Category Archives: Tiny Homes

Astronauts Show How To Live In Small Spaces [8 Genius Tips]

There was probably a point in your childhood when you proudly declared to anyone who would listen, “I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up.” But unless you earned an advanced engineering degree, passed all the rigorous training tests, happen to have superhuman eyesight, and managed to make it through the flight simulator without puking, that didn’t actually happen.

Although you may not be a spaceman or spacewoman today, you can channel some of that NASA spirit by learning from astronauts’ insanely unconventional, small space lifestyle. The secrets of the International Space Station (ISS) — where crew members from all over the world live for several months at a time — can teach us a lot about how to live in small spaces.

Here are eight of the best small space living ideas derived from articles and videos about ISS, and how you can apply them to your gravity-bound apartment.

1. Streamline your sleeping arrangements.

 

If you think your bedroom is tiny, get ready for a culture shock. Astronauts do not have real rooms where they can doze in peace. They also don’t have any mattresses, memory foam, or plush pillows to their name. Instead, each one is issued a small sleeping pod with a sleeping bag, which is tied to the wall so it doesn’t float away.

This might seem like cruel and unusual punishment, but it actually makes sense in space. Since you’re in zero gravity, sleeping standing up in a bag doesn’t feel any different from lying down horizontally on a surface. As Internet-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield explains in the video above, you can relax every muscle in your body until you zonk yourself out. Provided you’ve already changed into your PJs, of course.

Now, you can’t pull off this scheme on Earth without some serious back pain. But you can apply this minimalist approach to your own situation:

  1. Skip the bulky headboards and go for a no-frills frame. Or find a space-saving bed that comes with built-in storage, so you maximize the space.
  2. Mount shelves above your bed or next to it on the adjacent walls.
  3. Use your window sill as a nightstand.
  4. Add bed risers.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but you will find about 50 more in our list of insanely clever bedroom storage hacks.

2. Downsize your medicine cabinet.

 

Going to the bathroom is crazy complicated in outer space. As you can see in the above video tour, ISS has a specialty toilet and plenty of different papers and wipes to help astronauts do their business.

But the “bathroom” is cramped to say the least, and doesn’t include a sink or shower — let alone a medicine cabinet. So instead, the astronauts are reduced to a small toiletries kit containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, combs, brushes, deodorant, and razors. Plus the specially-made-for-space shampoos that require no rinsing and very little water at all.

They can use those products in the “hygiene corner,” seen in the video below. Be grateful you don’t have to clip your fingernails over a grate, like European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti:

 

We’re not suggesting you ditch your shower, but you can learn a thing or two from this basic setup.

First things first, clean up your medicine cabinet. Go through it and throw out any empty toothpaste tubes, snapped hair ties, or expired mascara. Then get smart about how you’re using your space.

Install an organizer with sliding shelves under the sink. Suction cup your shampoo to the shower wall. Or make a magnetic board for all your makeup. You’ll find those creative tips and more in our collections of 42 brilliant bathroom storage hacks and 16 amazing beauty storage ideas.

3. Learn to exercise in close quarters.

 

Astronauts are not allowed to be lazy. Exercise is a required part of their daily routine, and for good reason. When you’re constantly floating around rather than walking between rooms, you’re not really engaging your muscles. That kind of inactivity makes them weaken, and can lead to muscle and bone loss.

To stay fit, crew members work out on a very special treadmill called the Colbert treadmill. It’s named after Stephen Colbert because, if you’ll recall, he encouraged Colbert Report viewers to flood NASA’s naming poll in 2009.

This piece of equipment does not have any sort of handle or frame for astronauts to grip. In order to run in the weightless environment, they must strap themselves into a harness before firing up the machine. You can watch astronaut Karen Nyberg run on it in the video above.

But that’s not all. The ISS has two other pieces of exercise equipment: the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) and Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (CEVIS).

