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Move Over Tiny Houses — Texas Builder Unveils Nouveau Bungalows, a Bigger, Much Better Take on Small Dwellings

Little Stylish Masterpieces

BY // 12.15.20

After 15 years as a home builder and designer, Stephen Heiman is shaking up  traditional home design by building small dwellings employing the utmost design efficiencies with artistic touches. Nouveau Bungalows residences range from 851 square feet to a little over 1,000. The concept has been so well received that his three original bungalows sold on the first day on the market and the two currently under construction have already been spoken for.

Do not confuse these with the tiny houses trend. Through his Steven Allen Designs, Heiman has created one-bedroom, one-bath residences that function like full-sized properties.

“I made sure that the kitchen was the size of a normal kitchen, no smaller. My bungalows have a dining room, living  room and master bedroom large enough for a kingsize bed,” Heiman tells PaperCity.

“I feel like times are changing. People don’t want to maintain large homes. They don’t want to waste a lot of space that they don’t use every day. I wanted to create a product that was very unique so that when someone walked in your house, they would say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before.’ ”

The concept has proven particularly attractive to single young professionals. Among his buyers are a recently discharged military veteran and first-time home buyer; a travel nurse, who bought her bungalow remotely while fighting COVID-19 in New York; an EMT physician; and an engineer who is also a classical musician.

Nouveau Bungalows, Steve Allen Designsn
Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in Sante Fe, New Mexico, was inspiration for this Nouveau Bungalow by Steven Allen Designs.

The challenge, Heiman notes, was to build an affordable house that was efficiently designed “yet is cool and is appealing to the art community and to the design community.” In fact, he has named his bungalows after his design inspirations.

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The first Nouveau Bungalow, Phante, showcases three different ceiling treatments in one space – exposed joists, dropdown accent ceiling and shiplap ceiling. The second Nouveau Bungalow, Josephine, showcases a raised texture accent wall that gives a contrast from the dining room, mixed with vintage furniture, to the kitchen. The third Nouveau Bungalow, O’Keeffe, was inspired by Heiman’s recent visit to Sante Fe, New Mexico, to tour the late legend and artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s home

Heiman has introduced his bungalows in Houston’s Rosslyn Heights neighborhood (zip code 77091), where he has priced his homes between $265,000 and $320,000. Though this price range is a far cry from the million dollar homes he has been building, the idea has him enchanted.

Contrary to traditional placement, the bungalows are situated at the back of the lot with the front yard secluded by a high fence. Glass sliding doors fully open across the front bringing the outdoors in via a patio The living room, kitchen and dining room open to the front yard via the glass doors.

“These bungalows are so well laid out that we had 20 people in one of them and with the doors open it felt like you were in a 3,000 square foot home . . . ,” Heiman says. “It feels like you’re staying at a nice boutique hotel.”

Heiman is looking for additional land on which to expand his Nouveau Bungalow program and is planning to introduce the concept in Galveston.

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