Coastal Casual

  • Image

    Credit: Robert Hidey Architects

Bob Hidey
Robert Hidey Architects
Irvine, Calif.  
FOCUS: Southern California architecture with Spanish and Mediterranean influences

Flexibility rules in this tight little plandesigned by architect Bob Hidey. It doesn’t have a formal living or dining room, per se, but it does have a sizable multipurpose room off the garage that owners can use however they see fit.

“People are now buying houses with the idea that they are going to live in them for an extended period of time,” the architect explains. “Our thinking was that this floor plan had to meet today’s needs, but it also had to predict how the same house might be used differently by the same family in the future.”

Storage was another essential he was careful not to shortchange. “Outsourcing to off-site storage facilities has become a business in and of itself because people don’t have enough storage in their homes,” he observes. “Even though this is a small plan, we took the coat closet and made it three times the size of what you’d normally find. We also provided walk-in linen closets, a big kitchen pantry, and a transitional mudroom-type area for backpacks, shoes, and bags.”

  • Image

    Credit: Robert Hidey Architects

    Bob Hidey’s clean-lined concept features a no-nonsense eave-and-rake roof design and simple volumes with 90-degree angles.
Stucco-clad with a simple shed roof, the elevations are pretty in their basic state, but they can also accommodate modest ornamentation in a range of vernacular styles. “The simplified form is one that could fit in any marketplace and draw on the architectural characteristics of that region,” Hidey says. “We haven’t found many clients who are willing to go completely minimal. Our goal here was to streamline while maintaining street appeal and character, so buyers could still imagine living in a neighborhood like this.”

Value-Engineering 101

Looking to save money without sacrifi cing quality or style? Architect Bob Hidey suggests these simple moves:

  • Design floor plans in 24-foot increments.
  • Minimize corners, jogs, and off sets.
  • Keep the stairs simple and straight.
  • Limit the number of window sizes and types.
  • Stack or cluster plumbing walls.
  • Eliminate volume spaces.
  • Simplify the massing to allow simpler roof forms.
  • Locate the range hood and dryer on an exterior wall to allow direct venting to the outdoors.

Want more design cost saving tips? Visit for a comprehensive checklist from Robert Hidey Architects.

  • Credit: Robert Hidey Architects

1 Plumbing zones are stacked to allow shorter mechanical runs for cost and energy effi ciency.

2 This flex space could serve as a guest room, hobby studio, grandparents’ suite, or homework room. Or, punch out the wall to the garage, and it becomes a third tandem parking space, or a storage area for bikes, kayaks, jet skis, gardening equipment, or tools.

3 A basic staircase facilitates circulation and eliminates the need for hallways. “You don’t need to do open rail, balusters, and all the tricky stuff that costs a lot of money,” Hidey says. “If you place a straight stair in a discreet place in the floor plan, it doesn’t have to be as fancy.”

4 Kitchen cabinets can be bulky, so Hidey swapped some out and replaced them with a pantry that tucks under the stairs. “Building 5 feet of pantry is much cheaper than putting in 5 more feet of cabinets,” he says. And the kitchen feels more spacious as a result.

  • Credit: Robert Hidey Architects

5 Even a small house needs a foyer, Hidey contends. It’s a transitional space that creates a sense of arrival, while at the same time giving the interiors an extra layer of privacy.

6 Covered outdoor space is essential in Southern California. People want to live outside, but not necessarily sit in the hot sun. This shaded patio connects to the kitchen, casual dining area, and mudroom.

7 Hidey went with an alleyloaded garage to preserve the character of the front façade. “You could always put a traditional garage in front with a driveway apron, but this gives you less fl exibility in terms of where rooms are placed in the plan,” he explains. “It also means that only half of your front elevation is architecture; the other half becomes garage.”