Tiny houses -- slideshow

Wired has a lovely slideshow of tiny, perfect houses. Since I left Toronto in 1999 (where I had an illegal, 2,000 sqft warehouse space), I've lived in progressively smaller apartments and flats, and I've come to love it. I think the key is to be absolutely ruthless about getting rid of stuff that you don't need anymore -- for example, I've started to give most of my books to thrift-stores when I'm done with them, buying them as a used book on Amazon for a few pennies if I need them again.

Alas, most of these designer shoeboxes are premium items, super-expensive. But today's expensive bespoke prototypes are tomorrow's el-cheapo homebrew projects.

When prefabricated houses become small enough, high-tech enough and weird enough to allow for mounting on a cliffside or over a lake, they may have gone a step (or a splash) too far. The Single Hauz, from Poland, offers cantilevered space for one atop a cement pole, and looks like a cross between a billboard and a scene from the Myst series.


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  2. I think it shows class, but it lacks functionality. This reminds me of something people would buy and never really use.

  3. The house pictured is The Single Hauz by Poland’s front architects. BLDG BLOG has an article with more pics.

    Some of the designs do strike me as not very practicable. Floor to ceiling windows on all sides for every room is not my idea of good living.

  4. These houses present as much or more living space than is currently enjoyed by most of the world’s population. Living tiny is not really a big deal. And less stuff really does free your mind up. As to the privacy issue, it’s an excellent incentive to stay in shape. We all eventually end up in a box or an urn, so we might as well start downsizing now.

  5. “we all end up in a box or an urn”… how about baked into bricks to build something useful? Like housing?

    If you want to know how to live small and well, visit Japan. They are good at it even when they don’t have to be. Or talk to boat-dwellers.

  6. The ones mounted above the lake would be ideal for surviving zombie attacks, if the ladders were retractable.

  7. Hmm, I suspect that these days, el-cheapo housing of this kind means starting with the dimensions – 8′ x 8′ x 40′, the size of a standard shipping container, so you can ship it at standard shipping rates.

    Which is unfortunately just a little too small to be really good, especially once you take off a wall thickness on each side. Still, if you put the front door in the middle of the long wall, you can probably make a half-decent layout.

  8. “how about baked into bricks to build something useful? Like housing?”

    Too humanocentric. I’d rather be fed to the wildlife.

  9. I like the concept of small houses and such, but a lot of the designs I see just aren’t practical. As in, they lack a bathroom. Some even lack a kitchen.

    Sure, you could have a group of small houses sharing a communal bathroom, but at that point, it might be more economical to set it up as a dorm-style single building. This would also keep you out of the weather on those late-night bathroom visits.

  10. The Katrina cottage looks like some place one could live. And I’m partial to Jay Shafer’s tiny houses. Small is beautiful, as E.F. Schumacher said years ago. But many of the houses are not very practical for building anywhere except on a vast expanse of your own property — not a very small move.

    I’m in the process of downsizing for a move right now and even throwing out things I’ve carried around for sentimental reasons for 30 years. I’m not ready to unload my books, yet, though.

    Despite that, Cory, I would suggest checking the library before buying even a used copy of a book you’ve given away. It’s really amazing what you can find in a library.

  11. i love small living spaces too, but stilts and ladders aint gonna cut it…however if they put one on legs, like an imperial walker or baba yaga’s chicken hut, i’ll buy one tomorrow!

  12. I love the idea of these tiny houses, and really cutting away at the amount of stuff one owns…but are you really finding the majority of the books you want to read for sale for “a few pennies” on Amazon?

    I get lucky with the penny deals sometimes — but it’s not on a regular basis. What are you reading that’s so eminently available for cheap?

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