Nowadays, there are plenty of reasons to downsize to a smaller home. Perhaps you’re in the market for a simpler way of life, or lower rent, or mortgage payments. Thankfully, the latest compact architecture ensures you can find exactly what you’re looking for without sacrificing the everyday luxuries typically associated with more spacious properties. The new book XS Small Houses Big Time (Braun Publishing, $50) highlights the most beautiful—and functional—residences under 500 square feet and shares the architects’ secrets for making the most of a micro home. No matter how tiny, all of them include a bath, a spot for sleeping, and a kitchen (and some have extra areas, such as a library).
Super-small spaces are no longer an obscure idea—respected architects, such as Renzo Piano and AD100 honoree Olson Kundig are also reinventing what it looks like to live small. “In this day and age, no future architect survives their training without concerning themselves with the question of mini-dwellings,” writes author Lisa Baker. “What does a person really need? What do two or more people need? How can everything be organized to save as much space as possible? How can a comfortable atmosphere be created in such a small area? How can the various functions be optimized without compromising quality?” Each of these home answers these queries with flying colors.