Small and Quiet
After finding paradise on a Hawaiian papaya farm, filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau tapped San Francisco artist Jay Nelson to build their dream home in just five weeks. Located just one block from the beach, the Kauai residence takes inspiration from laid-back surf shacks and is mainly built with reclaimed wood.
Adding 290 square feet to this already small (just 566 square feet) black A-frame in Brecht, Belgium, was all the local building ordinances allowed, but the architects at dmvA found that a single wing extended out to the side gave resident Rini van Beek all the storage and living space that she needs.
The project’s unique challenges—a tight budget and steep, difficult terrain—led architecture firm _naturehumaine to a creative solution that gave the house its delightfully sculptural appearance. Making the first floor’s envelope slightly narrower than the top one’s saved money while minimizing the amount of excavation required.
When building such a modest structure in a large landscape, designer and client often had to defend their vision to their collaborators. “We knew this house was going to be for Maggie and she would live there alone,” designer Lauren Moffitt says. “But people are always projecting for future resale. Putting in the smallest size of anything—to any subcontractor, it’s just not reasonable.”
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