This unique small-footprint custom-built prototype “cottage-style” home in Tsawwassen signals the emergence of a trend toward smaller housing, especially in the detached single-family form.

This home meets the current desire for a simpler, energy efficient, sustainable and convenient form of housing that fills the needs of both a shrinking family household and the lifestyle needs of both starter families and aging empty-nesters equally.

The main floor has a roomy living and dining area, complete with an integrated open-concept kitchen featuring an island countertop and mid-century-style energy efficiency lighting. The floor is brushed Sgraffino cement overlay with an epoxy coating. The concrete floor has in-floor water-based radiant heating installed. The ceiling is vaulted in the living area to take advantage of the full height two-storey space. Windows are traditional casement design with multi-light transoms. A 345 square foot upper floor—with a staircase open to below—contains a second bedroom with its own en-suite bath. At the staircase landing is a sunroom/office.

This prototype cottage is part of a proposed new arrangement of single-family homes configured in a pocket neighbourhood — or “cottage courtyard”, as it is referred to in this project. This is a cluster of homes gathered around a landscaped common area intentionally designed to foster a strong sense of place through small-scale and intimate private, semi-private and public spaces.

For this demonstration project, Smallworks partnered with Tsawwassen-based Century Group. The prototype home was built to provide the Tsawwassen public with an opportunity to see first-hand an example of the housing proposed for their new Southlands community—a plan based on the concepts of sustainable neighbourhood design integrated with local food and agriculture as a central focus of community life.

Architectural design by Cotter Architects.