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Make room for this $500K skinny modern house in Ballard

Cottages were built for practicality, which means today's cottages look a bit different

This place is listed as a modern urban cottage, so don't expect clapboards or picket fences. What you get is an emphasis on the modern: cement planked siding, 20 foot ceilings that lead to a bedroom loft, and 900 square feet of living space fit onto 1,350 square feet of land. You also find the nice, neat, tidy price of $500,000.

The house is a two story with peaked roofs, which suggests 450 square feet per floor, a tiny house stacked on a tiny house, all under some possible storage if there's any room left in the attic after the insulation is installed. It was built in 2009, so energy efficiency may have filled that space with foam. Check.

Under the roof is a 2 bedroom, 1.75 bathroom model of modern living expressed in clean lines and a choice of materials that opts for steel railings supporting wood stair treads, quartz for counter tops (though the photos seem to show unbroken white surfaces instead), and stainless steel for the appliances. Even the shade of green that shows up in the kitchen and bath manages to look modern, though it probably isn't a recent discovery.

Around the outside is a mix of hardscape and landscape that fits in the remaining square footage. Pavers create a walkway past specifically picked foliage to a patio built for two. A grill fits, too, for those days when the heat or smoke from cooking is best kept outdoors.

The size of the house and the lot should help keep the maintenance time and money expenses low. The relative newness should mean fewer maintenance issues. And, the location means plenty of services and destinations are available within a walk of a few blocks. One of the secrets of small spaces: keep the essentials inside, and save money by visiting everything else.

· 1542 NW 61st St [Redfin]