Please note main living area is only accessible by stairs
Backyard cottages are being built all around the city of Seattle. This one is a little different. The goals of this project were to create the maximum usable space inside the cottage and make it versatile enough to be a functional space for frequent guests, a temporary home for the family during a future remodel, and a place to keep the family safe during emergency power outages. A secondary goal was to make the space comfortable, and to do that using energy-efficient and energy-producing products. The final goal was to make the cottage look right in the neighborhood and to match many of the same Craftsman exterior finishes as the main house.
On the goal of function, the cottage includes 400sf of garage level space, including a work area and sink. An easy-to-use emergency generator plug can power the cottage if the power goes out for an extended time. The garage also has a plug for charging the electric vehicle the family plans to have in the future. The second floor living area includes a full kitchen, a 3/4 bath, and a washer/dryer. The cottage also has loft space above the living space, providing a sleeping area for guests.
On the goal of comfort, the cottage has a high-efficiency solar PV system and uses a tankless hot water heater to provide both hot water and radiant in floor heat. A Nest thermostat helps control the temperature inside the cottage. Engineered bamboo floors were chosen to be used over the radiant system because of their stability and sustainability.
On the goal of aesthetics, the cottage replicates many of the main home's features and has a number of bays, dormers and architectural features, creating visual interest to what might otherwise just be a box.
A raingarden is utilized to manage roof runoff while also providing a pleasing plant border along the property line.
The final product is appealing, very functional and limits its impact by controlling energy use and creating energy as well.