The Next Little Thing
In his latest book, Marc Vassallo celebrates the virtues and just plain fun of living in a small house in a walkable city neighborhood, close to shops and schools, close to public transportation, and close to your neighbors.
Little House in the City presents 37 houses from across the United States and Canada, including infill houses built on odd lots or in place of derelict houses, remodeled city houses that remain small, and backyard dwellings known as ADUs (for Accessory Dwelling Units).
Ranging in size from 500 sq. ft. to 1,800 sq. ft., the featured houses showcase smart design ideas for making the most of small houses in tight quarters. For home lovers drawn to urban living—especially single people, couples, families with a child or two, or older and retired folks—a small city house hits the sweet spot.
Less House. More Connection.
Author Marc Vassallo shares some thoughts behind the book:
"When I moved with my wife and son into 950-sq.-ft. house in Seattle ten years ago, I discovered something that had eluded me in the much larger house we left behind in Connecticut, and in a farmhouse we built in the Blue Ridge mountains before that, and in an apartment my wife and I shared as newlyweds in Colorado many years ago.
I discovered that a small house in a densely settled, walkable city neighborhood offered me by far the best opportunity I’d ever had to connect with my neighbors and to forge genuine relationships with them, something I hadn’t realized I lacked until I found it."
"Infill" refers to a new house built to replace a substandard or derelict house that was torn down, or a house built on the rarest of finds, an empty city lot (generally one so oddly shaped or constrained by zoning that it had thwarted prior attempts to build on it).
Remodeled houses include everything from a significant reimagining and reconfiguring of an existing little house to little houses with modest additions, small changes, and updates.
An Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU, is a second residence built on a lot with an existing house, typically in the backyard, often oriented to an alley. ADUs are often referred to as backyard cottages, though many aren’t cottage-like in style.
Marc Vassallo has spent over two decades in publishing and is former Editorial Director of The Taunton Press. His book The Barefoot Home was named "Best Home & Garden Book of 2006" by Amazon.com. Vassallo has written for numerous magazines and literary journals and received a Fellowship in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts. Vassallo lives with his wife and son in a 950-sq.-ft. house in Seattle. He grows vegetables and fruit on their city lot and enjoys being part of a tight-knit, walkable neighborhood. He loves heading into the mountains as well as coming home to the city.
Share your little city house!
If you're an architect, designer, photographer, or homeowner with a cool little city house, email Marc Vassallo with a brief description and a few photos. Vassallo will get back to you if he'd like to post it on Instagram or write about it, perhaps in his next book.