In less scientific terms, the ARED is a weight-lifting machine and the CEVIS is an exercise bike. Watch the ARED in action:

 

If astronauts managed to sneak three fitness machines onboard a cramped space station, you can store some exercise gear at home, too.

If even the skinniest machine is too large for your apartment, invest in a set of kettlebells for your weight-training needs and a simple exercise mat so you can follow aerobic routines on your TV. Then slide them under your bed or into a closet when they’re not in use.

If you’re big on yoga, Etsy is a goldmine for mat holders and racks. You can also invest in a rolling exercise equipment cart. Or build a custom cabinet to suit your needs.

4. Get smart about grocery shopping.

 

Probably the most fascinating part of life on the ISS is … space food. You know all about astronaut ice cream and Tang, but that stuff is just the beginning.

In order to keep the crew fed for long periods of time and keep liquids under control, NASA and its international counterparts have to seriously manipulate their meals. In some cases, that means removing all water from the food to conserve weight and make the food rehydratable.

In other cases, that means applying ionizing radiation to the food to keep it from spoiling. The food also has to be slim and lightweight so the crew can stockpile. That’s why most of the containers you see Chris Hadfield handling in the video above look like Capri Sun pouches.

So what lessons can we glean from the ISS kitchen?

Well for one, you probably shouldn’t be buying in bulk. If you have a large family, it’s a necessity. And if you actually have a garage, go for it. But that 30-pack of paper towels is a major space suck that’s hard to justify. Try to stick to the stuff you need in the immediate future, and leave hoarding to these people on A&E.

Shed unnecessary extra packaging, like the boxes your teabags come in, to make spare room in your cabinet. Mount a magnetic strip on the wall for your knives, or a set of hooks for coffee mugs like Monica from Friends. And when in doubt, turn to this list of kitchen storage hacks for more tiny home living tips.

5. Optimize your library.

An organized wooden floating bookshelf is storing 11 different books.

What does an astronaut do in his/her downtime?

Well, they have plenty of movies to watch to keep themselves entertained. They can catch up with loved ones by calling home through the software on their laptops. They can also turn to the locker filled with paperback books on the ISS to stimulate their minds.

One locker for all their books? That’s a pretty tidy book storage system. You could probably use help organizing your own collection of novels, but you don’t need to acquire a locker to pull this off.

First, consider what books belong in the library donation bin. Know all the recipes in your cookbooks by heart? Have useless old college textbooks collecting dust on your floor? These are prime candidates for the pile. Here are a few more things to consider when deciding what books to keep.

After you’ve downsized your collection, consider where you’re storing your favorite books. You don’t have to buy a bulky freestanding case for them. Instead, get creative with headboards, hallways, and high-perimeter shelving.

If all else fails, you can always go digital with an e-reader.

6. Purge your closet.

declutter closet makespace was here
MakeSpace

There is no place for fashion divas/divos in astronomy. Crew members on the ISS are allowed only a few basic clothes for their stay.

As NASA explains, astronauts typically get about one pair of shorts and one T-shirt for every three days of exercising. Work shirts and pants (or shorts) have to last longer; those are changed every 10 days. Underwear and socks are swapped every other day. There’s also a two-sweater allotment, and Polartec socks for chilly nights.

Astronauts repeat their outfits for as long as they can. But eventually, clothes get dirty and there’s no way to wash them onboard. So when they hit the point of no return, dirty clothes are shot into space with the rest of the ISS garbage.

Luckily, you have access to a washing machine and, hopefully, a closet of your own. Don’t have a closet? Here’s how to live without one.

Either way, you could certainly stand to clear out some clothing. Go with Marie Kondo’s  trendy KonMari method of organizing. Consider each item individually, and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, it can stay. If it doesn’t, mark it for donation or a garage sale.

makespace offers free goodwill pickups for storage customers in nyc, chicago, and dc
MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC

7. Ditch the alarm clock.

red alarm clock on a white and black paw print blanket and next to a tea mug

Alarm clocks are nowhere to be found aboard the ISS. So how do astronauts wake up? Thanks to an assist from the crew back home.

