Living in Smaller Homes

Updated March 24, 2018

Less is more.

Whoever came up with that saying never bought a house in Texas.

We like to say everything is bigger in Texas, and when it comes to buying a home, bigger is becoming the norm.  Drive through an older neighborhood, and you’ll eventually see a property where an older home was torn down to make way for a house that fills as much square footage as zoning ordinances will allow.  Often, that also means newer construction feels like it is looming over the adjacent lot.

We were reminded of this recently when we were engaged to help re-configuring the floor plan for a home recently purchased in one of Dallas’ older neighborhoods.  At just over 1300 square feet, most home buyers would simply scrape the old structure off the lot and start over.  Or at least add on to create a “livable” home.  A phenomenon that is already occurring in his neighborhood.

However, the owner opted to maintain the original footprint and see what could be done within the space he had.  How do you take a home built in 1955 – when we didn’t require gourmet kitchens, great rooms, master suites, and televisions in every room – and make the same home function for how we live today?

The task was accomplished by removing the wall that separated the kitchen from the living space. In its place a large kitchen island was added. The island helped create an “entertaining zone” where guests can gather but not be in the way while dinner is being prepared. The island also served as the dining table as there was no room for a separate dining room. The ceiling was vaulted to make the rooms feel more spacious and the windows were enlarged to bring in more natural light.

To hear more about this project, be sure to check out Episode 40 of The Architecture Happy Hour Podcast, “Living in Smaller Homes” available on Apple Podcasts or find it here.


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VP, Architect, hpd architecture + interiors
Laura Davis is a Texas and Colorado registered architect and interior designer, and a co-founder of hpd architecture + interiors. With a diverse portfolio spanning residential, commercial, retail, and historical projects, Laura’s heart lies with her specialty in Historic Preservation. She loves to revitalize older properties, cherishing their character and the stories they hold. Her true passion lies in understanding her clients deeply, uncovering their desires and motivations, and crafting designs that turn houses into cherished homes.

Laura Davis is a registered architect and interior designer in the state of Texas and Colorado, and a founding member of hpd architecture + interiors. Laura's extensive experience includes residential as well as commercial and retail projects.  She also has a particular interest in restoration, holding a certificate in Historic Preservation. She is energized by the character of older homes and the stories of those who have lived there. Responding to the needs of the current owner, while also honoring the personality of the original home is a delicate process to be enjoyed.

Laura Davis

Vice President, Architect, Interior Designer Principal , hpd architecture + interiors


  1. Sandy Jamison

    Kudos to you for being willing to re-imagine a new and workable space given the square footage limitations. I am passionate about the now “aging in place” concept which will hopefully allow the Baby Boom generation to live in their homes for as long as possible and hope to be a part of reworking their homes so that they can live there as long as possible.
    Sandy Jamison, RID, TAID

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