HGTV Smart Home 2013: A Small Home That Lives Large

Design and construction techniques visually expand rooms while maintaining the home’s reasonable footprint.

HGTV Smart Home 2013 Backyard

HGTV’s first Smart Home boasts a conservative footprint. But don’t let the 2400-square-foot floor plan fool you. This home is designed and built to live and feel like a 4,000-square-foot vacation getaway.

The secret to super-sizing a small space requires a two-pronged strategy, says architect Mike Stauffer. When designing the home, Mike first focused on the relationship between interior spaces, and then made a direct connection between interior and exterior spaces. “Your space feels bigger because you are basically bringing the outdoors in,” he says.

Wondering how to visually expand your own home’s square footage? Follow the lead of HGTV Smart Home and techniques utilized by architect Mike Stauffer and builder Glenn Layton:

Blur Room Boundaries

By removing walls, rooms that would normally feel a tad cramped borrow square footage from adjacent rooms and suddenly look and feel expansive. Mike uses the dining room as an example: Open to both the kitchen and living room and with overlapping boundaries, the 12’ x 14’ room functions more like a 15’ x 25’ space. If walled in, the room would have necessitated a footprint of 14’ x 16’ to comfortably accommodate a full-sized dining table, chairs and china cabinet.

Say So Long to Hallways

“There are very few hallways in this house,” says Mike, who considers the passageways wasted square footage. He instead designed spaces to flow from one to the next. Examples include the first-floor kitchen, which transitions to the dining room, which in turn flows into the living room and the second-floor landing space, an open gathering room, which segues into bedrooms. “So again we didn’t have a 4-foot-wide by 12-foot-long hallway, or 50 square feet wasted in a hallway,” says Mike.

Go With Glass and Vault A Lot

Two sets of telescoping sliding-door panels open the 20’ x 22’ living room to outdoor spaces. “Now all of a sudden the room feels 8 feet wider because there is a porch that wraps around the outside. It’s outside space but it makes the interior feel bigger,” says Mike. Volume, too, contributes to the big feel of the room, says builder Glenn Layton, who dramatically vaulted the room’s ceiling to a height of 19’8” and placed transom windows at the top of walls to shed light and accentuate the ceiling pitch.

Make the Most of Outdoor Spaces

According to builder Glenn Layton, the home boasts 1150 square feet of outdoor living space (covered porches, plus a sun deck) and an additional 300 square feet of backyard patio, clad with 30” concrete slabs, nestled into the existing landscape and designed to accommodate dining, casual gatherings or drinks around a fire pit. Thanks to Florida’s climate, these spaces become usable portions of the home’s square footage several months out of the year. “If you are entertaining you can have people sitting outside on a patio or under the covered porch as well as inside the house all interacting together,” says Glenn. “So the house lives from inside to outside but it also lives from outside to inside.”

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