Thursday, March 01, 2007

Little Houses I Love

Small spaces are always a challenge, but seeing smart, well-designed small spaces gives me a thrill. And when I say small, I mean small, not 2,000 square feet, which is "small" by many people's definitions. Currently I am in love with this tiny home: the Sustain miniHome, from the Sustain Design Studio. I remember reading about the house when it still just a series of renderings and floorplans, and thinking that it sounded like a fantastic project. Then yesterday I picked up the latest issue of O at Home magazine (O being the all mightly Oprah) and saw that the publication had some great photos of both the exterior and the interior of the Sustain miniHome. I went to poke around the O at Home site for shots, but they haven’t updated the site to include their Spring 2007 issue yet. Luckily, Sustain has tons of images of the house on their site sustain.ca. The miniHome hits two of architecture’s recent obsessions: pre-fab housing and ecologically-sound building. And at 350 square feet and about $100,000, the miniHome is an example of my favorite architectural challenge, making small spaces work and making them (somewhat) affordable. In the future, I plan to start posting regularly about “little houses” that I love (other than my own).

The Sustain site lists a “recipe” for the miniHome, which I think is an apt and succinct description of the house:
Recipe for a good idea:

1. Take the familiar - The lowly Travel Trailer
2. Build it to last, and be easy to maintain

3. Make 350 sf feel like 600 sf
3. Use only Green materials
4. Add Off-Grid, Solar and Wind systems

5. Let it run on biodiesel

6. Keyword: Multi-functional

7. Keep it extremely light on the land

8. Make it beautiful

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