5 Stunning Small Homes . . . but would you live in one? (I’d try number 4!)


Each summer my little family of four spends 10 days camping in a tent that is about 5 m2 (54 ft2).  It is my favorite week of the year. Yet we live in a home that is roughly 110 m2 (1180 ft2).  This begs a question. Would we be happier in a smaller home?

All around the world there is a growing movement of people embracing the idea that for them less home might mean more life. Their motivations may be financial, environmental or even spiritual, but they are all testing the benefits of the same principle: less.

I very much doubt that I’m going to move in to a Tiny House any time soon, but I’m a great believer that in many aspects of life less can be more.  So I’m fascinated by the people pioneering living with less, in particular how less space and less stuff can create more freedom and more time.

While average house size continues to swell in most countries around the world, some folk are bucking the trend by living in small and even tiny homes. For each of these people that journey started with inspiration, so in today’s post I though I’d list 5 small homes that make me wonder . . . could small be beautiful for me?

1) The Life Edited Apartment: 39 m2 (420 ft2)


When you think about a small home it easy to default to gable roofed wooden homes on wheels.  But there is perhaps more serious potential for epic small apartments that make the most of limited city spaces.  That is the philosophy behind Graham Hill’s Life Edited Apartment.  The idea got so much traction it launched a business.

Read more at The Life Edited Apartment


2) Broadhurst’s The Crib 23 m2 (250 ft2)


I don’t know whether it is the locations, the garage type door or the high ceilings, but I just love this design concept by Broadhurst Architects.  It is obviously designed as a type of weekend shack and in that sense feels decadent.  But one could do worse than live in something like this.

Read more at The Crib


3) Macy Miller’s Minimotives 22 m2 (230 ft2)


The real heart of the tiny house movement isn’t populated by famous architects and developers, it’s about DIY dreamers.  Some of these dreamers are great bloggers too, invite you in to understand the guts of their life project.  Macy Miller’s Minimotives blog is awesome for this.  I particularly love her TinyHousers resource.

Read more at Minimotives


4) ÁBATON’s Portable House: 27 m2 (290 ft2)


Of all the small home’s I’ve seen that you could stick on the back of the truck this one by Spanish Architect’s ÁBATON speaks to me most.  It doesn’t use vertical space that much, nor is it rocking ingenious storage.  It is just beautiful design embodying the best of simplicity.  I want to plonk one on a mountain somewhere and just watch the weather go by.

Read more at ÁBATON


5) Renzo Piano’s Diogene: 7.5 m2 (81 ft2)


Architects are a peculiar breed.  Many of them seem to have an almost monastic calling to reduce a form down to its simplest block.  Even though his office designs some of the most iconic buildings in the world Renzo Piano has found time to realize a student dream that tests the limits of minimal.  Diogene is a remarkable little off grid building that includes a pull-out sofa; folding table, shower, toilet and kitchen.

Read more at Vitra

Tiny, small or just smaller?

The bigger your house the more it costs, the more time it takes to clean and the more stuff you get to fill it.  I not convinced truly tiny living has that much broad appeal.  But I’m sure that most people could benefit from experimenting with less on some level. If these still look crazy tiny to you check these 7 Stunning Passive Houses.

  • mizacy

    This is a great post! Thank you so much for your kindness in including me (#3, and your words are so nice to read!). I am also stunned to be on any sort of a list with Renzo Piano, his buildings have been a HUGE inspiration to me, he is able to incorporate so many cool ideas into commercial spaces, a talent not many architects master, the fact that he designed that tiny house made me love him so much more too!

    • Lindsay Wilson

      Yo Macy, thanks for dropping by!! Anyone who can devote that many words to a composting toilet is sound in my mind. I also just love all those FAQs on your TinyHousers page, that is something really valuable you are building for people!! Enjoy that little girl, baby’s are the best of design 😉

  • Kiwiiano

    More tiny, well smallish, options come from the Wiki House Project.
    See http://www.wikihouse.cc

    or http://www.gizmag.com/wikihouse-print-your-own-home-project/22548/

    Of course it helps to have access the full-sheet CNC routers or the like, it’s amazing what can be done with precision cut plywood.

    • Lindsay Wilson

      That . . is pretty damn cool. Thanks for the links mate, I’ll use them at some point

    • Kiwiiano

      Which immediately begged the question: “Has anyone attempted to use a CNC Router to build a CNC Router?” I’ll check and report back, Tues-Wed.

  • Lifeboatman

    I spent the first 5 years of married life living in a small house, it was called a Caravan. It was very cleverly designed and had everything we needed.
    By the end of the 5 years we were very glad to be able to move into a bigger structure called a Semi Detached House. Had we not been able to do so, we would probably have found ourselves in a Mental Asylum.
    Small is not a good way to go in the long term.

    • Lindsay Wilson

      I think that just makes you pretty normal. As countries get richer house size grows, typically to around 100m2. There are a few outliers like Australia, Canada and US. Really well designed homes for families in the 60-100 m2 region are what interest me most, but when we were are couple smaller was cool, not tiny though

  • http://modernhouse-plans.com Laurie

    Lindsay, Great eye! I’m right there with you on #4. Here’s an interesting one you might find interesting, <a href http://design-milk.com/green-zero-by-studio-di-architettura-daniele-menichini/, it’s small, modular and net-zero. -Laurie

    • Lindsay Wilson

      Nice, a lot of deck. Might do another just on prefabs. A few people have emailed some nice options

  • http://modernhouse-plans.com Laurie

    Lindsay, Great eye! I’m right there with you on #4. -Laurie

  • gasdive

    Another great post. I’ve spent a lot of time in, on and under boats. A 12 m by 5 metre Catamaran is the last word in luxury with living space for 8-12 people. That’s despite the fact that about 1/3 of that area isn’t even “used” as the bridge deck doesn’t go all the way forward and lots of space is devoted to motors, winches, sail lockers and the like. Those 8-12 people are sometimes onboard for weeks at a time, unable to even walk around the block yet there’s everything they need in a small space. Boats are often nearly self sufficient as “off grid” is just life on a boat. There’s storage and refrigeration large enough to carry food and water for weeks at sea. Yet a land based living space the same size is considered cramped for one person. It has always amazed me how much wasted space houses have. It’s not like land is cheap!