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Behold: Microhomes That Make Tiny Living Easy on the Eyes

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There are lots of good reasons why people choose to live in tiny spaces—budget, environmental awareness, and a challenge from NYC Mayor Bloomberg among them—but the trouble is, many are either just ho-hum or downright terrible to look at. Not keen on occupying what looks like a slightly upscaled dog house, but still down for some small space living? These seven gorgeous projects, while certainly not the smallest house in the world, might provide some inspiration. It should be no surprise that the first one, the ONE+ concept house outside of Stockholm, is European. After all, the Euros have serious experience combining small space and stylish design. Drafted by Danish architect Lars Frank Nielsen, the 121-square-foot house is now being produced en masse by the Swedish firm Add a Room. Built by Scandinavian carpenters, the ONE+ is part of a modular design that can be expanded by simply adding another unit. That is, of course, if you tire of living in a house that barely fits a bed.


? The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, as one might expect, specializes in tiny houses. Sticking mostly to traditional styles, Tumbleweed draws up plans for homes, then consumers can purchase the plans and have the home built by a contractor. The plans for this cute cottage, dubbed the Bodega, call for 261-square-feet and cost $695. Completing the tiny house will cost somewhere in the area of $30,000.

? The lightweight, 2.6-meters-square dwelling known as the Micro Compact Home debuted in Germany in 2005 and packs sleeping, working, dining, and cooking space into its modernist form. It's designed for one or two people, obviously, and can adapt "to a variety of sites and circumstances." Price? €50,000, or approximately $61,775.

? Tumbleweed—which, by the way, is based in California—doesn't just do the classic cottage look. In fact, the company turned out a rusted box for all the modern/post-apocalyptic fans. Known as the Popomo, the 171-square-foot is large enough to fit one bedroom, a great room, a kitchen, and a bathroom (sorry, bathtub fans need not apply). Narrow enough to fit on a trailer for easy transport, the 7,500 pound house might look best perched on a mountainside.

? Like Tumbleweed, Tiny Texas Houses is a company that's not afraid to commit to small houses on the marquee. They also bring a little classic Texas flair to the task of designing small houses. This one, a privately-commissioned 12-foot by 28-foot one bedroom, features two porches, a classic, rusted corrugated metal roof, "long-leaf pine floors throughout and Loblolly pine on the ceilings and walls."

? Meet Vickie, the tiny Texas house outfitted with all the charm and detailing of a full-sized Victorian. The 240-square-foot cottage is one large open room, like a studio apartment, but with a front porch. Also suitable for transport by trailer, Vickie could be moved across the country by truck, but the builders say she's best suited for warm climates.

? Lastly, here's weeHouse, a prefab—and, at $125/square foot, relatively affordable—system from Minnesota-based Alchemy Architects. Shown here is the home of a violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra—she and her family "enjoy off-grid living." The 336-square-footer, the original weeHouse, is clad in cementitious siding and features Ikea cabinetry within; it was built for $60K and crane-lifted on-site.

· ONE+ [Add a Room]
· Bodega [Tumbleweed Tiny House Company]
· Popomo [Tumbleweed Tiny House Company]
· The Rancher [Tiny Texas Houses]
· Vickie [Tiny Texas Houses]
· Micro Compact Home [official site]
· Arado [weeHouse]