Tight budget, no space, no problem.

With large building blocks at a premium and an emphasis on minimising our carbon footprint, smaller homes (as in smaller floor-plans) are set to dominate our inner city landscape, so what’s the best way to build on a small block without loosing all of your yard?

Firstly, if you can avoid it, don’t rush into anything. If you’ve just bought your home and plan to renovate straight away, you might want to think again. By living in a space for a while – even an inadequate one – its easier work out exactly what you need and where the short comings of your home lie.

Secondly, small doesn’t necessarily mean less, it just means you have to be smarter with the space you have. With small spaces, design and layout has never been more important. You can’t afford to have ‘dead spaces’ in a space poor home, so every nook and cranny needs to be thought out and storage should be an intelligently considered part of the build rather than an after thought.

Utilising the best aspects of you block is also essential – your north facing spaces – where your windows will ideally be, are also the areas your family and visitors will want to relax in. If you are lucky enough to  have a north facing block think about building a long skinny home keeping hallways, laundries, storage and garages on that side of the house. This may also allow for the living areas to open onto the yard providing additional living area for eating, relaxing and playing.

Design tips for your smaller home build:

  • Live in your home for a while and get a better understanding of what it lacks or needs
  • Look for true north and orient your living areas towards it to create a passive solar design
  • Consider building in stages or modules, ensuring your plans allow for your growing family
  • Try to minimize east and west facing windows because they’ll overheat your home in summer, while doing very little in winter

Thinking of a really small house?

Just Screw It recognises and encourages employing sustainable design and building practices to have a positive effect on the local and global environments.