Don’t Waste a Small Space

Palo Alto Cottage

A 1920s Palo Alto cottage goes green.

A stroll by this corner cottage in Palo Alto, California, reveals a look as fresh and friendly as it surely was when new in 1928. The low white picket fence is perfect for over-the-fence chats with passers-by. The pavers and the drought-tolerant plants in the yard suggest that sustainable living inspired the remodel.

Palo Alto Cottage Living Room

The modest exterior is original. Owner Drew Maran didn’t add space but instead maximized the use and function of what was already there. The interior holds big surprises, beginning with the vibrant colors of the plaster walls. The kitchen, dining, and living area are one large open space, tall and airy with the ceilings removed so that it is open to the gables.

Beautiful Palo Alto Cottage Window

Light from the bungalow’s ample windows is augmented by a skylight that runs along the spine of the roof for sunny cheer. The kitchen window ledges have room for potted plants to bloom, and the counter space and roomy pantry are enough to delight an ardent cook.


The shallow side yard becomes a usable outdoor living space for relaxing with the addition of a broad deck surrounded by fast-growing bamboo for privacy.

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