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East side: Thinking big, designing small

East side: Thinking big, designing small

A glimpse into the process behind a modern East Austin tiny home.

Words by Sam Lauron, published by East side magazine

Photos by Jessica Arroyo

The concept of utilizing a small space is a familiar one around Austin, especially when it comes to finding an affordable place to call home. This need has resulted in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) making an appearance throughout many neighborhoods, especially in East Austin. 

Building a small house like an ADU on an already existing lot creates an opportunity for potential homeowners to enter into the market at a lower cost-point. The “affordability” that comes along with ADUs in terms of the amount of space one can get in proximity to downtown is a major contributing factor to the popularity of the home style in Austin, says architect Tim Brown. 

Tim Brown Architecture recently designed an ADU on the Eastside and tackled the 800 square-foot space using the same approach as they would with a 2,000 square-foot home. “It’s all about scale and proportion when you’re [designing] a comfortable space,” he explains. 

For this compact home, the main element Tim and his team focused on was creating an open concept. To do this, they had to focus in on design details that would enhance the space that was available. For example, windows were added to two opposing walls to bring in as much natural light as possible and “give the feeling of spaciousness,” says Tim. He goes on to explain that “psychologically, your mind makes [the room] feel bigger” when there are windows opposite each other. They also designed a large bar top in the kitchen so it feels more like a table rather than a small counter space. When it comes to the layout, there are very few hallways throughout the home so it feels like “you’re actually moving through a space to get to another room,” Tim adds.

The final design resulted in a modern and open space that landed in the hands of homeowner, Alli Pozeznik. Originally from the Midwest where the housing is much different from Austin in terms of price and size, Alli knew she would have to downsize when moving into her new space. Although she liked the classic Tudor style homes, she decided to consider a new build after taking into account the options she had available to her. Upon seeing the ADU for the first time, Alli immediately began picturing her belongings in the space, from the barstools to the rugs (Alli runs her own rug business called Austin Rug Co.). Alli recalls that after moving in, it took her about six months to pare down all of her things. “I did the Marie Kondo thing before it was a thing,” she laughs. 

The modern, open concept laid the foundation for Alli to add her personal touches of warmth and style to create a home fit for her and her two dogs. “It is one of my most favorite things I’ve ever bought,” she says. “It just feels like my little oasis here on the Eastside.”

Tim Brown Architecture
5450 Bee Cave Road

Austin Rug Co.

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