3 Unusual Tiny Home Tours

How much functional space can you pack into a tiny footprint? The answers might surprise you. Take a look at these tiny homes that offer big lessons on storage and function.

©Tom Chudleigh

©Tom Chudleigh

©HyBrid Architecture

©HyBrid Architecture

©HyBrid Architecture

©Brendon Purdy for Smallworks

©Brendon Purdy for Smallworks

©Brendon Purdy for Smallworks

Sphere Home

Free Spirit Spheres, located on Canada’s Vancouver Island, offers overnight guests a unique way to experience nature. Combining the construction concepts of a sailboat and a treehouse, Free Spirit Spheres homes can be accessed by spiral staircase and a short suspension bridge. Shown is the sphere called "Eryn," which is 10-1/2 feet in diameter and sleeps up to three guests.

Sphere Home Living

Eryn's interior consists of a miniature electric-powered kitchen with a fridge and running water, a banquette dining area and a platform that's a sofa by day and a bed by night. A third visitor can sleep in the loft above the kitchen cabinets. Spheres will sway a bit when you move around, says owner/designer Tom Chudleigh, but that's part of the fun.

"Cargotecture"

One of the most interesting modern takes on small living is the recycling of shipping containers for living space — or "cargotecture," as it’s called by HyBrid Architecture, the Seattle firm that created the 192-square-foot house seen here.

Cargo Living

Each HyBrid shipping container house is fully assembled on-site. This model derives a feeling of spaciousness from doors on both sides that open onto redwood decking, which boosts the total living area by about 400 square feet.

Cargo Kitchen and Bath

Across from the two-burner electric stove is a Euro-style bathroom — toilet, sink and shower all in one stall — at a total of 12 square feet. (This is a show model, but ordinarily frosted glass would keep your bathing experience private while allowing natural light inside.) Two adults can sleep in the convertible sofa bed against the far wall, and a loft bed for up to two kids folds down overhead.

Laneway Home

Speaking of Vancouver, the city became a champion for living small by passing an ordinance permitting laneway houses. These mini houses fit in a typical urban backyard and allow city residents to add small income properties or homes for their kids or in-laws. Smallworks, a design and construction firm founded by small-house specialist Jake Fry, built the 500-square-foot model shown.

Laneway Kitchen

Inside, the house is cozy but chic. The kitchen doubles as a living area, and its efficiently arranged appliances — including a drawer-style dishwasher — create space for ample cabinet storage plus a large freestanding armoire. A full bath with a linen closet is hidden behind the kitchen for a total of 330 square feet downstairs (not counting the single-car garage with laundry area).

Laneway Bedroom Loft

Upstairs in the same home, a dormer makes space for a 180-square-foot master suite with vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet and half bath. Accessible through a small door in the bedroom is a roomy 12' x 6' storage area cut into the eave so that possessions can be tucked away out of sight.

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