Starter Home* – An Affordable Contemporary House from New Orleans

Called Starter Home*, this property has been created by OJT as part of an urban housing program aimed at developing affordable homes. The initiative hopes to keep costs to minimum by building sensibly sized properties on infill sites; land that is overlooked because of its location and irregular plot shape.


Starter Home No. 1 - OJT - New Orleans - Exterior - Humble Homes

With this strategy they hope to provide housing relief, and a means of allowing both the young and old to get on the housing market. From the architects: “The Starter Home* program is fundamentally about using inventive land strategies coupled with design to develop homeownership opportunities in urban neighborhoods that, due to upward economic pressures, are no longer assessable to large parts of the population.”


Starter Home No. 1 - OJT - New Orleans - Living Area - Humble Homes

Starter Home* is the first house to be completed as part of the project. It’s set in New Orleans, in a lot that’s sandwiched between industrial warehouses and historic homes, a common sight along the riverside. The footprint was limited to 10.5-by-45 feet, with the house itself contain 945 square feet over its two levels.


Starter Home No. 1 - OJT - New Orleans - Staircase - Humble Homes

On the inside, the first floor is occupied by a living room, dining room and kitchen. There’s also a downstairs toilet under the staircase. It’s long narrow shape leads to a sequential living space arrangement. The second floor features a walk-in closet, a bedroom, the main bathroom, and access to both an attic and a small loft workspace.

Starter Home No. 1 - OJT - New Orleans - Exterior Back - Humble Homes

The design and layout of the house lends itself to a single person, or a couple – people who fall into this category have found it increasingly difficult in recent years to find a home. The finish is simple, consisting mostly of white walls and ceilings with wood floors.

Starter Home No. 1 - OJT - New Orleans - Floor Plans - Humble Homes

Windows have been positioned so as to maximize privacy and light intake. The width of the house was partly based on an allowance for window openings along the length of the building – having windows at the ends only would have left the interior rather dim. Unfortunately, as is often the case with these “affordable” homes, the cost hasn’t been supplied. Given the simple finish, size and types of materials used, I like to think it lives up to the hype.

For more small houses check out this family home which creates rooms through storage partitions. Or, this small house for an art gallery owner that features spectacular views of the Pacific ocean. See all small houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: William Crocker

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. As with all affordable housing in New Orleans, you can bet it is nowhere near affordable.

  2. Lol Candide33… yeah, same in New Zealand. That would probably have cost around about $NZ 180k+ then add on the labour, the land costs, outrageous consent fees, astronomical fees for connecting to the electrical services, sewer, (so called) clean water…

    Corrugated iron for cladding? Only cheapo houses here are being built like that. House for sale near where I live is on the market for $NZ 389k. No room to swing a cat. Outside section… virtually none. My solution to this nightmare would make draconian look tame by comparison…

  3. Louise, remember… the internet is a World Wide Resource. The price to build a place varies markedly between countries. Indeed within a country like the USA… gosh, who woulda thunk?

    Price is relative. Relative to how much people earn. How much they pay in taxes. Whether they pay taxes via the payroll system or use the insane method in the USA of paying at the end of the financial year (or thereabouts). I believe it is April 14/15 in the USA.

    Material costs also vary from country to country. Depends on what can be manufactured in the country in question. How much it costs to bring in finished products from overseas. Exchange rates. And last, but not least, whether Santa has been kind to you or not… ; )

  4. Louise… if prices are included, depending on where it is made, will have half, no probably 89% of US readers pulling their hair out. They don’t see the value. And why? Well because everything (well virtually everything) is so cheap in the US (location dependent of course).

    Yet in its country of origin is probably not an unreasonable amount.

    As an example and feel free to search the web for other comparisons, US minimum wage is about $7:25 to $10:50 (State dependent)… yet in New Zealand it is $15:25 (well it will be from 1 April 2016)

    Add in differences in taxation rates, tips (not compulsory in the States btw despite what people say) plus the costs of things like Medicaid. All these things make it difficult to reconcile the perceived price differentials for Americans (of the USA persuasion).