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An interesting trend in the eco-home movement is micro-homes. The recession, and (finally) concern over climate change, seem to have provided some needed perspective on the longing to buy bigger, more luxurious, more ecologically costly homes.
The micro-home trend is a much larger pendulum swing away from the mcMansion trend than I’d ever imagined, but there’s something appealing about being able to lessen your ecological footprint, own your own home, live mortgage-free and have wonderfully low utility bills.
Micro home owners seem content to rid themselves of most of their belongings in order to fit into their new homes. Some say it’s quite freeing and they are happier now than when they had a lot more stuff and lived in a larger space.
I’ve lived in a 850 sq. ft. apartment for 15 years (10 with my husband, 5 with my husband and our son). We’ve often felt cramped, and for much of that time I envied friends who owned their own houses and had lots of space. However, my dreams of owning my own suburban house are fading: density is more green (a topic for another post). If we ever do buy, I hope it will be a town-house or apartment, ideally one with thick walls, fitted with solar panels and lots of windows, and I’d like to keep the size small: less space=lower utility costs and smaller ecological footprint.
While I know I wouldn’t want to live in homes as tiny as the ones in the videos I’ve posted below, I’m nonetheless inspired by them. My 850 sq. ft. apartment suddenly seems enormous. Now if only we could incorporate some of these wonderful space-saving technologies!
- News segment on small (12 ft x 12ft homes) built in Twelve Cubed Homes in British Columbia
- A tiny home tour: living in 89 square feet
- A PBS segment on the tiny house movement
- DIY House for less than $3500. I love how much of the house was built with recovered materials, and it looks great!
- Low rent liveaboard life in San Francisco Bay
Architects are also getting into the micro home movement, not only with separate houses, but in designing homes in densely populated areas.
- This apartment, with a sliding wall system, can be transformed into 24 different combinations, a brilliant design by a Hong Kong. architect.
- A 258 sq. ft apartment inspired by yachts and Japanese apartments, the kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom have to be “built” from various units hidden in the wall or even under the patio.
- Europe’s narrowest house in Europe (Kiel, Germany), a beautiful, and creatively designed home built in a gap between two old buildings.
- A London “Gap House,” quite a bit larger than its German counterpart.