Small House Style


Small House Style is a web magazine dedicated to all things small house & home, prefab, sustainable, design, architecture and modern.

Pedro de la Montaña’s small slice of heaven in Costa Rica

One of the improvements you’ve been asking for at Small House Style is more images of “the dirty dishes in the sink.”  Many of the small houses we have written about do not address “real living.” Your concerns are not lost on our ears. That is where Pedro de la Montaña comes in.  With no experience as a builder he carved out a little slice of heaven on top of a mountain in Costa Rica.

Pedro de la Montaña's little slice of heaven

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Arvesund’s small Hermit’s Cabin

The Hermit’s Cabin is a collaboration between designer Mats Theselius and Arvesund, a progressive Swedish design company. Don’t plan on sharing one – it is designed for one but… you can do it winter, spring, summer and fall. Think retreat and stillness. The cabin now comes in 2 sizes (you guessed it – large and small at 86 sq ft and 107 sq ft respectively.) Originally it was covered with boards from old North Sweden barns – but you can customize them to your hearts content. Since 2001 Arvesund has been shipping the Hermit’s Cabin all over the world.

Arvesund's Hermit's Cabin

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CNN Video: Small spaces for Japan’s Net Room Refugees

We are not quite sure what to think of Japan’s “net rooms.” They are small (the size of a closet,) short-term rooms to live in while job searching that are quickly becoming a booming business in Japan. A Tokyo real estate developer saw a new need to provide Japan’s “underemployed” with an address to put on a job application. Occupancy is nearly 100% every single day. Apparently almost one-third of Japans workforce is part-time or temporary which the low unemployment rate conceals.

Jay Shafer and the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company make small… BIG

It is impossible to do a search for small houses and not turn up Jay Shafer and the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. He is in large part the inspiration for the small house movement and Small House Style. It seems that one person has not done more to put the small house on the map than Jay and this is our homage to him…

Jay Shafer and the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Jay built his first small house (for himself) in the early ’90s and has been living small ever since. He founded the company in the mid ’90′s because people were expressing real interest in his small house. It seems that other people wanted to live simpler, cheaper and smaller – the Tumbleweed way too.

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Is Prefab The Answer to Affordable, Modern & Green Homes?

Beginning a very interesting exchange into the question of whether “prefab is the answer” with an article on Jetson Green, Chad Ludeman took an informed look at the prefab industry concluding that it is not “the best way of delivering modern design to the average new home buyer.” Chad is the president of Philadelphia-based postgreen and developer of the 100k House.

In a equally thought out response, Lloyd Alter of Treehugger (and a player in the prefab industry) calls the question of whether houses built on-site or prefabs are better at best a tie citing James Kunstler’s assertion that the American suburban experiment is dead and that the landscape is going to keep changing.

Open Prototype Initiative

If you are interested in prefab and want to know some of the underlying issues you can read these very well informed articles here:

Chad’s original article on Jetson Green:
Prefab is Not The Answer to Affordable, Modern & Green Homes
(don’t miss the comments…)

Lloyd’s response on Treehugger:
Another Opinion: Prefab is Not the Answer to Affordable, Modern and Green Homes
(again… don’t miss the comments.)

Lloyd’s second response on Treehugger:
Refab Now!

Allyson Wendt’s response on
Can Prefab be Green and Affordable?

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Small House Style featured in the New York Times

Small House Style was featured in the New York Times on September 11, 2008, on page F1 of the New York edition. The article The Next Little Thing? was written by a great reporter named Steven Kurutz. Thanks for the mention Steven!

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE FREEWAY Jay Shafer took his 90-square-foot house on tour this summer, rolling along a Los Angeles highway.

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE FREEWAY Jay Shafer took his 90-square-foot house on tour this summer, rolling along a Los Angeles highway. image credit: Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

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