Miko Mercer would seem to be a good candidate for a tiny house — single, tidy, 5-foot-3. And indeed she has joined the Tiny House Movement that has swept the country the last several years.
The salvaged windows of her little home do not, however, look out onto a misty forest, or a community garden.
They look out on cinder-block walls.
For the last year, Ms. Mercer, 30, has been building a 160-square-foot house in a cavernous warehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Ms. Mercer works at Birchbox, a start-up in Manhattan that sends people personalized beauty samples, and after work and on weekends, she often bikes to the warehouse on an industrial stretch of Bergen Street, where it is flanked by an auto body shop and a wood shop.
“The guys at the auto body shop think it’s funny,” Ms. Mercer said. “They’re like, ‘Wow, you’re building that all by yourself?’”
Tiny houses, generally defined as homes smaller than 400 square feet, often built on wheels, first appeared in the early 2000s and have become mainstream since the 2008 recession. They offer the thrill of homeownership without the burden of a mortgage, and their resemblance to actual houses has helped lift the stigma long attached to compact, economical housing alternatives — like trailers, studios and single room occupancies, or S.R.O.s.