Every morning, the NASA staff on Earth pipes music into the PA system. The track is dedicated to a different astronaut each day, and it’s chosen by a family member or colleague. For instance, one astronaut’s wife selected “Macho Man” for him the morning after a difficult spacewalk.

You can also clear some space on your dresser or bedside table by eliminating alarm clocks from your life. The simplest alternative is to set an alarm on your phone. But if you’d rather not be roused by one of your iPhone’s token tones, you have other options.

If you have Sonos, you can set up an alarm through that wireless system. Just go to Menu, then Alarms, then New Alarm. There you can choose a time, track, volume, and frequency. Just don’t forget to set it for your bedroom, rather than the kitchen or patio. Here’s a guide from Sonos in case you get lost.

Prefer not to rely on any hardware?

You can train yourself to wake up naturally. No really, it’s possible!

You’ll need to track your sleep patterns and then gently wean yourself off an alarm by setting a softer tone and forgoing the snooze button. Here’s how. With practice, you can do it.

8. Or leave the space stuff to the astronauts, and store your stuff in MakeSpace.

(Make)Space.

A photo posted by MakeSpace (@makespace) on

There’s a reason only an elite few go to space. Living above Earth is hard work. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get your kitchen to the streamlined standards of ISS. Instead, effortlesly store your spare stuff in MakeSpace.

Simply schedule a pickup and we’ll pick up  your appliances, furniture, and paperback novels so you have more space in your home to do whatever you want with.

After we’ve collected your things, we’ll transport them to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always know what you have in storage.

The best part: When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

We may not be on the moon yet, but we are in four cities.

 

Top image via Wikimedia/Michael Edward Fossum

A Psychologist Explains Why Micro-Apartments Are Popular In Large Cities

Brokers have been using words like “spacious,” “airy,” and “HUGE” to sell their clients on apartments since the dawn of leases. But for some people, small spaces are the next big thing.

In large cities across the nation, micro-apartments are exploding in popularity. Just consider Manhattan’s new micro-unit development Carmel Place, or the surge in micro-housing out in Seattle. Still, plenty of skeptics question why anyone would choose to live in a virtual broom closet — and that’s where psychology can help.

The clean, minimal, and furnished interior of Carmel Place, NYC's first micro-apartment building, which is located at 335 E 27th St in Kips Bay, Manhattan.
One of the gorgeous micro-units in Carmel Place, NYC’s first micro-apartment building.

“There are two distinct types of people who would want to live in tiny homes at the moment,” says Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist and founder of Design with Science. “People who have the resources to live in other places, but the tiny homes appeal to them. And then there are people who don’t, who would otherwise be sharing with other people.”

While the draw of micro-apartments should be obvious for those in the second camp — housing is expensive, and less space means less rent money — Augustin explains that folks who aren’t under a financial strain still have plenty of reasons for staying small.

“Some people have a real need for uniqueness and for the time being, it’s an unusual way to live,” she says. “Some people really like puzzles and living in a tiny home can be quite a puzzle to figure out how to cook real meals and have a shower you can comfortably step into. Some people are really concerned about environmental responsibility. And sometimes, but not always, these tiny homes are more responsible.”

Mary Helen Rowell definitely understands the puzzle appeal. When she moved into her 90-square-foot West Village apartment, she loved the neighborhood and low rent, but was also excited to turn the cramped spot into a real home.

Mary Helen Rowell's famous 90 sq ft micro-apartment in the West Village of Manhattan.
Mary Helen Rowell’s famous 90-square-foot micro-apartment in the West Village.

“After I signed the lease, I would go there every day after work and sit in the room and try to figure out what to do,” says Rowell. “I just felt I could make it work. The worst that could happen would be that I’d be uncomfortable for a year.”

The brainstorm led her to creative tricks like hanging her seasonal clothes “shoulder-in” (the rest of them are stored in MakeSpace) and mounting foldable chairs on the wall.

