Micro House - affordable Key Worker housing in downtown Charleston
Our second micro house design is now nearing completion. We found a plot noted as an "X" zone on the flood map, high ground just off Line Street. We have spoken with the Elliotborough neighborhood committee and happily also gained their backing for the build. Explain a good idea in clear terms, listen to the neighborhood's thoughts and concerns and the outcome is generally positive. Next is to speak with Charleston City Zoning as we will need approval for our parking plans and a small variance from the regulations.
The site is part of a larger plot in Elliotborough that also includes a historic renovation (64 Ashe St). The two homes must work together in visual harmony. No structural demolition will be necessary so there is no need to formally apply for BAR approval (Board of Architectural Review). Building designs will still need city review and engineering approval but that's what we do on a daily basis so will be simply another step along the way.
We looked at a single story design but the site is just too small even for the phrase "Micro House." We looked at stacking two single story designs to make something that looked like two story but City Zoning does not allow for such a duplex on this plot. So we went for a Charleston single home design with two bedrooms and one bathroom that includes high vaulted ceilings, private parking, its own kitchen, dining and living areas, a small private yard and importantly for Charleston, a two story efficient piazza to add needed outside living.
Have a look at the architectural rendering on the header of this blog, micro house is concepted on the right hand side. Not unlike so many historic carriage houses and sufficient for a young married couple, key city staff who want to live downtown or a single parent with two children. The design was sketched out by Danielle Gilbert and completed by our in-house architect, John Williams. We think a build cost of around $90K meaning we can rent it at about $1000/1200 per month. Not bad for a single home in downtown Charleston, south of the Crosstown and within easy walking distance from the city center. By comparison, student rates in this area are approximately $900 per bedroom making this some 35% under market rate yet still producing a good return.
The question is: "Will the public go for this alternative lifestyle?" What are your thoughts?
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