The shabby chicken coops of Old McDonald’s farm might look out of place in the city, but thanks to architect Traci Fontyn, owner and founder of Bothell’s Kippen House chicken coops (kippenhouse.com), urban dwellers can still enjoy fresh, organic eggs from their own small lots. These cool coops combine chicken housing with human gardening for a fully sustainable system that not only looks sleek (we love the modern, Scandinavian design), but is simple to maintain. Standard coops ($875 fully installed) are 3 feet by 6 feet 7 inches by 4 feet, and made from outdoor-tough cedar, local fir and pine. (Custom-designed coops are also available.) Each includes space for a garden (on the roof of the coop or as a vertical garden down the side), wall panels made from your choice of material (wood or wire), and a locked nesting box to keep those eggs safe. The best part? The self-sustaining mini ecosystem created by the design: The garden feeds the chickens, the chicken manure helps the garden grow and—provided you feed and water them like a good farmer should—both the garden and the chickens will feed you, too.
5. Versatile tables. Besides needing a place to sit, your guests will also need space in which to move around, stretch their legs or maybe even dance a little. Avoiding bulky tables and furnishings that block circulation will help make even a small space feel much more open.
Instead of a chunky coffee table, try a leggy option that won’t get in the way of an outstretched foot. Even better, use several small tables that can be moved out of the way or rearranged as desired.
In general, having an eclectic mix of seating allows you to tackle different entertaining scenarios, so feel free to break out of the typical matchy-matchy box of the “one sofa, two chairs” living room set. Throwing in a few small stools gives you extra seats or tables as needed, and a high side table can be used as compact dining surface or mini bar. Multifunctional pieces like these give you options, and they can be tucked off to the side when not needed.
6. Dining areas. Although spaces vary, an oval or circular table is usually a good fit for small spaces that may need to accommodate a flexible number of guests. The rounded edges allow you to seat guests without having to bump anyone into a corner. Round tables also make it easier to host an odd number of guests without it looking “off.”
As in the living room, using one long bench or banquet mixed with standard dining chairs gives you room to slip in a few extra guests (especially small children) while giving others the option of a solo seat.
Wall sconces also are a great solution to add a little lighting over a small dining table or another key area. Choose one on a swing arm and you can push it up against the wall if you move the table to free up standing room.
If you don’t have room for a dedicated dining table, a convertible coffee table is a handy solution. They typically fold out into a larger surface, with height-adjustable legs to convert from coffee table to dining table in just a few clicks.