This Backyard Cottage in Seattle Presents a New Opportunity for Urban Living

07.09.20 | By
This Backyard Cottage in Seattle Presents a New Opportunity for Urban Living

Alley House #1 is a DADU (Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit) designed by Robert Hutchison Architecture in Seattle. The backyard cottage was designed for the architecture firm’s neighbor who plans to rent out their house located on the same property and live in the DADU.

The 799-square-foot structure is one square foot less than the maximum floor area permitted for DADUs by the City of Seattle. The tiny home is ideal for a retired couple looking to downsize or a young couple who doesn’t need a full-sized home.

Though it is technically a two-story structure, the double-height space feels more like a large, open room with a cozy bedroom loft. Ample-sized windows allow plenty of light and reflect nicely off of the rich wood interior details.

For Hutchinson, this optimized DADU design presents a new way to approach real estate in Seattle. “It makes sense to have people living and working in the backyards of our city’s single-family zoned lots,” he says. “Our backyards and the alley are activated and used in a way that they were not before. And there is an opportunity to share spaces in between our buildings: you could share a stairway to an alley, activate alleys as well as the street, start thinking of alleyways as pedestrian walkways.”

Though that vision may sound crowded at first, Hutchinson ensures there is plenty of space to go around. “The important thing is to maintain trees and vegetation. You can do that and still allow backyard urban conditions for more density.”

Photos by Mark Woods Photography.

Emily Engle is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese.