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Residence 495

Two missionaries made a life changing discovery while serving the poor and neglected in a tribal region of Guatemala.  Needing a place to live once they returned to the states, they began realizing from their journey over the past several years that their needs could be met in a much smaller space, using fewer material resources and having a much smaller ecological impact on the wooded piece of property they were given years ago in rural Shelby County, Alabama.  The once loud resounding call from the “Mac Mansion,” and its involvement in achieving the “American Dream” had been silenced by their 500 sq. ft. dwelling in Central America.  Challenged to design a dwelling less than 500 sq. ft., the quest was to minimize the footprint and maximize the function of the living space, utilizing green building practices to remove their new dwelling from the “grid”.  Simply using locally accessible and accepted materials of concrete, plywood and corrugated metal, we began pressing towards a modern version of the one room log cabin. With this picture in mind, large overhangs and retractable glass walls were incorporated, which extends the living area onto the surrounding deck, thus creating opportunities for passive cooling. While desiring a “room for sleeping,” but not solely devoted to that purpose alone, it became evident that a piece of furniture was to be designed that allows for the retraction of a bed and also serve as an office.  Thus, the genesis of the “Somnus Desk” (sleep desk) was born. Designed according to the desire of the owner, this life changing discovery is far reaching.

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