Think Small looks at the trend of tiny second homes (500 square feet and under). Less house means less upkeep, energy, and waiting are required.
Minimal square footage means reduced maintenance costs, less upkeep and reduced energy consumption. Prefabricated and pre-built models can require little or no site preparation, which means no anxious weekend drives to the country to make sure construction is moving along. Add to this an element of instant gratification (once the planning stage is over, most houses go up in days, even hours, and many are delivered, turn-key, to the site).
There’s an audio slide show of a some different tiny homes too.
Reminds me of that Geico “Tiny House” commercial.
Rubenon 22 Feb 07
I like how all the photos show the house in nice weather.
Dr. Peteon 22 Feb 07
We used to call tiny second homes “cabins” :) As cabins go, these are pretty nice, though. It’s great to see architects and others actually starting to think about design, sustainability, etc. I’m sick and tired of things like high-rises going up as quickly as possible, with no eye towards the people who will be living in them or the impact they’ll have.
betoon 22 Feb 07
Funny (or ironic?) how this gets published on the NYT – as if New Yorkers weren’t already used to matchbox-sized, cramped dwellings by now out of necessity and ever-rising housing costs.
I got an interest on compact living design out of facing similar challenges on my own. It is exciting to discover how you can get away with even the smallest spaces if you are smart enough. However, that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could afford the footprint of a McMansion sometimes.
Luison 22 Feb 07
I see a future where more and more people will run their own business or work for a big company (but from home) and these will be their offices.
Michael Daineson 22 Feb 07
I was disappointed that the article only deals with small houses as second homes. I like the idea of having one as a “first” home, but I also find it difficult to get past the whole “bigger is safer” idea when it comes to a house.
Something similar near me: the Domes.
Keithon 22 Feb 07
Buckminster Fuller was really one of the first pioneers of this philosophy. In particular, take a look at his Dymaxion House design.
John Bon 22 Feb 07
I read this article the other day on nytimes.com and it’s pretty cool what’s being done with prefab small houses now, and the designs, especially of the one pictured above, look really cool.
They did, in fact, talk to one guy who lives in a small house like this as his primary residence. He’s president of the Small House Association or something.
On a similar note Oprah had a segment on small apartments yesterday or the day before where people were living in less than 300 square feet.
bradon 22 Feb 07
A year or two ago you had some photos here on SVN from a book on small Japanese houses as well…it’s called “Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living,” and it’s full of inspiring ideas and great photos. Highly recommended.
I spent 5 years living in a one bedroom cottage in rural Vermont, not much bigger than some of the ones shown in the NYTimes article, and it was by far the best living experience I’ve ever had in my life. It does help to have storage space nearby though (I had a barn for things like my bicycle, garden tools, etc.)
Deanon 22 Feb 07
I love the little houses (cabins really) and have checked out the Tumbleweed models before.
But I find the photo from the article you reposted here to be quite depressing. Like a little cell in the middle of nowhere! That particular model reminds me of some state park public restroom…
Dave Pon 22 Feb 07
Um, am I the only one that see the idea of making you second home “smaller” as a bit of an oxymoron?
One would think that the most environmentally friendly way to live would be in a single house no?
I suppose it’s a wonderful idea to try to make houses smaller, but I can’t see any advantage to owning one of these: It’s like living in a condo with all of the disadvantages, and none of the advantages! :-)
f5on 22 Feb 07
There’s something about plopping a cube in the middle of an otherwise empty, barren plane that strikes me as such comepletely absent-minded, horrible site location. Regardless of how good/green/energy-efficient/yadda the manufacturers of these small homes bill themselves as. I’m really hopeing that house in the photo was put there temporarily as a photo shoot.
bradon 22 Feb 07
I’m really hopeing that house in the photo was put there temporarily as a photo shoot. No, the guy who owns it is a lawyer who bought the land for conservation purposes…he says the small house puts the focus on the land, which is really why he bought the property. It doesn’t have a bathroom or kitchen; he says he’s going to put up another small house next door as a bathroom but didn’t say anything about a kitchen. I get the feeling it’s a weekend retreat.
Mradon 22 Feb 07
Sooo…has this “less is more” thing finally jumped the shark?
I know, ideally it’s “more from less”, but I think some folks are taking it a tad too far.
Roberto Alamoson 23 Feb 07
Those tiny houses are horrible. Less is not always better.
Markon 23 Feb 07
Big land, tiny, low weight house, no foundation…
I guess it’s less cleanup too, after the F3 comes roaring through.
Seth Aldridgeon 23 Feb 07
It’s sad that these small houses are a hell of a lot cooler than my apartment.
Peter Cooperon 23 Feb 07
My girlfriend and I are buying our first house now, and it’s 505 square feet for $210,000. Funniest thing is, this is actually a bargain and we’re 150 miles out of London ;-)
Joseph LeBlancon 23 Feb 07
Remember, some of us don’t want a house. I would rather have 500 square feet near something interesting than 2000 out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, this article was talking about the middle of nowhere, but I could see these small homes as reasonable entry-level housing.
Garethon 23 Feb 07
This is a bit off topic. Not a little house, but another kit house, and a really cool one at that…
If I lived in Europe and was building a house, I’d be mighty tempted by the huf-haus
Nathanielon 23 Feb 07
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