Swell House

The original first floor of this classic alley house, had an elongated sequence of rooms. Upon entering, one walked a straight line through the living room, dining room, kitchen and a bathroom.  The second floor traditionally had two tiny bedrooms, one for the kids and one for the parents.  We inverted this form to recognize our 21st Century sensibilities.  We located the kitchen and living area on the second floor and extended a deck out beyond the kitchen.  We made the first floor into a quiet, low-lit, master suite with bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet.

Project Data
LocationBaltimore, Maryland
Size660 ft2
Who Lives Hereone cool old lady
Awards AIA Baltimore Excellence in Design Award 2008, Honorable Mention
Publications rohous, "smalltimore," 2012
Photography Anne Gummerson Photograpy
Collection baths
The team integrated galvanized aluminum and polycorbonate 3/4" walls on aluminum studs to save money and to provide "thin" solutions that save space.

Small house. Small budget. Swell result.

The small house revolution is particularly potent in cities with small working-class row houses. In Baltimore, Maryland, many of the tiny homes that housed families of eight or more are found on alley streets. Streets with colorful names such as Chop Tank, Winterling and Portugal are hidden away and often unknown to even long-time residents.

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