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Five Microhomes with Stylish European Sensibilities

Photos: Des Jeunes Gens Modernes

When we took a look at some microhomes earlier this month, at least one commenter came back asking for more of the sleek European numbers, rather than the quaint American variety. Patriotism aside, there's much to love about Europe's devotion to small-space living. Take the tale of midcentury starchitect Le Corbusier, who, despite his considerable wealth and architectural prowess, decided to build himself just about the most minimalist home we've ever come across, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. The summer escape, which ended up being the only home the master architect ever designed for himself, was an 150-square-foot cabin. Known today by the French name "Cabanon," the structure was built to plans that took Corbusier just 45 minutes to sketch up, while dining at a café on the Côte d'Azur.

? Where Corb's cabin had a rustic exterior and a modern minimalist interior, this mountain home, nestled between two historic farmhouses in the Italian Alps, takes the modern look outside, with a facade of sliver-gray painted panels and a natural lacquered wood interior. The tiny home was designed by Enrico Scaramellini, who described the minimalist pad as "a wardrobe in the landscape," a finely-crafted piece of furniture that just happens to be made to house people. The total area is 376 square feet, but much of that is used up by the staircase and a narrow hallway.

? In the last roundup we took a look at one of Richard Horden's many microhome designs, called the Micro Compact Home. They have been springing up all over Europe lately. There's even a village of the little cubes in Munich. This one, however, has been transported much further afield, to the side of a Swiss mountain, by helicopter. The heli lift may have cost more than the house itself, which comes in at a just $62K, but it took just four minutes and nine seconds to deliver the microhome to the hillside plot.

? Sadly, this project never quite made it to fruition, but that may be because it was one of the largest microhome projects ever attempted. Planned for a city block in London, the Microflat project called for a series of modular, 355-square-foot units to be joined together into a housing complex for first time buyers. Developed by Piercy & Company Architects, the concept was tested when one of the units was installed in a shop window at the Selfridges' department store. A couple lived in the apartment for two weeks, in full view of passerby, but even that wasn't enough to green light the project.

? Barcelona-based architect Valentina Maini wanted to stick close to the city center, but couldn't afford anything larger than 269 square feet, so she put her architecture skills to use, transforming the tiny room into a full-featured apartment with some simple tricks. First, she removed an existing bathroom and cut a new window and door out to the roof, creating a terrace. Then she commissioned a bamboo platform for her bed and a sliding table with, guess what, a bathtub hidden beneath the dining bench. Click over to the Huffington Post for a full video tour of the surprising flat.
· Behold: Microhomes That Make Tiny Living Easy on the Eyes [Curbed National]
· Wherever Le Corbusier lays his hut... [The Guardian]
· Wardrobe in the Landscape by Enrico Scaramellini [Dezeen]
· Micro compact home 016 by Richard Horden [Dezeen]
· Microflat [Piercy & Company]
· Tiny Apartment Hides Bathtub in a Drawer (and Closet Under the Bed) [Huffington Post]