How I Downsized From 1700 to 238 Square Feet

by Kent Griswold on April 20th, 2014. 48 Comments

by Ann Reynolds

As an architect, my best ideas emerge from restriction, and my best clients have always been those with limited resources. What I hadn’t planned on though, was becoming my own worst client.
In this last recession, I lost everything, including my job. I was forced to sell my properties fully furnished, just to close the deal. The heartbreaker was losing the 1700 square foot warehouse loft I’d renovated into a stunning art gallery. Before I laid the carpet, I in-line skated the full seventy-foot length a couple times just for fun.


This sale too, would only close if everything on the walls were part of the deal. I lost most of my art collection, and valuable pieces I bought in India, Nepal, and Thailand. I fit my bike, my saddle, and my clothes into a Minivan and moved from the Bay Area to another state, hoping to buy a property with cash.
But one disaster after another cost me more money. When a water main exploded under the floor of my rental unit, the flood destroyed everything I’d just bought at Wallmart. I couldn’t get a loan anymore, so I moved back to California to hunt for income.

seating area

This time, I rented an even tinier place, and furnished it with “elegance” from Goodwill. At first, my tiny Sausalito houseboat studio seemed idyllic, until I started unpacking. My frustration quickly turned into huge appreciation for Kent Griswold’s site, and all the clever people featured in it. Tiny houses always seemed so romantic, so practical, so “green.” What was my problem?

dining area

As I confronted the most challenging space planning of my career, the reality of my losses hit me like a tsunami. So I focused on the stability of the horizon and the future, like I did when two of us crossed the Pacific from California to Hawaii in a thirty-foot boat.


The day finally came when I could navigate my studio and actually find something. I found something else too. I could be happy with a whole lot less and live on another boat that was going nowhere.




1700 sq ft loft

loft 2

1700 sq ft loft

April 20th, 2014and filed in Your Story
Tags: Floating Home, houseboat, loft

NOMAD Micro Home

by Christina Nellemann on December 9th, 2013. 16 Comments

This stylish and energy efficient 10×10 foot micro home from NOMAD in British Columbia comes as a flat-pack micro cottage that can be assembled in just a few days. The NOMAD can also be customized to include a wet bath and appliances or no bathroom or appliances at all if you want to save some money. No matter what you choose, this cottage will still run you under $30,000.


The micro home was designed and developed by Ian Lorne Kent who has been designing family and commercial developments for more than 35 years. His dream with the NOMAD was to create an efficient and cozy home with a minimal impact on space and the environment. He also wanted it to feel open and airy with the use of large windows. The NOMAD Live version includes a kitchen with a propane stove, fridge and sink next to a small living area and a bathroom. His innovative staircase curves around the kitchen and leads to a loft bed and closet area that floats above the main room. The NOMAD Space includes the same space but without a bathroom or appliances. The Live is $28,000 and the Space is $25,000 and both versions are designed to be on-or off-grid.




Both electrical (12V) and plumbing systems come with the delivered materials. The entire structure is built with metal structural insulated panels with an R-12 rating and a roof and floor with an R-24 rating. The exterior is galvanized metal siding and the interior walls are pre-finished metal panels. Add-ons include stair drawers for extra storage, a surrounding deck, a sliding sun shade and solar power, gray water and rain water collection systems. The NOMAD can be shipped worldwide and can be assembled or disassembled by two people with some handyman skills.



Photos by NOMAD Micro Home

Tiny House UK

by Christina Nellemann on July 1st, 2013. 23 Comments

The burgeoning tiny house on wheels movement has officially made its way over the pond in style. Mark Burton’s Tiny House UK company in Surrey is creating spacious, modern and beautiful designs that he is currently marketing to the United Kingdom which is also suffering from a housing crisis.


One of Mark’s designs has been featured on the UK’s “The One Show” where you can get an idea of how many people fit into the little space (the show features eight) with a full kitchen, a loft bed, a comfortable sofa bed with storage, drop-down tables, fireplace, flat screen TV and toilet/shower combo. There is also another bed/storage area above the door. The interior of each of his homes are clean, streamlined and contain modern appliances. The house is made to seem even larger with its dormer windows in the loft and additional windows under the eaves above the door. Continue Reading »

Tiny House in a Landscape

by Kent Griswold on November 10th, 2012. 23 Comments

This week’s Tiny House in a Landscape is a studio loft over a garage. It was built by Pickell Architecture in Flemington, New Jersey.

I like the unique design and how it blends in with the trees in the background. A great way to utilize space and make a single garage into a tiny home.

Eclectic Garage And Shed design by New York Architect Pickell Architecture