Little Green House: A Whole Family in 540 Square Feet

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When Jessica and Yianni bought this tiny vacation house on Sauvie Island, just north of Portland, they decided, instead of expanding on its 540 square feet, to remodel the house to make the best use of the space available. In this modest footprint they created a retreat with ample room for their young family AND for guests, using almost exclusively reclaimed materials.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The end result is a triumph of small space design, with useful things crammed into every possible nook and cranny. A one-wall kitchen leaves the multipurpose ‘great room’ feeling spacious, while built-in couches double as beds for guests. Drawers underneath and a wall of bookcases provide lots of storage.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The ceiling over the great room was opened up to make the room more spacious, but the ceiling of the bedroom and bathroom are lowered to make room for a sleeping loft above. The kids’ bedroom has two bunk beds, and a double bed for guests. Yianni and Jessica have friends and family over at the house almost every weekend, and there is plenty of room for everyone.

Along with the green roof, new high-efficiency windows keep the place nice and cozy, and a wood stove provides all the heating this little home needs. Yianni and Jessica and also taking a stab at food self-sufficiency, with rows of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and a greenhouse erected with the help of lots of visiting friends.

To see more photos and read more about the house, visit Jessica Helgerson Interior Design.

(Images: Lincoln Barbour for Jessica Helgerson Interior Design)