ninety year-old ideas work in tinies

Did you know that many open space and multiple use ideas in modern homes are at least 90 years old? These ideas work well in tiny houses, whether you’re considering windows, great rooms, sliding walls/doors or cool furniture.

Take a quick video tour of one early, original and inspiring place.

The Rietveld Schroder house

Back in 1924, “De Stilj” school architect Gerrit Rietveld designed his special house with reconfigurable spaces. Today its ground-breaking architecture is honored as a UNESCO heritage site, located in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

This Dutch modern home was built for a widow and her children, who lived differently than their row house neighbors in the 1920s. (Rietveld Schroder House, Centraal Museum)

This Dutch modern home was built for a widow and her children, who lived differently than their row house neighbors in the 1920s. (Rietveld Schroder House, Centraal Museum)

Imagine living in this open and sunny space, with splashes of red, yellow, blue and black. Various walls slide open to create privacy as needed. (Rietveld Schroder House, ArchDaily)

Imagine living in this open and sunny space, with splashes of red, yellow, blue and black. Various walls slide open to create privacy as needed. (Rietveld Schroder House, ArchDaily)

This 1920s home provides open living spaces within a single floor plan. Yet it's private when you enter through the ground floor. (Rietveld Schroder House, Great Buildings)

This 1920s home provides open living spaces within a single floor plan. Yet it’s private when you enter through the ground floor level. (Rietveld Schroder House, Great Buildings)

Tiny moderns inspired by Rietveld

More recently, design cues from the De Stilj school seem to be picked up and integrated into tiny modern builds. Let’s look at a 600 square foot prototype, a 227 square foot house on wheels and, for fun, an eight-inch model. These places still look new and up-to-date!

DESERT HOUSE: In 2009, students from the F.L. Wright School of Architecture created an eco-friendly home. We see Gerrit Reitveld's building shapes and colors here, with a touch of F.L. Wright in the cantilevered opening. (ModFabTM, Architizer)

DESERT HOUSE: In 2009, students from the F.L. Wright School of Architecture created an eco-friendly home. We see Gerrit Reitveld’s building shapes and colors here, with a touch of F.L. Wright in the cantilevered opening. (ModFabTM, Architizer)

DESERT HOUSE: Interior space is arranged simply, with a galley kitchen leading to open seating and an outdoor deck. Behind the camera is another deck and separate sleeping quarters. (ModFabTM, Architizer)

DESERT HOUSE: Interior space is arranged simply, with a galley kitchen leading to open seating and an outdoor deck. Behind the camera is another deck and separate sleeping quarters. (ModFabTM, Architizer)

FARM HOUSE: This tiny house on wheels was built by Yestermorrow School students, and features a charred wood exterior and cool orange door. There's plenty of light shining though its front and side windows. (Yestermorrow, Relaxshacks)

FARM HOUSE: This tiny house on wheels was built by Yestermorrow School students, and features a charred wood exterior and cool orange door. There’s plenty of light shining though its front and side windows. (Yestermorrow, Relaxshacks)

FARM HOUSE: The interior feature we like best is a full sliding wall which creates privacy when using the bathroom, shower or sleeping area. Here's a close-up of the hardware, sliding mechanism and wall-door. (Yestermorrow, Relaxshacks)

FARM HOUSE: The interior feature we like best is a full sliding wall which creates privacy when using the bathroom, shower or sleeping area. Here’s a close-up of the hardware, sliding mechanism and wall-door. (Yestermorrow, Relaxshacks)

FISH HOUSE: If you crave a Reitveld inspired abode, then one tiny fish tank might fit the bill. The De Stilj home is now available for a gold fish or two, in an eight-inch model. ($34.99, De Stilj Fish Apartment, DotandBo)

FISH HOUSE: If you crave a Reitveld inspired abode, then one tiny fish tank might fit the bill. The De Stilj home is available for a gold fish or two, in an eight-inch model. ($34.99, De Stilj Fish Apartment, DotandBo)

learning about Lindal kits

To build small, let’s check out a large kit house provider named Lindal Homes. Some 50,000 homes have been built through Lindal over 70 years. While best known for cedar prow-deck designs, the company has expanded to warm modern styles designed in-house or via architect collaborations.