 

Graham Hill is another micro-dwelling disciple, and not just because he likes a good puzzle. Hill has lived in all sorts of small-scale homes, but he’s probably most famous for the 420-square-foot “convertible” apartment he once owned on Sullivan Street.

The interior of Graham Hill's 420 sq ft micro-apartment in SoHo.
With the help of MakeSpace and transforming furniture, Graham Hill packed eight rooms of functionality into his former 420-square-foot micro-apartment in SoHo.
Graham Hill's open Resource Furniture wall bed inside of his SoHo NYC micro-apartment.
Graham Hill’s Resource Furniture sofa doubles as a bed that pulls down from the wall.

Working off a design from two Romanian architecture students, Hill remodeled two tiny adjacent apartments into one single pad with moving walls and space for a 12-person dinner party.

It was all meant to demonstrate his company LifeEdited’s mission — “design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy” — and Hill is still working on getting people to see the unexpected perks of giving up some square footage.

The minimal living room and kitchen inside of Graham Hill's 420-square-foot micro-apartment in SoHo Manhattan.
Graham Hill’s transforming 420-square-foot micro-apartment proves that it’s possibles to live large in small spaces.

“Sure, bigger houses can be nice, but they also have a lot of hidden costs,” says Hill. “More space to clean, heat. Big homes also tend to be further from city centers, meaning more driving, which ups your carbon footprint and takes a bite out of your wallet. What small houses might lack in features, they make up for in freedom to not be a slave to your space and your stuff, to live a life that is both financially and environmentally responsible.”

But of course, micro-apartments aren’t for everyone. Experts believe that kids who grow up in teeny apartments can develop short attention spans or social problems, and older adults may also struggle with a dorm-sized home.

For certain personality types, it can just be a mental minefield. “If someone has a hobby that’s really important to them, like say someone is a painter who paints larger canvases — for those people, moving into a tiny home can be really difficult,” says Augustin. “Because that’s an important part of their identity. I think there are also people who are more attached to things than others. You have to think what their options are and what’s important to them.”

Rowell remembers struggling with this material problem when she started living in her micro-dwelling — giving up on the dream of a couch “or even a cozy armchair” was an early battle. But she thinks ultimately, it does come down to your core personality.

The wall storage rack in Mary Helen Rowell's 90 sq ft West Village micro-apartment.
Mary Helen Rowell hangs her cooking tools, camera, headphones, bistro set, and other small items on the wall to save space.

“You get to know yourself so much better in a challenging living situation like that,” says Rowell. “Everything you bring into your life becomes a question. Is it a necessity or not? You learn how adaptative you are.”

That might sound daunting, but making a micro-space work is getting easier each year. As Augustin points out, technology is digitizing more and more of our belongings (think ebooks and all those photos on your phone), so people are bringing less literal baggage to these diminutive apartments. And in the end, having any sort of apartment does great things for your mood.

“People have really strong psychological reasons for wanting a place of their own,” says Augustin. “It signals you’ve reached a certain life stage, it gives you an opportunity to express who you are, and it gives you an opportunity for privacy. That’s important for obvious reasons, but it also allows you to mull over past life events. We need respite every now and then to make sense of what’s happening to us.”

And even if it means one seriously streamlined kitchen, a micro-apartment can do just that.

The left side of Grayson Altenberg's 100-square-foot micro-apartment has a bookcase, an organizing tray, and wall-mounted storage shelves.
Chef Grayson Altenberg’s 100-square-foot Upper West Side micro-apartment.

Behold The Space-Creating Glory Of The Domino Loft System

What do you do when you have a blank corner of your apartment, sitting unused?

Most people might settle with finding the perfect sectional, storage bed, or space-saving billiards game to fill the space, but not Donnie and Nicki Wang.

They wanted to maximize every square inch of their 500-square-foot San Francisco condo, so they hired architects to design a Domino Loft system that would transform their one empty corner into five functional living spaces.

