Topic: Outdoor Structures

Date Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

The 5 coolest tiny homes in America

The 5 coolest tiny homes in America

By Hana R. Alberts

Derek “Deek” Diedricksen is a tiny-house aficionado who has scoured the country for dozens of the coolest examples of the microliving trend. In his new book, “Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures,” he highlights his quirkiest finds. They range from a 238-square-foot backyard cabin you can rent on Airbnb to a 135-square-foot trailer on wheels that one couple is driving across the country for a year.

Some perks of going small? It’s cheaper, but there’s also the belief that a pared-down, petite space is good for mental health and the environment, too.

“Creating a microstructure involves creative thinking, outdoor activity, and problem solving – things many people crave but often find absent from their busy (and sometimes repetitious and regimented) modern lives,” Diedricksen writes. “Welcome to a world of imaginative, out-there fun — all within the realm of ‘shelter,’ from the most basic to the utterly brain-bending.”

Oakland, Calif.

Modal TriggerThe interior of Matt Wolpe’s 100-square-foot home.Photo: Brittany M. Powell

Matt Wolpe’s “tiny house” is a mere 100 square feet. The co-head of design firm Just Fine Design/Build, Wolpe managed to pack in a lofted area that holds a full bed, plus a full kitchen with two burners and a stove.

The wood floors were taken from an old roller rink, and other materials in the home were also salvaged and repurposed. The wood furniture is all hand built to fit the space, given that standard-issue pieces are just too big. Opposite a small L-shaped seating area is a kitchen built into a corner, with pots and pans stored on high-up shelves, as well as narrow stairs to the loft.

“What I like most about Matt’s home is that it includes many modern conveniences without making the place seem cramped,” Diedriksen writes.

And how much did it cost to build? A bonus: the grand total came to $5,500.

Western Massachusetts

Modal TriggerThis house in the Berkshires totals 227 square feet.Photo: Derek Diedricksen

Diedriksen discovered “the 227” while on a road trip through the Berkshires. Believe it or not, at 227 square feet, it’s one of the larger homes Diedriksen profiles.

Modal TriggerInside The 227, which is also on wheels.Photo: Derek Diedricksen

The Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vt., is responsible for the black and orange abode.

The dark, charred-looking siding is the result of a Japanese technique that seals the wood using a blowtorch. Inside, there are recycled light fixtures, plenty of storage spots, and high ceilings. Petite furniture fits the space; the bed is tucked into a corner.

“I can’t get enough of the steampunk-esque, pipe-fitting ceiling lamps of the 227,” Diedriksen writes. “So many people overlook the simple concept of using raw-looking plywood as wall cladding. Not only can it look great, but it saves time, money, and materials, not to mention weight in cases where trailer loads are a concern.”

The bathroom is actually pretty big – 30 square feet – and contains a shower, sink and composting toilet that all share the space. Slatted floors ensure all water drains out.

Healdsburg, Calif.

Modal TriggerA 131-square-foot tiny house doubles as a travel trailer.Photo: Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Enter the Tumbleweed Linden, a travel trailer created by the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

Modal TriggerThe cantilevered counter extends to create a bar.Photo: Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

It’s just 20 feet long, and 131 square feet, and the loft area can fit a king-size mattress.

Diedriksen reports that it feels spacious on the inside, with a full-size shower stall and composting toilet.

The “great room” is 7 by 9 feet, which is actually large for a microhome.

“The cantilevered end of the kitchen counter (just a few overhanging inches) is a nice touch. It enables you to use it as a bar counter if you pull up a stool,” Diedriksen writes. “The dormer lofts and window placement also promote a nice cross breeze, as well as ventilation in what would otherwise be a very hot loft space.”

That canoe resting outside the Tumbleweed Linden’s door looks pretty idyllic, too (and about as big as the home).

All over North America

Modal TriggerThis 135-square-foot house has been towed across the entire U.S. and much of Canada.Photo: Tiny House Giant Journey

Another project by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is this cute li’l thing on wheels. Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard have towed their 20-foot-long trailer all across America and Canada since September 2014, blogging about their adventures along the way.

Modal TriggerA mezzanine above the living space offers more storage.Photo: Tiny House Giant Journey

Clocking in at 135 square feet, the home was tweaked by Dutilh and Spesard to meet their needs.

Of course, plenty of its materials are either reclaimed or natural finds. The siding comes from a 75-year-old barn in Wisconsin, while the circular window in a loft area was originally a tree stump.

“With a few repurposed furniture items, some salvaged crates, and even a small keg, this pair was able to build a homemade version of what the Japanese call tansu steps. The [tansu] stairs are hollow, providing storage beneath, so almost no space is wasted,” Diedriksen explains. “Other space savers in Guillaume and Jenna’s home include magnetic cutlery storage, burlap counter curtains with storage pockets, dormers for increased loft space, a drop-down table that doubles as a chalkboard, and even basket-style seating that can be moved around into different configurations.”

Portland, Ore.

Modal TriggerThis is a teeny-tiny bed and breakfast.Photo: Jennifer Yee

Welcome to the Rustic Modern, which is actually a bed and breakfast that Michael Papillo and Jenny Yee run out of their backyard. Yes, for $145 per night, you could actually sleep in this 238-square-foot haven.

Modal TriggerThe Rustic Modern from the outside.Photo: Jennifer Yee

Papillo and Yee designed and built the cabin themselves, using wood repurposed from an old shed and teak salvaged from high-end construction sites. A table is made out of an old door – complete with knob. There’s a full bathroom here, tub included, that looks cleaner and nice than most space-starved New York City WCs.

“The result here is not only savings but also a dose of character that gives this little oasis a look that is so not ‘off the shelf,’ ” Papillo tells Diedriksen. Diedriksen observes, “The loft, which houses a queen-size bed, is accessed not by a ladder but by real stairs, which many guests find much easier to use, and the rustic treads just look fantastic. It’s pretty hard for me to find anything I don’t like about this Portland rental.”

We’ll take it.

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