These "Taliesin" Lindal homes range from 470 to 800 square feet, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Options include cedar or cement board exteriors, with adjustable interiors to suit your needs. (Lindal.com)

These “Taliesin” Lindal homes range from 470 to 800 square feet, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Options include cedar or cement board exteriors, with adjustable interiors to suit your needs. (Lindal.com)

Lindal explorations

Explore Lindal’s styles, create a folder to see house plans, and join a conference call to learn more. We dialed into a call last weekend and were surprised to hear Michael Harris, former CEO/President of Lindal, who shared architectural styles and other build information:

  • Project design cost – “A disciplined use of our building system’s most efficient components and assembly details [will] dramatically reduce design time.”
  • Higher home value – “Lindals resell for handsome amounts of money. They get financed like conventional houses [unlike modular homes]. Appraise for more than typical houses because of finishes.”
  • Time to build – “Total length is 6-9 months total, comparable to the typical modular producers. We use local labor, so it’s 9 months to a year.”

Kits and pre-fabs

Lindal is a kit house company which sells finished Post and Beam plans and delivers materials to individual building sites. The company adjusts designs based on the buyer desires, lots and area conditions. There are 100 U.S. Lindal dealers who guide local customers through home planning and builds.

Remember there’s a spectrum of pre-fab homes, from kits to partly or fully-built homes delivered to your site. Do you want to make changes to designs and materials? Do you have a specific budget or time frame in mind? Answer these questions and it may set you down the right path.

mountain modern begins life again

Here’s to new beginnings: a mountain modern prefab built where wildfire had burned down David and Kristen’s dream place two years earlier. The couple is now downsizing from 1,200 to 500 square feet of living space.

This 500 sq. ft. “mountain mansion” was first constructed at Cabin Fever’s warehouse in Florida, packed up and delivered to Colorado, and finished locally. (Tiny House Nation)

This 500 sq. ft. “mountain mansion” was first constructed at Cabin Fever’s warehouse in Florida, packed up and delivered to Colorado, and finished locally. (Tiny House Nation)

As featured on the Tiny House Nation TV show, this aerie is off-grid with solar power and some propane gas, a deep well and (we think) a septic system. Did we mention the amazing views?

The owners have  breath-taking views of the Colorado Front Range, not far from Denver. Their terrace is postcard perfect. (Tiny House Nation)

The owners have breath-taking views of the Colorado Front Range, not far from Denver. Their terrace is postcard perfect. (Tiny House Nation)

Take an inside house tour

This Colorado home supports more internal uses than you might expect! There’s an open great room, modern kitchen, bath, two small offices and sleeping loft with closets. The height in the home is the clincher.

In this loft bedroom, there's a 15-foot ceiling and closets for the couple. You ascend by steep stairs. (Tiny House Nation)

In this loft bedroom, there’s a 15-foot ceiling and closets for the couple. You ascend by steep stairs. (Tiny House Nation)

Software integrator David has his own office and desk, which transforms into a guest bed as needed. (Tiny House Nation)

Software integrator David has his own office and desk, which transforms into a guest bed as needed. (Tiny House Nation)

Next to David, Kristen writes books and consults from her own office with a desk, daybed and views. (Tiny House Nation)

Next to David, Kristen writes books and consults from her own office with a desk, daybed and views. (Tiny House Nation)

This Colorado home features a modern bathroom with a hip shower, sink and flush toilet. (Tiny House Nation)

This Colorado home features a modern bathroom with a hip shower, sink and flush toilet. (Tiny House Nation)

The Coloradans wanted a full gas range and stove, large sink and custom refrigerator in their home. (Tiny House Nation)

The Coloradans wanted a full gas range and stove, large sink and custom refrigerator in their home. (Tiny House Nation)

Here's the great room view into the Colorado home, with the bathroom to right and kitchen to left. (Tiny House Nation)

Here’s the great room view into the Colorado home, with the bathroom to right and kitchen to left. (Tiny House Nation)

More access: Want video? Tiny House Nation offers clips from the “Rocky Mountain Mansion” episode. The show is free online, and soon will transition access via your cable provider here. You may also pay $2.99 to view itunes.

a little southern style

Where have you been all my life, lovely little Southern house? It turns out that Southern Living sells smaller plans, designed exclusively by local architects. Design changes are possible for a fee.

Let’s take a look, from smallest to largest houses.

"Fontanel Bunkie" has an open plan, along with a bathroom, tiny kitchen and attic storage. It features 317 sq. ft. and an 18 ft. width. (Our Town Plans, Peachtree City, GA)

“Fontanel Bunkie” has an open plan, along with a bathroom, tiny kitchen and attic storage. It features 317 sq. ft. and an 18 ft. width. (Our Town Plans, Peachtree City, GA)

"Garden Cottage" sports separate living and bedrooms, a small bathroom and galley kitchen. The 540 sq. ft. size excludes its porch. (Architects Group 3 Design, Hilton Head, SC)

“Garden Cottage” sports separate living and bedrooms, a small bathroom and galley kitchen. The 540 sq. ft. size excludes its porch. (Architects Group 3 Design, Hilton Head, SC)

