7 beautiful micro-homes that re-think traditional living spaces

Art Farm Cottages 0059J. Ashley PhotographyThe 20K homes at Serenbe in northwestern Georgia.

If you’re looking to scale down, a tiny house could be your next dream home.

An increasing number of start-ups are creating designs for micro-homes, which they claim re-think traditional living spaces.

There are numerous benefits to living in tiny houses — they’re easy to manage and have a small energy footprint. The limited square footage also encourages residents to keep only the possessions that bring them joy, à la Marie Kondo.

Here are eight manufacturers making immaculately designed tiny homes that measure under 500 square feet.

Prefabricated tiny homes that you can design with an app.

Blu Homes

In April 2016, Blu Homes, a California-based prefab home manufacturer, launched a line of micro-houses that customers can customise on an app.

Owners can pick the layout, materials, colours, and appliances to match their taste.

When someone orders one, Blu Homes will assemble it in a factory near the Bay Area -- the area that's perhaps the biggest incubator of America's tiny home movement -- and deliver it.

Micro-cottages in Georgia.

J. Ashley Photography
The micro-cottages at Serenbe in northwest Georgia.

A team of architecture students at Auburn University designed a pair of tiny homes.

The cottages are part of a pilot project to produce beautiful micro-homes at low production costs. They're located at Serenbe, a community of nearly 500 people in northwest Georgia.

The 500-square-homes have design elements that make them feel larger than they actually are, like deep window sills that bounce natural light and promote ventilation. They're also fully-furnished and feature a living room, bedroom, and full kitchen.

Currently, the houses are being used for artist residencies at Serenbe.

A village of tiny houses in Portland.

Tiny House Village

In Portland, there's a whole village of five homes -- each about 200-square-feet -- on wheels.

Sitting on a remote patch of land outside the Mount Hood National Forest, the homes are part of a resort and are available as short-term rentals.

Each house has its own personality -- with varying trims and colours -- and they all circle around a fire pit.

DIY micro-homes that owners can build themselves.

84 Lumber

Pennsylvania-based startup 84 Lumber sells DIY tiny houses that owners can build themselves.

Its four models range from 150 to 200 square feet.

Made from cedar and aluminium, the homes come with an electric cooktop, a stainless steel sink, an energy-efficient mini-fridge, a fold-up table, a bathroom, and a lofted bed.

An eco-friendly, 100-square-foot cube in Scotland.

The Cube Project

Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, this 100-square-foot home is called the 'Eco-cube.' Surprisingly, it can hold a small living room, dining area, kitchen, washer and dryer, closet, full shower, toilet, and full-sized bed.

It was designed by Dr. Mike Page of the University of Hertfordshire and founder of the Cube Project, an initiative created to show that people can live comfortably with minimal environmental impact.

In February 2016, Page began mass producing his first model, called the QB2.

A 79-square-foot, eco-friendly home.

Vitra

Acclaimed architect Renzo Piano built a space-age home that measures just 79 square feet as a prototype for the German furniture company Vitra.

Called the Diogene, the wood and aluminium home collects, cleans, and reuses water constantly. It also generates its own power using solar panels and features a rainwater tank, an electric toilet (one that doesn't use traditional plumbing), and natural ventilation.

The prototype is being tested at Vitra's headquarters, with hopes to mass produce them, according to Designboom.

Shipping container-style homes that move with you.

Kasita

Kasita, a startup based in Austin, Texas, is working to create a nationwide network of 200-square-foot tiny homes that can move (with the help of a crane) from city to city.

The idea is that when an owner moves to a new city, they'd take their home with them instead of moving into a new house. The units are designed to slide into larger existing structures, similar to stackable shipping containers.

Featuring a bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom, each modular home would be built off-site and brought to the owner by crane.

Kasita prototyped the first home earlier this year.

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