El Monte Ave, Los Altos

Custom Home Design+Build | Los Altos

Flipping a Design on a Flag Lot

Flag lots can be tricky to design a home on, but, with some creative thinking and good problem solving, our team at Timeline can find unique ways to make the most of these sometimes-awkward shaped pieces of land. A flag lot, for those of you who have never heard the term, is a long, slender strip of land resembling a flag pole, that extends from the typically rectangular main sections of the lot — or the “flag” — out to the street. Each “flag pole” typically provides just enough frontage for vehicle access and is often shared by several neighbors.

birds eye view, flag lot in neighborhood illustration

One of our newest clients has such a lot. To reach their home, they have to turn into an access road from a busy street and drive down a narrow driveway to reach the front. Originally wanting to just remodel their home, Timeline came up with an option to give them access to their home directly from the street. How? By rebuilding the home and reorienting it so that the back of the house, which sits at the very end of the lot up against a cul-de-sac, is now the front of the house. Not having considered this as a possibility, the clients were excited to move forward.

On their original list of goals for their project were:

  1. Raise the ceilings. They are currently 8 feet high.
  2. Fix the flow of the living space. Each room in the living space (kitchen, family etc.) are all separate rooms, and all the living spaces are completely disconnected from the backyard.
  3. Create access and site lines from the living spaces to the backyard to create a better entertaining experience.
  4. Add more backyard space. With the house sitting at the back of the flag lot, the backyard was small and taken up by their pool.
  5. Change the look and feel to a more contemporary style.
  6. Add a granny unit for their parents to come stay comfortably.
  7. Add square footage and bedrooms.

After looking over these goals, our architecture team was able to create a design that addresses all of these needs. By flipping the orientation of the home, we created room for a bigger backyard and space to add a detached granny unit. By adding a basement, square footage was added. We also added a second story on top for bedrooms which then leaves the main floor open for more entertainment space and an open floor plan. Also in the design is a ten foot nanawall which creates the perfect indoor/outdoor entertaining vibe.

The exterior style is mostly contemporary with warm woods, stone, and large windows and dark frames. Although this type of style is usually seen with flat roofs, our client liked the wider eaves and hip roof lines to give their home a warm feel.

Not sure what your options are for fixing the pain points in your home? Give us a call, our creative construction experts are here to help.