A Small House with a Big Heart

small house dewees island
The architect describes this house as a porch with a tiny house built into the center.

This is one of my favorite homes on the island. It almost qualifies as a “tiny house” because the total square footage of the house is 1600 square feet, although there are 3200 square feet of porch. The owners wanted it to have a distinct getaway feel, and they were incredibly successful. Every detail for comfortable, laid-back beach living can be found here, with thoughtful touches and absolutely no fussiness. Like all homes on Dewees Island, it is nestled into the tree canopy and up on stilts.

The house looks bigger, because it’s up high like all houses on this environmentally sensitive island.

The entrance is managed to keep out wildlife with a sliding barn door:

sliding barn door small house
The first level is the sleeping level. You’ll notice that the stairs are OUTSIDE the house but INSIDE the screens. Not an inch of heated space was wasted on a stairwell. As you approach the first floor, the covered porch gives you great views of a freshwater pond and the salt water impoundment beyond.

small house porch views
great views of tranquil pond
over 100 species of birds make their home in the back yard

The entire first floor is open to the porch along one side.

small house porch
first floor porch with unimpeded views: all doors open to catch summer breezes.

It’s divided into two rooms, with the master at the far end:

Each sleeping area can be closed off for further privacy with roll down curtains:

curtains are cleated off on the side

Master sleeping area
Laundry rooms and bathrooms are off the side of the house opposite the porch
Master Bathroom

The bathrooms each provide access to the outdoor shower, which can be reached through doors in either bathroom:

The frosted glass door allows both light and privacy:

small house outdoor shower
Outdoor shower

In order to keep unsuspecting guests from entering the outdoor shower from the other door, this ingenious lock secures both doors at once:

shower door lock secures both doors at once

There are captivating touches everywhere you look, from quotes celebrating porches:

Slogan about porches

and nautically inspired lamps and hardware:
small house wall sconce
To individualized hooks for towels and swimsuits:

to one of my personal favorite quotes from The Wind in the Willows:

And suggestions for behavior on the walls:

Upstairs, a huge wraparound porch surrounds the main living area.

There’s plenty of room for different activities: Hammocks and a porch swing, a dining area and a pool table:

Dumbwaiter on pulley system

The kitchen is open to the great room and the porches, and some of the drawers even slide out both ways.

Doors can be opened and fixed in place
Outside doors to kitchen
small house island living
dining area

small house island living
great room and kitchen
Living area

Right behind the greatroom is a half bath:

Small folding ladders are stored inside during the winter, but make their way to the porch in summer, where they serve as extra seating, side tables, or view enhancers.

Binoculars are kept at the ready near the best views:

All in all, the small house has a phenomenal way of blending into the surroundings, connecting residents with the island way of life, and creating intimacy with the natural surroundings.