Tiny Houses & Small Spaces, Part One

It might be my messy, cluttered home, or it might be living with the paraphernalia and gear a two-year-old requires, but the tiny house movement looms in my imagination, and the imagination of many people. Even if we can’t (or won’t) go there ourselves, sometimes just the idea that these cosy homes exist out in the wild with their spartan owners, is a comfort. So, here are some tiny house and wonderfully organised small space books you can browse if you’re like me, and sometimes get that yearning.

Syndetics book coverTiny house living : ideas for building & living well in less than 400 square feet / Ryan Mitchell.
“Tiny House, Large Lifestyle! Tiny homes are popping up across America, captivating people with their novel approach not only to housing, but to life. Once considered little more than a charming oddity, the tiny house movement continues to gain momentum among those who thirst for a simpler, “greener,” more meaningful life in the face of society’s “more is better” mindset. This book explores the philosophies behind the tiny house lifestyle, helps you determine whether it’s a good fit for you, and guides you through the transition to a smaller space. For inspiration, you’ll meet tiny house pioneers and hear how they built their dwellings (and their lives) in unconventional, creative and purposeful ways. They’ll invite you in, show you around their cozy abodes, and share lessons they learned along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiny houses / Mimi Zeiger.
“With “McMansions” increasingly giving way to “tiny” houses, the desire to downsize and be more ecologically and economically prudent is a concept many are beginning to embrace. Focusing on dwelling spaces all under 1,000 square feet, TINY HOUSES (Rizzoli, April 2009) by Mimi Zeiger aims to challenge readers to take a look at their own homes and consider how much space they actively use. Ranging from tree houses to floating houses, TINY HOUSES features an international collection of over thirty modular and prefab homes, each one embodying “microgreen living”, defined as the creation of tiny homes where people challenge themselves to live “greener” lives. By using a thoughtful application of green living principles, renewable resources for construction, and clever ingenuity, these homes exemplify sustainable living at its best.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTurning tiny : the small-living paradigm that’s reshaping the way we think, live and dream / compiled and presented by Darin Zaruba.
“Have you ever wondered what makes the tiny house movement an actual movement? Have you longed to hear the stories behind some of your favorite non-traditional homes? Do you wonder if the movement is more of a shift in thought rather than a blip on the architectural screen? Turning tiny is your direct-access pass into the minds and lives of tiny housers in various arenas including desgin, building, community planning, and the emerging business around it all. It is a collection of what and why 60+ contributing authors have turned tiny and continue to look in that direction.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life-changing magic of tidying / Marie Kondo, translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano.
“Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan’s expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method. The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what to keep and what to discard.[…] Marie Kondo’s method is based on a ‘once-cleaned, never-messy-again’ approach. If you think that such a thing is impossible then you should definitely read this compelling book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiny homes on the move : wheels and water / Lloyd Kahn.
“Tiny Homes on the Move chronicles 21st-century nomads — people who inhabit homes that are compact and mobile, either on wheels or in the water. In photos and stories, this fascinating book explores modern travelers who live in vans, pickup trucks, buses, trailers, sailboats, and houseboats that combine the comforts of home with the convenience of being able to pick up and go at any time. With over 1,000 color photos accompanying the stories and descriptions of these moveable sanctuaries, this is a valuable and inspirational book for anyone thinking outside the box about shelter.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big tiny : a built-it-myself memoir / Dee Williams.The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
“Dee Williams’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored–but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury– time– that would come with downsizing. Deciding to build an eighty-four-square-foot house–on her own, from the ground up–was just the beginning of building a new life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle house on a small planet : simple homes, cozy retreats, and energy efficient possibilities / by Shay Salomon ; photographys by Nigel Valdez ; [foreword by Frances Moore Lappé].
“Living small frees up the mind, the wallet, and the soul. As economic uncertainties loom large, and the evidence mounts that humans are responsible for much of global warming, the “new” trend is beginning to seem old: new subdivisions filled with McMansions, the friend of a friend’s childless brother who just added on a third bedroom. Many of us have suffered the consequences of an inflated mortgage, an unmanageable construction project, or a house simply too large to keep clean. […] Pockets of people all over America are realizing the benefits of scaling down. They are designing a new dream, one that reunites extended families, makes space for friends, and emphasizes home life over home maintenance. Little House on a Small Planetis a guidebook to this movement, and an invitation to join.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrefabulous small houses / Sheri Koones ; foreword by Robert Redford.Prefabulous Small Houses
“Prefab home construction has come into its own. Prefabricated homes used to be considered inferior to houses built on site, but not anymore. In Prefabulous Small Houses, best-selling author Sheri Koones presents 32 stunning prefabricated homes from around North America. 250 beautiful photographs and floorplans show the amazing breadth of styles available to today’s homeowners. […] All of the houses in Prefabulous Small Houses range from 325 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. and showcase construction methods perfect for any climate. Building better, building greener. All of the houses featured here are highly energy efficient and are built with sustainability in mind.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeautifully small : clever ideas for compact spaces / Sara Emslie ; photography by Rachel Whiting.
“In Chapter 1: Inspiration, Sara draws inspiration from truly tiny spaces such as boats and caravans as well as her own home–a diminutive workman’s cottage in a London suburb. In Chapter 2: Elements of Design, she discusses how even the most straightforward planning decisions can be complicated by the constraints of small spaces and suggests clever design solutions. The third chapter, Elements of Style, explores ideas for making compact interiors work through the use of creative styling and decoration. In Chapter 4, a series of case studies takes a closer look at imaginative treatments for pocket-size interiors, showcasing a variety of tiny spaces including a terraced ‘two-up, two-down’ worker’s cottage, a tiny studio apartment with a clever mezzanine that incorporates a bathroom, and a pint-sized coastal hideaway.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall spaces for modern living : making the most of your indoor space.
“An increase in small, urban-style living and the evolution of new storage devices and space saving solutions makes this a valuable guide to creating and maintaining a stylish, contemporary home within a small or compact space. illusion of space. Explore fresh ideas for space saving, from cupboard hideaways and new loft spaces to display storage and clutter management. Whether you have a tiny suburban space, a city studio or a compact house, you should find all the advice and inspiration you need.” (Syndetics summary)