We all want our guests to rest happily and comfortably, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do so while staying across the foyer, out the front door, and in a structure all their own. Goodbye spare bedroom down the hall. Hello guest lodge.

It’s this kind of thinking that has put a fresh perspective on how we solve the matter of space when opening up our beautifully-designed homes to others. By adopting an approach that breaks down scale, architects and designers are able to create exterior structures to house and delight guests with plenty of space in between, thus making it possible to have all the amenities and privacy usually reserved for much larger homes.

“We find that many of our clients enjoy these small buildings for their intimacy and their direct connection to a site,” architect Elizabeth Gray tells the Financial Times. “Those qualities can be achieved in a larger building, of course, but there’s something about being in a small building, surrounded by nature and perhaps separated from the busyness of a larger house, that people really like.”

The Hollywood Hills compound estate known as Marmont Manor (photo at right) offers its guests such an idyllic, peaceful setting. The property, which lies just above Chateau Marmont and contains its own private swan-filled lake, nature trails and waterfall, features several charming and accommodating cottages for guests. Near the Main Residence is a self-contained guest annex featuring two bedrooms, two baths, its own kitchen, living room, and fireplace. There is also the gracious Carriage House, a charming outpost featuring two two-bedroom apartments, each with their own separate bathroom.

In addition to establishing luxurious digs for visiting friends and family, the concept of the newly-imagined guest annex allows for the host to use and enjoy the space between visits. For instance, owners of a 1820s house in Blackheath, London, keep a grand piano in their “Outback” guest lodge for hosting musical soirees with professional singers and musicians and taking private yoga lessons.

No matter what additional uses they may offer, each self-contained unit reflects a compound way of living so that what starts off as just a secluded space for guests becomes a flexible and welcoming retreat for all parties involved.

Read more about this architectural trend here.

Photo at top by Bruce Damonte, showing the Summerhill House and its guest building in Kenwood, California, designed by Edmonds + Lee Architects.