"Grayson Trail" is a open cottage that has a bedroom and plus loft. At 808 sq. ft., it seems like a just enough, right space. (Architect William H. Phillips, Dauphin Island, AL)

“Grayson Trail” is a open cottage that has a bedroom plus loft. At 808 sq. ft., it seems like a just enough, right space. (Architect William H. Phillips, Dauphin Island, AL)

"210 Gentilly Road" is a classic New Orleans shot-gun house with 934 sq. ft. We found this one through a Southern Living architect. (Our Town Plans, Peachtree City, GA)

“210 Gentilly Road” is a classic New Orleans shot-gun house with 934 sq. ft. We found this one through a Southern Living architect. (Our Town Plans, Peachtree City, GA)

"Topwater Lodge" has country and southern influences, such as dual porches. Featuring three levels and 1,042 sq. ft., this home fits a family. (Architects Caldwell/Cline, Marietta, GA)

“Topwater Lodge” has country and southern influences like dual porches. Featuring three levels and 1,042 sq. ft., the home fits a family. (Architects Caldwell/Cline, Marietta, GA)

Want a bigger little place

Let’s say a tiny or small house fits in your world view, except you crave a larger footprint. More office, sleeping, hobby or hang-out room might be nice.

Here are a few companies offering kits or prefabs, which handle materials (both) and construction (prefabs) for you.

Prefabs: assembled on your land

Check out these Kanga modern prefabs, ranging from 280 to 800 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

Check out these Kanga modern prefabs, ranging from 280 to 800 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

Kanga cottage prefabs, with porch/entry options, range from 280 to 640 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

Kanga cottage prefabs, with porch/entry options, range from 280 to 640 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

This Greenbuild cabin, measuring 810 sq. ft., is the smallest prefab from Resolution 4 Architecture. (re4a.com)

This Greenbuild cabin, measuring 801 sq. ft., is the smallest prefab from Resolution 4 Architecture. (re4a.com)

With a streamlined and hip feel, the Greenbuild cabin offers plenty of square footage to add your touches. (re4a.com)

With a streamlined and hip feel, the Greenbuild cabin offers plenty of square footage to add your touches. (re4a.com)

Kits: materials delivered to your land

This LVM modern home, shown with grey cladding, offers 693 sq. ft. Its kit may be ordered via the architect. (Rocio Romero)

This LVM modern home, shown with dark cladding, offers 693 sq. ft. Its kit may be ordered via the architect. (Rocio Romero)

In the LVM, there's a main floor bedroom and great room. The place calls for mid-modern decor. (Rocio Romero)

In the LVM, there’s a main floor bedroom and great room. The place calls for mid-modern decor. (Rocio Romero)

This Greek Revival style, popular in the 1700s, measures 560 sq.ft. with an 800 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

This Greek Revival style, popular in the 1700s, measures 560 sq.ft. with an 800 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Kits for these old-school, 1700s styles may be ordered via the architect's manufacturing partner. (Pennywise)

Kits for these old-school, 1700s styles may be ordered via the architect’s manufacturing partner. (Pennywise)

hip minim house multiplies

Minim House is a thoughtfully designed tiny house with hip good looks, energy efficiency, an open floor plan and no loft. Now that a second Minim has been built, we decided to compare the two homes below.

Both Minim Houses impress with their floor plans that include an office nook, closet and wet bath — plus space for a kitchen galley, large sofa, moveable and multi-use table, huge TV screen and roll-out bed. Let’s take a peek.

Minim Exteriors

EXTERIOR, DC - The original Minim House, designed by owner Brian Levy and Foundry Architects, is located right in Washington, D.C. Minim sports dark, natural wood cladding as well as a black-trimmed front door and windows. (Minim Homes)

EXTERIOR, DC – The original Minim House, designed by owner Brian Levy and Foundry Architects, is located right in Washington, D.C. Minim sports dark, natural wood cladding as well as a black-trimmed front door and windows. (Minim Homes)

EXTERIOR, NY - Here's the second Minim House, constructed for downsizing homeowners Tim and Shannon. This Rochester, NY version follows building plans closely and features grey siding, a blue door and white trim. (Shannon Soine, Instagram)

EXTERIOR, NY – Here’s the second Minim House, constructed for downsizing homeowners Tim and Shannon. This Rochester, NY version follows building plans closely and features grey siding, a blue door and white trim. (Shannon Soine, Instagram)

Minim Kitchens

KITCHEN, DC - "A 10 foot wide galley affords room for 2 cooks in the kitchen. It’s designed to accommodate a 7.1 cubic foot refrigerator under the counter, or has adequate room for a fuller size fridge to either side." (Minim Homes)

