Peek Inside Tiny & Beautiful City Homes
For the modern house hunter, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Thanks to soaring prices, concern for the environment, and popular series like HGTV’s Tiny House, Big Living, more and more people are exploring the merits of compact, efficiently-designed homes. Check out these smart, livable, and refreshingly petite homes from Dwell and New York Times contributor Mimi Zeiger’s new book Tiny Houses in the City to get inspired to make the most of your own square footage.
The narrow structure depicted on the cover of Zeiger’s beautifully photographed book is a renovated nineteenth-century home in London, England. At just over 7-feet wide — about the width of an alleyway — it’s no wonder the architects named it the Slim House, but with it’s long, deep garden and array of skylights it — amazingly — feels anything but closed-in.
A lofty sunlit kitchen and dining area are even lovelier in the warmer seasons when the Slim House’s French doors can be left open to the garden. A guest bedroom and master suite are located upstairs on the second and third floors, respectively. To tackle the problem of storage, the architects added a small loft at the very top of the house, so no space is wasted.
This 13-foot-wide house was built in a residential neighborhood of Kobe, Japan, and features lots of clever and unexpected details. For example, its exterior was designed to be purposely off-kilter — with one side jutting forward — to create a covered entryway on the right and room to park a car on the left.
Inside the Kobe house, short flights of stairs separate sleeping and working zones, creating the sensation of more space. Open staircases and skylights keep the interiors feeling open and bright, while wood cladding lends a warm, cabin-like feel.
We adore the modern, streamlined look of this miniature abode in Washington, D.C., which boasts a series of rooftop solar panels and a rainwater collection system. Plus, at just 11-feet wide, it’s only slightly wider than most trailer-based homes and can still be towed from place to place.
Measuring just 210-square-feet, the Washington home’s interior benefits from plenty of natural light. A functional, yet shallow kitchen and plenty of shelves ensure the interiors feel open and clutter-free, and a comfortable banquette doubles as a guest bed (a larger trundle bed and tiny bathroom are tucked away at the other end of the house).
No room for a parking pad? No problem. The highlight of this family home — also located in Kobe, Japan — is its handy covered garage (the architects set the living spaces, plus a rooftop deck, above the garage to make the most of the skinny city plot). A handsome red cedar-clad exterior makes an organic and contemporary statement, while inside, a unique light well cuts through all three floors to let sunshine flood in (pick up Zeiger’s book to see it for yourself).