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July 11, 2016

A Small Survey of Small Dwellings II

John Sheehan

Back in April we started a series on micro-units – which as a topic have been popping up all over the media. As urban housing becomes more and more costly in metropoles around the country and across the globe – increased interest is being paid to solutions that emphasize compactness and efficiency.  Our own research into the topic (and experiments in designing small units) led us to ask  – “Who were the people living in these small spaces and what were there motivations in so doing?” In Part One we presented 3 tiny dwellings whose occupants were choosing to go small based upon notions of paring down and keeping it simple. Here we offer 3 more (past and present) examples of micro flats that stress the importance of location.

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[1] Gustave’s Getaway

The old real estate adage that the three most important facts about any home are location, location and location couldn’t be truer than this one-of-a-kind Room with a View. Perched at around 1000 feet above the river below – Gustave Eiffel built a small but cozy perch in his eponymous tower in Paris.

Eiffel frequently invited VIPs to enjoy the view and sip a cognac in his magnificent mini-manse located on the third level of the world wonder. Although tiny by most standards – it was large enough to accommodate a small grand piano.  As small apartments go – this location is pretty hard to top…pun intended.  To read more click here.


Would you expect anything less from the World’s Most Interesting Man?

If you lived here, you’d be home now.

Gustave’s Nest – a view from every room… and what a view!

Interior of Eiffel’s Apartment – patterned wallpaper, chintz, and antimacassars can’t disguise the dramatic structure.

[2] The Egg

More properly called the Exbury Egg is the unique creation of British artist Stephen Turner. This floating pod rests comfortably on its moorings in the Beaulieu River in Southern England opposite the Isle of Wight. Location in this instance is entirely changeable and subject only to the whims of the inhabitant (and the tides). Large enough to accommodate a bed, a desk and a small stove as well as a “necessary” the Egg offers all the comforts of home.

[3] The Architect who Lived On-Site

Commonly called the Honeymoon Cottage – it could also be rightly referred to as the job trailer.

Before Thomas Jefferson was the Third President of the United States or the Governor of Virginia (or founder of the University of Virginia – WAHOOWA!) he was a planter and newlywed with grand ambitions to build a model plantation.  His head filled with neoclassical inspiration from his studies of Vitruvius and Palladio – Jefferson persuaded his bride to live on-site in this hastily but soundly built 324 square foot pavilion at Monticello.

TJ and Martha lived here (apparently happily) beginning on New Year’s Day in 1772 – and supervised construction until larger quarters in the main house (first version) were built.  To discover more about the cottage and the main house click here.

[4] A sneak peak at our latest micro-flat plan for a project on-the boards in Cupertino CA…

This micro-unit features a sleeping alcove and includes a private balcony.  Stay tuned for future development…