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The 1ST Sustainable Design Choice You Can Make!

Advocating for the diversification of buildings, biomes, and businesses to establish sustainable legacies.

✔ Budget-friendly features for small homes (that don't feel small).

✔ How limiting yourself can make you more creative.

✔ A space-saving feature that makes your home more inviting.

1ST Sustainable Design Choice

Building small is the FIRST sustainable choice you can make.

The first house I built was a whopping 350 sq ft—and that was more than enough for me. As a single woman in my 20s, living in a small space was delightful.

The original goal was to get hands-on experience building a home, and enrich the beautiful cliffside with life. But I got much more than that! I got experience with a big piece of the construction puzzle—the COST.

I'd been handed $30,000 to make this tiny house project a reality.

I naively thought that with a little elbow grease and local materials, I could make it happen with that—and some of my own financing.

Boy was I off!

I had to get creative with the design and keep cutting the square footage—and ultimately the materials and labor—DOWN.

Did you know that the average American house more than doubled in size from 1950 to 2008? What used to be an average home of 983 sf is now 2500 sf! On top of that, the average family size in the 50s was bigger (3.8 in 1950 vs 2.6 in 2008).

It's clear our living spaces have evolved. But at what point does size cancel out sustainability?

1ST Sustainable Design Choice

Here are 4 approaches that can help keep your next build small and manageable:

1. Having 2 stories

This saves on both roofing and foundation costs. If you're opting for PV on your roof, the roof pitch is often quite steep, leaving lots of usable space within the traditional gable roof cavity.

If the home has multiple occupants, having two stories creates privacy. The upper level can even become a separate apartment (dependent on the location of the stairs).

2. The “cl-office”

My partner and I work from home. We both need offices—but not offices the size of bedrooms!

At my parents' home, my dad put his desk in the guest room closet. He opens it up when he's working. That's a bit small for us, but the idea is going in the right direction. A small walk-in sized closet is good enough for us.

You can attach a walk-in closet to a bedroom, and use it for multiple purposes.

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the 

capacity to enjoy less.”


3. The breakfast nook

This is a great space saver! A breakfast nook can act as a dining and living room.

The idea is you have some comfy bench seating, ideally in the corner with a dining table and chairs on the other side. The laid back vibe it can create is timeless.

Back in Maui, we turned our dining area into a nook. It became a comfortable living and dining space where everyone loved to gather, eat, and lounge.

4. Local, abundant, materials

There are a lot of hot, sustainable products on the market. The bummer is, they usually cost a pretty penny, and they have to be shipped from out of state, or out of the country. See what natural materials you can source locally. You may be surprised at how affordable they are.

Building small is a sustainable choice, as long as you strike a balance between what you need and what you want. Small spaces can lead to big possibilities, fostering creativity and making every square foot count.

Interested in developing a resilient property?

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I love all things natural. I love building places we can call home and in turn be our most authentic selves. 

Although I specialize in architecture and interior design, I appreciate all forms of design where form and function are in balance.

My hope is to inspire others to find eco-friendly options valuable and beautiful. 

This is where eco meets elegance... 




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Designing a sustainable home is no easy feat. It takes a whole team to get the job done right. Whether you have a project your working on now, or are thinking of developing a holistic property in the future, we've got you covered!

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Until next time, 

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