KITCHEN, DC – “A 10 foot wide galley affords room for 2 cooks in the kitchen. It’s designed to accommodate a 7.1 cubic foot refrigerator under the counter, or has adequate room for a fuller size fridge to either side.” (Minim Homes)

KITCHEN, NY - "This beautiful, light-filled house reminds you to seize the day." In this kitchen, traditional wood and glass cabinets are installed. Notice the larger fridge and freezer to the left. (Tiny House Nation)

KITCHEN, NY – “This beautiful, light-filled house reminds you to seize the day.” In this kitchen, traditional wood and glass cabinets are installed. Notice the larger fridge and freezer to the left. (Tiny House Nation)

Minim Sleeping (Plus) Areas

SLEEPING, DC - "The 5′x7′ office/storage area sits atop the bed platform. There is also a 5′ full width closet. The full or queen size bed hides under the platform, and easily slides out from underneath." (Minim Homes)

SLEEPING, DC – “The 5′x7′ office/storage area sits atop the bed platform. There is also a 5′ full width closet. The full or queen size bed hides under the platform, and easily slides out from underneath.” (Minim Homes)

SLEEPING, NY - "The bed slides out for sleeping, but hides away under the office space when not in use." In this close-up, the full bed is partly rolled out. Our homeowners know that sliding it away is their first daily task. (Tiny House Nation)

SLEEPING, NY – “The bed slides out for sleeping, but hides away under the office space when not in use.” In this close-up, the full bed is partly rolled out. Our homeowners know that sliding it away is their first daily task. (Tiny House Nation)

Minim Seating (Plus) Areas

SEATING, DC - There are no interior walls in the Great Room, and a longer sofa than most tinies. One feature we haven't seen anywhere else is the pull-down screen which covers the left-side windows for TV/video viewing. (Minim Homes)

SEATING, DC – There are no interior walls in the Great Room, and a longer sofa than most tinies. One feature we haven’t seen anywhere else is the pull-down screen which covers the left-side windows for TV/video viewing. (Minim Homes)

SEATING, NY - Here's a close-up of the long sofa (and storage), which looks comfortable for any house and ready for large-screen TV viewing parties. We hear nine people came over and there was extra room. (Tiny House Nation)

SEATING, NY – Here’s a close-up of the long sofa (and storage), which looks comfortable for any house and ready for large-screen TV viewing parties. We hear nine people came over and there was extra room. (Tiny House Nation)

More Access: Want video? The Tiny House Nation show featured the new Minim. Watch “Rochester Studio Retreat” online via your cable provider here or pay $2.99 to view itunes. For the original Minim, check out this video tour.

two stories make a tiny presence

Why not consider a traditional two-story home? The footprint remains tiny, yet living space expands to around 550-800 square feet before adding porches.

Pennywise cottages use historical shapes, roofs, cladding, windows and doors. Interiors include bedrooms, bathrooms, parlors, kitchens and porches. Take a look at these examples, manufactured and delivered for on-site assembly.

Southern Piedmont Cottage - This 1700s style has a hipped roof, entablatures and pilasters, and a gabled front porch. Measures  806 sq. ft. with an 87 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Southern Piedmont Cottage – This 1700s style has a hipped roof, entablatures and pilasters, and a gabled front porch. Measures 806 sq. ft. with an 87 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

New Republic Cottage - In the 1700s, these Greek Revivals were popularized as the National style. Measures 560 sq.ft. with an 800 sq. ft. porch (Pennywise)

New Republic Cottage – In the 1700s, these Greek Revivals were popularized as the National style. Measures 560 sq.ft. with an 800 sq. ft. porch (Pennywise)

Chesapeake Tidewater Cottage - English settlers, from the 1700s, built these cottages in MD and VA colonies. Measures 611 sq. ft. with a 168 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Chesapeake Tidewater Cottage – English settlers, from the 1700s, built these cottages in MD and VA colonies. Measures 611 sq. ft. with a 168 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Western Reserve Cottage - After the Revolutionary War, these cottages were built in current-day Ohio. Measures 708 sq. ft. with a 340 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Western Reserve Cottage – After the Revolutionary War, these cottages were built in current-day Ohio. Measures 708 sq. ft. with a 340 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Louisiana Creole Cottage - French, Canadian and West Indies merge, with tall windows, a wide porch and broken-pitch roof. Measures 708 sq. ft. with a 154 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Louisiana Creole Cottage – French, Canadian and West Indies merge, with tall windows, a wide porch and broken-pitch roof. Measures 708 sq. ft. with a 154 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Update: We have received many questions. For Pennywise floor plan overviews, please click images above. For info about modular/kit homes, reach Kathie Friedley at kathie-at-russellversaci.com or 540-687-8777.