As a woman in her sixties grew closer to retirement, she knew she'd eventually need to downsize. So rather than move before she was ready, she called on architects Mark Erickson and Matthew Kennedy of Studio North to build her a smaller home that she could rent out for now and move into later. And as luck would have it, she already had the perfect location — right behind her current 1920s home in Calgary. While this might sound like an unusual arrangement, homes set in the backyards or facing the alleys behind existing residences, known as laneway houses, are becoming common ways to add housing to already dense urban areas. (They also happen to be one of Studio North's specialties.)
The architects worked with the site's small footprint and maximized the space with clever solutions, including tucking a powder room beneath the staircase and creating an office/guest room with a Murphy bed. They were able to satisfy everything on the client's list of must-haves and even went so far as to provide a tenant: Erickson now lives in the laneway house and uses it as a show home for potential clients.