Build it Small: Portland’s Harpoon House

Last weekend I visited the Harpoon House in Portland’s Buckman neighborhood.


Owners Matt Kirkpatrick and Katherine Bovee were kind enough to show me around and talk about how their dream of a small home is growing into a reality. Some highlights include:

  • <500 sq. ft. footprint on 2500 sq. ft. of land.
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for a super-energy-efficient envelope.
  • Triple-pane windows.
  • Eco roof with no composition shingles!
  • No garage
  • Anticipated LEED certification

This is Matt’s first house as a designer, and it’s impressive to see the level of ambition for someone so new to the field. Even more remarkable is that the couple was able to pull off the purchase and financing in a decidedly un-friendly lending climate (When I asked Matt what the biggest hurdle was about building, he didn’t hesitate to reply, “the bank.”)

Harpoon House Sign

As the project moves forward, we’ll update with new developments and site walk-throughs. This is a great example of the growing “small house” trend and it will be interesting to see how closely this project meets the couple’s needs.