Small houses

From Small houses challenge our notions of need as well as minimum-size standards.

Down a rambling residential road on the outskirts of Sebastopol, the dream house sits like a testament to discriminating taste.

This dream house is the love child of artist-builder Jay Shafer, who lovingly hand-crafted it. The stainless-steel kitchen, gleaming next to the natural wood interior, is outfitted with customized storage and built-ins. From his bed, Shafer can gaze into the Northern California sky through a cathedral window. In his immaculate office space, a laptop sits alongside rows of architectural books and magazines — many featuring his house on the cover. And from the old-fashioned front porch, he can look out on a breathtaking setting: an apple orchard in full bloom.

But in an era when bigger is taken as a synonym for better, calling Shafer’s home a dream house might strike some as an oxymoron. Why? The entire house, including sleeping loft, measures only 96 square feet — smaller than many people’s bathrooms. But Jay Shafer’s dream isn’t of a lifestyle writ large but of one carefully created and then writ tiny. [continue, see photos]

3 thoughts on “Small houses

  1. Let’s see: a bed/chair, a table with stool that tucks under it, a floor lamp over the back of the bed/chair (for reading), a small fridge (assuming there’s electricity), a bookcase, and room for the dog and cat to curl up on the braided rug. Did I leave anything out?

  2. While this designer puts wheels on his small houses to skirt local building codes, some places (like Saltspring Island for one) do not require permits for buildings with less than 100 square feet. . . But try living with someone else in such small confines:-)

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