Building trends: “Small is the New Big.”

Amid the rush for McMansioning of life, a counter-trend exists, with people looking to micro-homes, often modular homes, and other ways of thinking small about one’s home.

A wave of interest in small dwellings — some to serve … as temporary housing, others to become space-saving dwellings of a more permanent nature — has prompted designers and manufacturers to offer building plans, kits and factory-built houses to the growing number of small-thinking second-home shoppers. Seldom measuring much more than 500 square feet, the buildings offer sharp contrasts to the rambling houses that are commonplace as second homes.

These are often beautifully designed and constructed residences, maximizing the utility of every square inch, standing in great contrast to the trend to maximize square footage to be wasted. With mounting concern over global boiling and the likelihood of ever-increasing fossil-fuel energy costs, such micro-homes are looking to be an ever more interesting option for those considering looking to building a residence or perhaps an office.

LSQ Living Storage Quarters is one small firm that has brought this trend to the Washington, DC, area. As per their name, this small architecture and construction firm provides both living and storage options using prefabricated kits to provide a low-cost path for putting up a new small structure.

If you’re looking for a small vacation getaway, a guest space for the inlaws (or getaway space from the inlaws), or perhaps an office or studio, paths like LSQ might offer a very cost effective alternative. An 8 X 8 living structure, including windows and fully installed starts at just $3520. (LSQ is having a sale at this time, which that $3520 represents. Thus, if you have a potential need, now might be the time to call.) This is for a fully-up, ready-to-move in structure. In addition to options for increasing the size (up to 10 x 24 for $12,250) , you can add retractable beds and tables, upgrade flooring, have a kitchen and bathroom added, etc …

In the prefab form, these structures do have a meaningful gap, as they’re not wired for electricity … and that electrician’s bill for the wiring could add a substantial chunk on top of a $3520 bill in creating that office. But, overall, LSQ’s type of approach could help in setting a path toward leaving a smaller footprint on the earth. LSQ’s motto

Small is the New Big.

Sounds like a pretty big concept to me.


5 responses to “Building trends: “Small is the New Big.”

  1. Micro homes are a great idea for one or two people either as a starter home or for a retired couple on a limited budget.
    They are inexpensive to build and to heat. This is very important in the colder climates. The model we are building is totally off the grid and makes its own power and hot water etc by solar. It costs less than $10,000.00.
    You can follow the construction here.
    This home will be mass produced in New England by fall in several sizes.

  2. bethwellington

    Thanks for this and for your post on the truthiness of “clean coal.” The Virginia permit issued June 25 for Dominion’s proposed $1.8 billion Wise County plant bucked a trend in other states including Florida, Kansas and Texas to stop building coal fired power plants. The company plans to begin construction this week and this morning police stopped a blockade of the corporate offices from protesters who said that the plant would emit too much mercury and carbon dioxide into the air, promote strip mining for coal in Southwest Virginia and cost consumers too much for electricity. They also oppose Dominion’s announced plans to consider an additional nuclear reactor at its North Anna plant in Louisa County.. See:

  3. I am totally lusting after just such a setup – a little bit of land, passive solar/pellet boiler for heat, a tiny cabin, and a greenhouse … life will be perfect.

  4. As professional organizers, we see that our clients fill up the space that they have. Living lean, in a smaller home and spending less is the wave of the future, it’s good for all of us!

  5. Hi,
    I just got involved with Solargon from Loveland, Co. They build compact ultra efficient passive solar homes and cabins that are octagon in shape. Great product. If you want additional info or can feature these truely green buildings let me know. More at
    Thank you,

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