A California Guest Cottage Inspired By An Old Barn

This is handcrafted guest cabin building is tucked away among the redwood, oak and buckeye trees in Southern California. This cabin building space replaced a small barn on the property that had previously stood in the location behind the owners’ house. The rustic old barn was beyond repair, so Dotter & Solfjeld Architecture and Design used it as inspiration and designed the new cottage and garage that would fit in with the area’s rural character.

Reclaimed timber was salvaged from the old barn and used for siding on the new guest cottage. The tiny cabin buildings interior features wood finishes and custom cabinetry, all of which were handcrafted by artist Scott Constable. The reclaimed timber in the cottage was mostly salvaged from deodar cedar and came from sustainable local sources. This tiny guest cottage is actually on a separate legal lot apart from the main house. Because of that, the local government required that the small cottage home is treated as an independent dwelling, complete with its kitchen and two covered parking spaces. The architects who designed the guest cottage separated the parking from the tiny cottage designing a one car garage that looks more and feels a bit like a stable and then added a trellis onto one side for the second parking space.

The small cottage home has a 714 square foot floor plan that steps down with the terrain. At the low end of the cottage design is the living room, with vaulted ceilings and large windows that give a nice sense of spaciousness. The kitchen and dining areas are a couple of steps up, and they have a lower ceiling for a more intimate feeling. The dining area is a cozy nook with built-in seating and storage, also designed and built by Scott. A few more steps bring you to the bedroom and bathroom at the far end of the cabin.

The 714 square foot cottage was designed to include all the usual rooms of a full-sized home design carefully utilizing every square inch that was available. The living room was designed to feel much bigger than it is because of the vaulted ceiling and the large windows and barn doors. They placed a small but open galley kitchen in with a couple of steps above opening up to the living area just separated by a bar counter. Across from the small kitchen, there is a dining nook with built-in seating and extra storage, designed somewhat as nautical designers would do in a sailboat. The designers put a bedroom and a bathroom in the back of the small cottage home and a sleeping loft with windows in dormers above to help provide head height. The small cottage home has a one car garage that looks more like a stable and has a covered space for a second car that also doubles as a patio. They used a drivable turf that looked more like a pasture than a driveway. This small cottage home is full of inspiration, perfect for a variety of uses, from the guest house, backyard office to full time living.

More about this story can be found at: Dotter & Solfjeld Architecture + Design

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