When people visit our house it tells them a story, and I think we all respond to that."

  • 
  Linden salvaged her Kitchen Aid oven and microwave from a friend who was updating his kitchen.

    Linden salvaged her Kitchen Aid oven and microwave from a friend who was updating his kitchen.

  • 
  Linden used standard 2x2 daltile in the bathroom, but swapped out individual tiles to create a custom pattern. The toilet is by Duravit, the sink and cabinet are by Ikea, and the faucet is Kohler.

    Linden used standard 2x2 daltile in the bathroom, but swapped out individual tiles to create a custom pattern. The toilet is by Duravit, the sink and cabinet are by Ikea, and the faucet is Kohler.

  • 
  In just nine square feet, the linen closet down the hall holds a washer, dryer, on-demand hot water heater and shelves for storage.

    In just nine square feet, the linen closet down the hall holds a washer, dryer, on-demand hot water heater and shelves for storage.

  • 
  Here's the plan of Linden's 600-square-foot Seattle residence. Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Here's the plan of Linden's 600-square-foot Seattle residence. 

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

@current / @total

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...