Small is beautiful in Addison County Vermont

This Joan Heaton designed small house in Middlebury has a footprint of 888 square feet.

Vermonters are not strangers to the concept ‘Small is Beautiful’. Our beautiful Green Mountain state ranks 45th out of 50 in size and 49th in population. Vermont’s average town size is just under 2,500 people. Our biggest city, Burlington, had only 42,417 people at the 2010 census.

Vermont architecture is starting to keep pace with our state’s stature. Bristol Vermont Architect Joan Heaton is leading the charge for change in Vermont vernacular architecture to include more small houses. Small houses have smaller environmental impacts (less space, fewer construction materials, smaller heating bills).

Appropriate window groupings can add dimension and light.

Heaton integrates sustainable design and green building practices into all of her residential design projects. This Middlebury home brings to life many of the concepts outlined in her sustainable design checklist:

  • Optimize use of interior space with good design so that the overall building size and resource use in constructing and operating it are kept to a minimum. Smaller is better.
  • Optimize material use. Avoid waste from structural over-design. Simplify building geometry.
  • Design an energy-efficient building. Use high levels of insulation, high performance windows and tightly sealed construction.

The small house pictured here has an energy efficient heating system, high R-Value walls, a roofing system with dense pack cellulose insulation that was made possible with the help of expert roofing contractors, and energy efficient windows. Its open floor plan, loft spaces and window groupings create a remarkably spacious feeling in such a small house. If you’re planning to build custom homes, you may want to consider a small but functional and sustainable home.

Like many of her residential designs, her projects are informed by the landscape and neighborhood. The small house pictured here combines traditional forms derived from neighboring houses with lofty, contemporary interior spaces and details.

I can think of many Addison County land listings that would be appropriate for the construction of a new small house. Two Addison County property listings in particular stand out one in Bristol and one in Middlebury: both are wonderfully small towns.

Bristol Vermont has a bustling population of 3,767 (down from 3,788 in 2000). This parcel, convenient to town and the big City of Burlington, is 5.2 acres. The population of Middlebury on the other hand has grown: 8,183 in 2000 and 8,259 as of the 2010 Census. This lot is 1.4 acres.

Joan Heaton’s small house photos were taken by Jim Westphalen of Westphalen Photography. These land photos are from the Vermont MLS. Contact me for more Addison County land info or if you’re looking for a great Vermont architect.