This tiny house on Sauvie Island just north of Portland is home to a family of four, plus lots of guests on the weekends. Remodeled by Jessica Helgerson (of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design) and her husband Yianni, the 540 sq ft home boasts smart and cozy interiors and is topped with a green roof that contrasts nicely with the white reclaimed wood exterior. The remodel of this little cottage was an exercise in reduction and reuse, and it pairs nicely with the family's greenhouse, garden and orchard—all of which help them work towards food self-sufficiency.
The tiny cottage was originally built in the 1940s as shipyard working housing for Vanport Village. After the village flooded, the house was successfully moved by floating it down river to Sauvie Island where it became the goose-check station and then later a rental home. When Jessica and Yianni bought the 5-acre property in 2008, they decided that they wouldn’t add on to the tiny cottage, but instead maximize on space to make the most of its size.
The main room was opened up to include an open floor plan kitchen and living area. Custom built benches serve as couches and as extra beds for guests. Storage under the benches keeps toys neatly tucked away, and the wall of shelving stores the families treasures and books. The high ceilings allow for a sleeping loft above the bathroom and back bedrooms, which have a full bed and two built in bunk beds. Creative and clever storage, like a pull out closet, makes the most of awkward spaces and ensures that everything has a place.
To make sure the little home is energy efficient, the family installed all new, high-efficiency windows that fill the space with daylight. Insulation was added to tighten the envelope, and reclaimed barnwood found on site was added to create the exterior. Reclaimed furniture, fixtures and appliances fill the space, while a wood-burning stove heats the home as needed. Finally, the cottage’s roof was redone by replacing it with a green roof and planting it with moss and ferns local t0 the area. The family also grows much of their own food with a hoop house, veggie garden, orchard, bee hive, chickens and more.
Images ©Lincoln Barbour