The result, created by Peter Suen from FIFTH ARCH and Charles Irby at ICOSA Design, is stunning. So stunning that we just had to find the Domino Loft’s owners and creators to learn more about the loft’s birth, features, materials, and of course, the answer to the million dollar question:

How do we get our hands on this spectacular space-saving loft?!

Keep reading to find out, and try not to ogle too hard.

The birth of the Domino Loft system

Nicki Wang writes on the Domino Loft system's whiteboard.
Brian Flaherty

When the couple first reached out to Peter and Charles, Donnie told us they had a clear idea of what they wanted:

“Five functional spaces depending on the time of day or occasion: bedroom, office, dining room, guest room, and walk-in closet.”

Working collaboratively, the designers started from scratch and went through months of content exploration before settling on the ultimate solution. Peter said he and Charles “spent more time than typical on the initial schematic and conceptual phases,” testing at least eight ideas, but the planning paid off.

“We focused,” Peter told us, “on how a static spatial configuration can still produce dynamic, multifunctional spaces.”

Like the Gramercy Park micro-apartment with a sliding storage wall and the tricked-out YO! Home, the Domino Loft feels dynamic even when it’s not in use. Its energy is partly due to its growing out of (and into) the Wangs’ condo.

Fabricated piece-by-piece in Charles’ Oakland shop, the loft system fits seamlessly in the Wangs’ home where it was assembled on site.

The Domino Loft system as a workspace

The Domino Loft system has a multipurpose workspace with a computer station, whiteboard, storage bench, fold down table, and more.
Brian Flaherty

In addition to eating, sleeping, and watching movies in their loft, Donnie and Nicki run treadfast — a business that designs and sells premium tall socks with grips — from home.

As a result, the couple needed a designated workstation and more storage space for their inventory. The Domino Loft provides both.

The Domino Loft system has convenient storage space and shelves to store your clothes, shoes, accessories, and more.
Brian Flaherty

With a built-in standing desk in the interior, a full-wall whiteboard, and storage shelves and drawers just about everywhere else, the Domino Loft system gives the Wangs the workspace they need while saving them from having to stack unsightly boxes in a corner.

Donnie told us they store “thousands of socks in, on, and around the loft, though you could never tell just by looking.” He’s right. We can’t.

The loft’s two tiers allow Donnie and Nicki to work or rest separately, which is one of the keys to successfully sharing an apartment with your significant other.

The Domino Loft has separate areas for relaxing, sleeping, working, and more.
Brian Flaherty

The Domino Loft system as a guest bedroom

Living in Downtown San Francisco often means you attract friends and family from all over the country. Which is great if you have a spare bedroom, but it’s tougher when you’re already two people living in a 500-square-foot condo.

So does that mean the Wangs have their guests sleep on an air mattress that deflates throughout the night?

Nope. The Domino Loft’s whiteboard folds down into a Murphy bed that sleeps two.

Nicki Wang opens the Domino Loft system's Murphy bed.
Brian Flaherty
Nicki Wang tidies the Domino Loft system's Murphy bed.
Brian Flaherty

What’s the Domino Loft system made of?

Donnie Wang opens the Domino Loft system's curtain.
Brian Flaherty

The Domino Loft is primarily made of concrete, steel, and a gorgeous maple plywood with a white lye and natural soap finish. This follows the industrial, urban aesthetic Donnie and Nicki wanted to create in their home.

“The loft platform,” Peter told us, “is formed from a series of solid wood joists that allow lighting to tuck into the member spacing.

The loft’s concrete and steel live up to their sturdy reputations, and because of its sleek and multifunctional design, it doesn’t create a heavy or bulky presence. Details like the sliding library ladder contribute to the energy of this system. It shifts and adapts while standing perfectly still.

The Domino Loft system has convenient hat storage shelves and a sliding library ladder.
Brian Flaherty

Want a Domino Loft system of your own?

We do too. But we’ll have to wait for an indefinite amount of time.

