How would you like to be a 39-year old sharing a house with your mother? What if that house were the size of one parking space? This is Fuyuhito Moriya's life, as well as the situation for a growing number of people.
According to this CNN report, the "ultra-small house" trend is sweeping Tokyo, Japan. In homes like Moriya's, where the kitchen/living/dining room is the size of a walk-in closet, creativity is key. He uses sliding curtains instead of doors, tucks appliances under counters, and has a triangular spiral staircase for his 3-story home.
In Tokyo as well as many other cities, space is scant and the economy is tough. Moriya built his small home (which actually was a former parking space) for $500,000, unable to afford anything bigger, yet determined to build his own house. Architects are seeing this more and more. 70% of business is now ultra-small homes for one architect.
For some, designing ultra-small homes is an art steeped in a fantasy form. According to an NPR report, designers experiment with asymmetrical walls, glass cubes, and translucent skin. As small-home author Azby Brown explains, creating visual tricks like this is "kind of a psychological jujitsu."
While saving money is often the incentive to build an ultra-small home, there can also be environmental benefits, such as less energy wasted on heating and cooling rooms, and the general lifestyle adaptation of learning to live with less, thus creating less waste in the long run.
The next time you pull your car into a parking space, just think... you could be living there.
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