The 10' House

The site was a forgotten sliver, 94' long but only 10' wide, this meant interior spaces could only be 9'-2" wide.  Architecture is about solving problems, how did it work? Park a car in the front courtyard and the driver's door determines that the front door will be on the left. Meters and trash cans must be hidden on the right.

Beyond the entry hall a central stair spirals up. The rising site meant that the first usable space would be 3' up and to the rear. Zoning laws allowed this space to be 12' deeper than the space above it. Its location away from street noise and its depth determined that this would be the in-line dressing room, bath and bedroom opening out to the rear garden.

Two more stair turns brings us to the space over the entry and parking court. This high space would be the living room with floor to ceiling bookshelves, library ladder and a wall to wall window seat. Another turn of the stair brings you to the top floor. You walk past the open kitchen to the dining room with a table that slides to become either a desk or a buffet. This in turn opens to the deck with built in seating and a view of neighboring gardens.

How to avoid the feeling of living in a corridor? Keep the eye busy. Seismic frames necessary to support the tall narrow building were painted Golden Gate Red, providing punctuation marks. Surfaces were finished in rich burl woods. Perforated stainless formed the stair allowing the eye to wander. Daylight came not just from the ends but from operable skylights and small property line windows. Obscure glass surrounding the bathroom turned to clear above head height.
A room's size is also judged by how it sounds. To avoid reverberation, sound absorbing materials were hidden behind floating ceilings. The rooms both looked and sounded bigger than they were.

The house sold to the first person that looked at it. At his house warming I counted 50 people scattered thru the 4 levels and garden of this 750 square foot home, and it hardly seemed crowded.