If you are working with a small block of land, you may feel limited when it comes to design potential. A small footprint can put a dampener on any plans you have for your dream home, but you shouldn’t let that stop you taking advantage of the cost savings that come from building on a site that isn’t exactly spacious.
When you are building on a small block it is important to maximize the perception of available living spaces. Choosing wider doors and larger windows is a great way of allowing more light into a room through passive design. Make sure to choose warm colours that open up the room and create the illusion of a much grander room, too.
North facing rooms receive the most light, so that is where you should concentrate your efforts when designing comfortable living spaces. A low overhang will shield you from the worst of the rays in Summer and using materials with low thermal mass will help to prevent your home from retaining too much heat.
You are already working with limited space, so using an open plan approach can make even the smallest site appear much larger. Eliminating unnecessary structures between living spaces will not only give the impression of a bigger home, it will help with ventilation in the summer when smaller homes tend to retain too much heat in the evening hours.
From an energy conservation view point, open spaces are also much better for ventilation when working with a tight space. You do not want your home to become a heat trap, so the ability for air to pass freely through the property is important. If your design includes the need for a high cost AC system to ventilate the property, it is going to cost you in the long run. Aim for good through ventilation and install ceiling fans in bedrooms and living rooms.
You will obviously want to set aside space for outdoor living, so why not make some of that space an extension of your home? By simply extending the roofline over the patio area, you can ensure that even with limited space, both inside and outside living areas are created without compromise.
Natural shade is an important design factor for smaller homes. Positioning trees in such a way that sunlight is allowed to enter the home correlates directly to the solar position throughout the day, season to season. In summer, use nature to your advantage by blocking out the worst of the sun’s rays. In winter, make sure that your living areas receive adequate sunlight which can be stored to reduce your heating costs.
In reality, the sky adds to your actual limit when building on a block with a smaller footprint. Adding upward extensions can completely negate an otherwise restrictive space. You can stack living on separate levels, depending on the building restrictions where you live. With the right design, you can actually stay within the confines of regulations and codes without compromising the integrity of your build.
An experienced and skilled builder will know how to best utilize upward space and provide you with a home that meets all your needs, regardless of the building’s footprint. Tight sites are often a great way for first time buyers to get on the housing market. If you play your cards right, you could end up in a much larger property when you decide to sell. It all comes down to the decisions you make when maximising the space on a tight block.