While a fierce debate rages over micro-units, we should step back and realize that with good design, a space can feel as big as you want it to despite its square footage.
Architect Terri Chiao knew she couldn't afford the rent on a 750-square-foot Brooklyn loft without a roommate, but she didn't want to divide it up with walls. Instead, she built a cabin and a treehouse inside the space to be used as private living quarters.
Monica Potvin and Markel Otaola bought the 323-square-foot apartment in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter during their child-free years, when location was more important than space.
Total cost was $12,000, but it's debt-free and it's much more than your typical college digs. It has a full kitchen (including a fridge/freezer, sink and camping oven), a sofa-bed he built himself, a nearly full-sized shower (he chopped the top off) and a composting toilet.
Three years ago, this family left their 4-bedroom home to move into a 320-square-foot prefab. Yikes!
Over the past few years I've filmed a Lego-style transforming flat, a unit with a walk-thru shower and fridge-in-a-drawer and a small space where the architect cut a hole in the roof to create an indoor/outdoor shower.
If our future homes are urban, compact and temporary, than the furniture of the future will look something like BrickBox.
John MacPeek has fond memories of living out of a suitcase when he first moved to Europe over two decades ago, so when he was looking to buy an apartment in Barcelona, he was ready to live in something compact where everything he owned was accounted for.
Lloyd Kahn's Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter is a nod to the current "grassroots movement to scale things back," and in it he profiles about 150 builders who have created homes under 500 square feet.
This week I released via YouTube -- in an attempt to make it some type of "of the people, for the people" -- my documentary We the Tiny House People: Small Homes, Tiny Flats & Wee Shelters in the New and Old World.
I continue to discover people who aren't even aware of this movement: iving in shipping containers, houseboats, tool sheds, former pigeon coops and treehouses. These stripped-down shelters reveal for us the essence of home.
Most of the windows, except for the large openings providing a view of the sea, are tiny. So from a distance, the home resembles yet another of the boulders dotting the mountainside.
They thought about bottles and tires. Then Wines tripped over a shipping pallet on the way home from work one night and something clicked. Using only shipping pallets, or skids, the I-Beam architects created a tiny, modular home design.
Johnny Sanphillippo has never made more than $20,000 per year (working mostly as a housekeeper), but he knew like "any other American" that he wanted to own his own home.
Bay Area developer Patrick Kennedy wants to build the housing equivalent of the Smart Car. His SmartSpaces will be small -- just a couple hundred square feet -- and prefabricated.
"I don't know if I could have a car without a bed in it." San Francisco artist Jay Nelson has put beds into nearly every vehicle he's ever owned, including a semi-totalled Honda Civic (bought for $200) and a tiny rowboat (found on Craigslist).