“We would like to develop a kit-based system based on this concept that owners could potentially configure on their own,” Peter told us. He also couldn’t say what the Domino Loft’s price range might be, since the cost of the loft built in the costs of construction and demolition of the Wangs’ condo.

All hope isn’t lost, though. ICOSA Design specializes in computational architecture, meaning they’re experts at turning concepts and data into physical structures.

The Domino Loft is the first living space project that ICOSA Design has built, and it hopefully won’t be their last.

Donnie and Nicki Wang relax on the Domino Loft system's bed in their beautiful 500-square-foot San Francisco condo, which also has a home theater.
Brian Flaherty

This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.

Enter The MUJI Hut, Japan’s Newest Prefab Homes

Who doesn’t want to trade the skyscrapers and crowded trains for the quiet, serene, and spacious country some days?

It’s a common impulse of urban living, whether you’re in Chicago, New York, London, or Tokyo. It’s why people still move off the grid and live in cabins. And it’s also the philosophy behind MUJI Hut, the latest prefab homes out of the Land of the Rising Sun.

You could call MUJI Japan’s response to IKEA. Both companies design and distribute simple, low-cost, and good-quality products.

MUJI diverges from that comparison, however, with its scope. Not content with furniture and ligonberry jam, the Japanese company has created everything from CD players to the MUJI Car 1000, a 2001 collaboration with Nissan.

Now, MUJI is building tiny prefab homes, having enlisted three international designers to create affordable, quality retreat houses. Like most of MUJI’s products, their huts are stunning, modern, and (we hope) affordable.

Check them out below!

The Philosophy of the MUJI Hut

A beautiful Japanese landscape from MUJI Hut.
MUJI

MUJI Hut’s website beckons you to sit in stillness and contemplation. As the page loads, you see and hear a video of quiet, subdued nature scenes with no buildings or people in sight.

Music begins, and calm rhythms play over bird songs, waterfalls, and crickets. You wait, expecting something to appear. Until you realize that waiting and listening is the point. It’s mesmerizing. It’s the kind of experience MUJI hopes to create with their prefab houses.

“Slip away,” the copy reads when you discover you can scroll down, “from the hustle and bustle of the city to a place where you can feel instantly at home and at ease.”

Suddenly, you want that home where you can sit and listen to the rain and watch the day fade into night. That home where you can sit around a fire in a private space talking to your friends.

You can have it, the copy infers, if you live in a MUJI Hut. Three unique MUJI Hut designs were unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Design Week, each with its own amenities and distinct personality.

MUJI Cork Hut

The exterior of a MUJI Cork Hut, a prefab home in Japan.
MUJI

British designer Jasper Morrison created the Cork Hut, so named for its cork walls and, inside, cork doorknobs. Its 100% natural material is carbon negative and recyclable, all the while insulating the tiny house from cold and noise. This selection of materials aligns with the overall aim of MUJI Hut to live at peace with your surroundings.

The interior of a MUJI Cork Hut, a minimal prefab house in Japan.
MUJI

The interior of the Cork Hut is spare but offers traditional tatami floors, a wood burning stove, kitchenette, dining nook, and bathroom. In essence, it has everything you need to survive, which was the aim of Morrison. He wanted to create a “house as a product rather than a one-off” for everyone who wants to live on a piece of land but can’t build a new house from scratch.

MUJI Aluminum Hut

The exterior of a MUJI Aluminum Hut, a minimal Japanese prefab house.
MUJI

Simpler, smaller, and more portable than the Cork Hut is the Aluminum Hut from German designer Konstantin Grcic. With a footprint around 100 square feet, Grcic built this prefab house within the parameters of projects that require no construction permit. Which means if you live in or move to Japan, you can place this tiny home just about anywhere without legal challenges.

The minimal interior of a MUJI Aluminum Hut in Japan.
MUJI

Three sides of the Aluminum Hut’s exterior are made with, you guessed it, lightweight aluminum. You’d think this would block sunlight from entering inside, but that’s not the case. The front of the Aluminum Hut has traditional Japanese sliding front doors that admit plenty of natural light.

