You Won't Believe How Many Rooms Are In This Tiny House

In an adorable SoCal 1930s beach bungalow, designer John Wooden looks beyond the walls to create entire rooms alfresco — from a sunny dining spot to a jumbo covered lounge with a 10-foot teak sofa.

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KARYN R MILLET

When John Wooden’s clients gave him a tour of their jam-packed 1930s cottage in Laguna Beach, California, his first reaction was that there was just too much to take in—from the dark, ornate woodwork to the knickknacks sprinkled throughout. “The eye didn’t have a place to rest,” he says of the house, which is the couple’s main home (they also have a getaway in Palm Desert). “It was visual gluttony!”

Wooden went straight to work stripping away the excess. Walls and ceilings were painted white and paired with an airy midcentury-inspired palette of muted charcoal, rust, coral, and sky blue. “There’s a peacefulness to a space where materials repeat from room to room,” the designer notes. “The key is to mix them a bit differently each time.”

The renovation's pièce de résistance is an expansive new steel-framed window that stretches across nearly the entire kitchen wall. “When you go big in a small space, everything ends up looking larger,” Wooden says.



To increase the footprint of the home without making any major structural changes, Wooden collaborated with landscape architect Molly Wood to utilize every square inch of the outdoor space. They carved out three distinct zones: a covered living room, a fire pit area, and a dining nook. “Having a pretty garden without any functional ‘rooms’ would have been a waste of much-needed space,” the designer says.

To underline the flow between outside and in, the entry now has a Dutch door, and bifold doors connect the master bedroom to the garden. “If the house doesn’t feel as tiny as it actually is,” Wooden says, “it’s because we took full advantage of the great outdoors!”

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