Who (or What) is Driving the Industry?

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Published on: May 21, 2015

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Compact living is growing in popularity, so much so that there’s now a TV show devoted to it. Owning less space doesn’t necessarily require sacrifice, however. Those who have already taken the plunge into the tiny house real estate market are proving that designing the form to maximize the function is not only possible but, in some cases, preferable.

Living Pods. Modular, fold-out furniture and home amenities have emerged to cater to the minimalist and wanderlust-type downsizers.

  • Cocoon 1 by Micasa Lab is a plastic pod that contains built-in furniture, a kitchen and a power pack that can provide either 40 hours of light or 20 hours of light plus 30 minutes of cooking.
  • The Boxetti Collection by Rolands Landsbergs is a series of fold-out, slide-out modules. It includes a bedroom box, a living room box, an office and a kitchen.

Skinny Houses. Built to be less than 10 feet wide, Skinny Houses have provided a unique way for city dwellers to stake a claim as cities grow increasingly dense and expensive.

Spite Houses. Frank Lloyd Wright once said: “A building should appear to grow easily from its site and be shaped to harmonize with its surroundings if Nature is manifest there.” Wright would have appreciated the up-and-coming Spite Houses– homes built according to the site they sit on.

  • The owner of the Hollensbury Spite House wanted to prevent people from using the alley that separated his two row homes in Alexandria, Virginia, so he built the 7-foot-wide, 25-foot-deep dwelling in between.
  • A small strip of land was left untouched when a street was constructed in Northern California. The location was too good to pass up for the owner of the Alameda Spite House, a 10-foot-wide home that was built on the lot.
  • A fisherman in Eureka, California, wanted convenient access to the water. Sitting on the canal, the 384-square-foot cabin has boat storage beneath it and a sleeping loft over the kitchen.

Micro Apartments. There are more unmarried people in the U.S. today than there are married. There’s a growing demand for affordable studios and one-, two-person households as a result and builders in New York City are responding. Fifty-five apartments, ranging from 260 to 360 square feet in size, are currently under construction in the Big Apple.

“Is the land or the people dictating home building?” is becoming the new “What came first – the chicken or the egg?” question. We may never know the relationship between the two but we do know that the industry will have to continue to adapt accordingly.

Photography: Jeremy Levine on Flickr.com and is licensed by Creative Commons

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