Before a Great Migration

As I fly back to Minnesota to be with my family for Thanksgiving, I think about looking out on the lake I grew up next to. At this time of year, the last leaves have fallen, the temperatures drop into the 20s and everyone is anticipating the first ice on the lake. Overhead, geese are… Continue reading »

A 4-Micro-Unit House

Continuing the small house thread from our last post, we’ve been brainstorming into how tiny houses (< 350 SF) may be a viable housing option. Rather than being low-profile ‘outlaw’ houses, lets bring them into the neighborhood. Let them stand tall as beautiful homes for 20-Somethings, Active (Older) Singles, and even our Elders.  Here’s a… Continue reading »

A Simple Self-Closing Gate

Langley, a rural town of 1100 people on Whidbey Island, Washington, hosts a robust population of rabbits that have attracted national news. The deer population may not be as noteworthy, but they are common sight around town nibbling apples from trees and grazing lawns. Gardeners erect seven-foot-high fences to keep them out. When we created… Continue reading »

Better Together: Small House Living Thrives in a Community

Small houses are getting a lot of press days. They are capturing our imagination, teasing our nesting instinct, and enticing us to consider the possibility of living with a smaller mortgage or less rent. Squeezed by the economy and a monoculture housing market, millennials, singles, empty nesters, and elders are thinking small is the answer—or,… Continue reading »

Water Dancing on the Ceiling

As I write this, we’ve just passed the Autumn Equinox. The sun is out, the air is fresh and the leaves on the trees are beginning to color. It’s a bit cliché to say it’s a reflective time, but I’d like to share a personal experience from childhood and how this memory forward is carried… Continue reading »

Serving Ourselves / Serving the Whole

I had an engaging conversation recently with Sally Fox, a podcaster and leadership consultant, covering a range of big ideas. We talked about zugenruhe moments of restlessness, finding our passion and right work, navigating cultural shifts, the Beauty Mind and our antenna for sweet spots, the makeup of thriving communities, Christopher Alexander’s theories about wholeness,… Continue reading »

Pocket Neighborhoods for Special Niches

We are currently working on a new community to provide safe and permanent housing for adults with intellectual, developmental and acquired disabilities. Over the years we’ve helped create pocket neighborhoods for singles and empty nesters, market-rate multi-generational buyers and folks needing affordable housing. When developer Mark Roth approached us about creating a safe and supportive… Continue reading »

Cohousing vs Pocket Neighborhoods – What’s the Difference?

Cohousing has been taking hold across North America and around the world, offering an enticing option for people wanting to live in a more closely knit community. Some even call it a movement. Pocket Neighborhoods are being tossed around as a viable housing approach within existing neighborhoods, as well as sub-neighborhoods within larger new developments.… Continue reading »

A Camp for Life-Long Children

I am engaging in a lively Facebook conversation with friends from high school. The thread stemmed from one of those alluring photos of a row of tiny houses for a group of friends. One of my classmates asked, half jokingly, if anyone knew of a spot with a warm climate (we’re from Minnesota) where we might… Continue reading »

Outside the Box

Whether designing a single house or a pocket neighborhood of homes, we always begin outside the box. What is the larger environment that surrounds us? What is lovable —in particular— about the street we’re on, or the houses to either side? Is it the massing and proportion of the neighboring buildings, their pleasing palate of… Continue reading »