City zoning laws created challenges. In addition to height restrictions, R3 zoning meant that even though the Talsmas were left with 1,900 square feet of buildable space after accounting for the required distance from the curb, they could legally inhabit only 1,700 of it (plus a basement, where the Talsmas have a bedroom and a family room). They didn’t waste an inch. A loft in their son’s room that didn’t count against the living-space allotment meant no bed was needed. In the master bedroom, there was no need for dressers; a built-in Ikea closet does the job.
Cost-saving tricks are everywhere: Simple porcelain “keyless” light fixtures in the master bath are about $2 at most hardware stores (the bulb can cost more than the fixture). And it helped that Chris Talsma was not only the architect and general contractor on the project, but a contributing artist, as well—some of his artwork, including the giant steel zipper pull in the stairwell, is on display.
Photograph: Eric Hausman
Styling: Diane Ewing