Inside, there’s a loft and ladder. But nothing else. The minimalism is intentional. Grcic wanted to create “a free space, which can be personalized and accommodated for a number of different uses.”

The Aluminum Hut is a basic, beautiful shelter that’s also private, portable, and self-supportive.

MUJI Wooden Hut

The exterior of a MUJI Wooden Hut, a minimal tiny house in Japan.
MUJI

Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa considered the associations with the word “hut” before he drew the floor plan for his Wooden Hut: “Not quite a holiday house, yet not as simple as going camping.”

With a stove and kitchenette like the Cork Hut, plus a full Japanese tub and wall of windows, Fukasawa created this house with more pleasures in mind.

The minimal interior of a MUJI Wooden Hut, a prefab home in Japan.
MUJI

The expanse of windows was designed for the kind of vistas you see on MUJI Hut’s website, and the Wooden Hut’s interior similarly melds with natural surroundings.

The floor and wall are made of timber and offer a shelf for storage along the back. As the small cot in that photo indicates, floor space is limited, but the pitched roof and generous use of glass brighten and expand the single room.

As for the Wooden Hut’s bathroom, it’s stunning, and pictured below.

The interior of a MUJI Wooden Hut, a minimal prefab home built in Japan.
Dwell

MUJI Hut Price and Availability

 

So, how much are these gorgeous MUJI Huts? And how soon can you move into one?

We’re not sure.

The bottom of MUJI’s website reads “We are not ready to announce any details yet, but to keep up with the latest news, join our mailing list or follow us.” And when we asked MUJI’s head office in Tokyo for more information, they told us that’s all they can say for now.

Other media outlets, however, cite prices ranging from $25,000 to $40,000 along with a 2017 release date. Given that MUJI’s gorgeous three-story Vertical House sells for just $180,000, that price range for their tiny homes may just be accurate.

Unfortunately, and maybe tellingly, MUJI only sells their prefab Vertical House in Japan. Keep your fingers crossed though until more news develops. And be consoled: There’s still the Ecocapsule.

This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.

Look To The Sea: Storage And Space-Saving Inspiration From Sailors

Living in small spaces is no 20th century phenomenon. Humans have made do with less room since we first climbed down from trees and built primitive shelters. We’re an economical species, adept at efficiency and thrifty living in big cities, and the open water.

Sailors and everyone living in offshore homes have pioneered many advancements in small-space living. Bobbing beside a dock or anchored in a marina, sailboats, houseboats, and small yachts use clever design to make the most of a few square feet.

If you live in a small apartment or tiny home and crave some space, consider these space-saving, furnishing, and storage tips developed by sea-dwellers.

Mount plates, cups, paper towel, and spices to the wall.

A SeaTeak dish/cup/spice/towel rack is storing plates, a paper towel roll, spices, and cups.
SeaTeak

Like a lot of tiny apartments, few ship galleys have the space for cabinets. Ceramic dishes wouldn’t last too long sliding around in a sailboat buffeted by waves anyway. Enter SeaTeak, a company devoted to beautiful, practical storage products that can be mounted to the wall of any home, land or sea.

The dish/cup/spice/towel rack seen above is one of many home storage solutions they make that free up counter space and keep your belongings secure. From knife blocks to book racks, their marine-inspired designs will enhance any home by looking beautiful while saving space.

Think cozy, not cramped.

The cozy bedroom in Tracy and Marty Metro's "Retro Metro" houseboat.
Apartment Therapy

Sure, most of us would love to sleep under a 12-foot ceiling with a huge window overhead or, better yet, a skylight, but that’s not feasible in most small apartments. For centuries sailors have slept in cramped beds with low ceilings, and many modern marine dwellers do too, except they make the spaces cozier.

If you have a loft bed or an apartment with less headroom than you’d prefer, use lights, colors, and textures to make it warmer, and more pleasant. While the headboard in the houseboat pictured above nearly touches the ceiling, its cushion material adds comfort to the small space. The lights pointed upward and outward, and the basket hanging from the ceiling also create more dimensions, making it less of a cave and more like a cozy den.

