The Hive cottage makes extra room expanding beyond tiny surface

Limited by the city of Austin (Texas) to building on 45% of a lot, architect leaned the walls out to gain space: the base covers the maximum 320 square feet, but the walls continue up and out to create a total of 565 square feet of living space.

Dubbed “the ” by the home’s framers and “The Hive” by others, the backyard unit has just two vertical walls and four walls that slant upward to add space where needed. In the kitchen, the slope adds countertop square footage. In the living room, the slant turns a space big enough for just a couch and one-foot-wide coffee table into a light and airy room. Upstairs the crooked bedroom barely fits a queen bed, but unfolds the views.

By acting as both architect and contractor, Blair was able to adapt the home as it was built and to keep costs down by using salvaged materials as they became available. The entire exterior, and roof, of the home is clad in recycled . Using a reclaimed sheathing, Blair transformed IKEA kitchen and bathroom cabinets into a custom experience. By keeping an eye on every detail of the build (down to the exposed copper bathroom fixtures), she was able to build the home from foundation up for $160,000.


  1. This kind of building reminds me of the timber-frame structures in medieval Europe…
    Anyway, very cute and still interesting
    Thanks for sharing… stay safe and healthy!

  2. I hope the roof shingles are only there for aesthetic reasons. For keeping water out, they are in the wrong direction and on a roof that isn’t steep enough.

  3. this is a delightful little house
    .. the architect/cotractor did a good job adapting to the site constraints and shows off her flexibility, incorporating the found windows, exterior sheathing and cabinet fronts. sounds like she had a good builder and some subs, as well.

  4. This is fantastic. It’s definitely given me a new way to look at design.
    Blair did an amazing job and wow I want her to find me scrap wood for cheap when I make a tiny/small house of my own design. Those finishes were beautiful! 🤍

  5. I’ve seen numerous tiny houses which made much better use of 1/5th of the space of this house! The furniture looks completely unsuitable for the space, very rough around the edges…

  6. Amazing architect; also kudos to the framer/cabinet-maker. I’m sure they work in tandem, and the fact that she is the contractor too allows the nimble trade-off of making it artistic without breaking the bank. Wow.

    • PS – the “Euclidean” shapes are a consequence of the skill/time/thought that the contractor and tradesmen are going to invest in the project versus the resulting quality that the client wishes to achieve. With less-than-excellent tradesmen, and non-euclidean shapes, it is very easy to make a mess.

  7. I would like to have seen a bit more about how it stays erect, being as it is a wooden frame. But I love how they made an expensive-looking house with inexpensive materials.

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