Homes Photo Credit: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz

How One Edmonton Design Firm Made the Most of a Narrow Lot

Thirdstone’s Louis Pereira saw potential where no one else could.

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Most people know it’s possible to make the most of small living spaces through clever design choices. But this double-stacked home in Edmonton proves that even with a super narrow lot size, it’s possible to create a staggeringly expansive floor plan. How expansive? How about a 17-foot-wide home that boasts 3,400 square feet?

While most lots in Edmonton clock in at 50 feet wide, this 25-foot half lot posed a significant design challenge that caused many people to move on to greener, more ample pastures. But Thirdstone‘s architects saw the immediate potential for their client to make a big family home with larger-than-life design cache.

Their linear model created 16-by-16 foot rooms—bigger than most people’s living rooms and bedrooms—with windows on both sides to capitalize on the abundance of light, a huge advantage over fatter layouts that have the tendency to bury some rooms deep in their core. The reduced lot size also meant a reduction in cost, which allowed the homeowners to pour extra money into building something striking that catered to the needs of their family. They wanted to be able to interact with the outdoor spaces, have glass walls so they could see their kids playing outside and have the space be flexible for family growth. The large, open kids’ room, for instance, can easily be partitioned off to create two bedrooms in the future.

Meanwhile, they employed low-cost, off-the-shelf materials for a fresh, forward-thinking design. “We definitely saw the potential of the site,” says architect Louis Pereira. “We knew it’d work.”

At a Glance

Who lives here: A couple with 2 kids (ages 7 and 9)
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Size: 3,400 square feet; 1 bedroom, but space to expand into 5
Budget: $450,000

The white fiber cement panels are accented with knotted cedar planks. Both materials extend to the landscape with garden walls that appear to become part of the house. (Photo: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz.)

The top-floor master bedroom and the bottom-floor living room are visible through the mostly glass exterior, allowing for a better connection with the surrounding community, something one of the homeowners in particular was looking for. Now he can wave to his neighbours from inside the house (yes, even from the master bedroom). “I personally wanted visibility to the house,” he says. “I find it refreshing to be open. It’s a way to interact with neighbours.”

(Photo: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz.)

The flooring is a laminate in a solid charcoal gray to help ground the space, with a reflective finish for an airy feel. The TV is concealed behind maple wood cabinets with a walnut stain. “We wanted a traditional parlour feel, where we can sit with guests and have coffee or wine and a discussion,” the homeowner says.

The inspiration came from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s classic Farnsworth House. “I always wanted a living room with a modernist feel,” says the owner.

The drop-down ceiling is maple wood with a walnut stain, mimicking the island layout below and nodding to the living room cabinets. (Photo: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz.)

For the kitchen, the homeowners didn’t want anything too decorative, but rather something to reflect the clarity and refined appearance of the rest of the interior and the exterior. To complement the gray floors, charcoal highlights all the recessed elements in the white Ikea cabinets.

The kitchen’s double-galley design allows two people to cook in the kitchen at once. The small prep sink area in the background adds more counter space and hides kitchen appliances.

(Photo: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz.)

The kids’ rooms are one large, open space with a play area in the middle. It was designed to be flexible for when the kids become teenagers and need more personal space; the homeowners can easily and affordably add partitions.

(Photo: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz.)

When the blinds are open in the master bedroom, the homeowners can wave to their neighbours on the street. The chair was purchased locally. The platform bed is from Ikea.

(Photo: thirdstone inc. [^], original photo on Houzz.)

A charcoal tile bathroom with cedar wood for the shower floor is one of the most stunning spaces in the house. The wood slats sit above tile and can easily be removed to clean beneath.

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