Hide your counter.

A foldable prep station counter in a Prospect Heights, Brooklyn apartment.
studiogreener

A New York City architect looked at sailboats for inspiration when designing a Prospect Heights apartment, pictured above. He built the foldable prep station with a table bracket used in many boats and yachts. It locks firmly and holds up to 330 pounds, then drops out of sight whenever you don’t need the extra counter space.

Oh, and the stainless steel bracket only costs $16 on Amazon, which makes it economical in every sense of the word. If you need more prep room, or if you’re just looking to save space in your small kitchen, this is among the cheapest and simplest tricks you can find.

Cargo nets are your storage buddies.

Two cargo nets are attached to a tiny trailer's ceiling and storing clothes.
Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers

Already a common sight in the trunks of most cars, cargo nets can be found in nooks and corners on boats of every size. You can adapt them to apartment storage as well. Their elasticity makes them ideal for compressing bulky items like spare duvets and pillows. When you’re done storing your stuff in them, they hug the wall, ceiling, or base of your bed, taking up little to no space.

Just like on boats, cargo netting comes in every shape and size for your small home, so you have a lot of options to maximize storage space with these stretchy tools.

Collapsible canvas baskets are your space-saving superheroes.

A large and small canvas storage baskets are storing logs and kindling in a small apartment with a fireplace.
Not on the High Street

We’re fans of our durable plastic storage bins, but when it comes to storing things in your studio apartment, canvas baskets are the way to go.

Seafarers rely on them to store everything from food and toiletries to jackets and linens for two good reasons:

  1. They’re durable.
  2. They’re soft and moldable, which lets you compress them when they’re empty to save space.

You can also store your possessions in canvas laundry hampers or canvas wastebaskets, and then tuck them into nooks and corners where rigid storage containers like a box or trunk might not fit.

Abandon ship clutter.

A layout of a small boat's interior showing multipurpose furniture and smart storage solutions.
Beneteau 235

Every time sailors take to the sea, they bring only the most basic tools, provisions, and cherished belongings with them. The reason is simple: If there’s no room for stuff, there’s no reason to take it. It’s a nice, simple philosophy for anyone who lives in a tiny house or tiny apartment to keep in mind.

Whether you live in an apartment, are about to move into a smaller home, or are planning to tidy up á la Marie Kondo, know that the space-saving solutions above can only go so far.

Think about everything you own and decide whether or not you really need certain objects taking up space in your home. Some items you might want to keep, others you might want to donate, gift, sell, or toss.

Either way, you don’t have to make every decision permanent, or regret parting with an item forever. Simply store the stuff you love, but don’t necessarily need in your home right now, in MakeSpace. And when you need something back, we’ll deliver it to your house, apartment, office, or port.

This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.

NYC’s First Micro-Apartment Building Is Absolutely Gorgeous, Spacious, And Chock-Full Of Amenities

Picture coming home to a newly-made bed, fresh linens, and clean clothes that are folded and put away in your drawers and closet. You don’t have to worry about what to eat for dinner. Your fridge and pantry is already stocked with your favorite food. And you don’t have to worry about cleaning your apartment. It’s already sparkling.

Did someone break into your apartment while you were at work and do all your chores?

Lol. No. That’d make him/her the sweetest criminal ever.

In this case, all you actually have to worry about is deciding whether you’re going to:

  • Relax on your incredibly comfortable Italian sofa from Resource Furniture that transforms into a bed, or on a chair at your desk that pulls out into a table for 12
  • Stare out your floor-to-ceiling window at a breath-taking skyline
  • Work out in your downstairs gym
  • Chill on your Juliet balcony or sky terrace
  • Unwind in your lounge, game room, or courtyard
  • Or have the time of your life mingling with influential people at private events held at your city’s hottest spots

Are you a multi-millionaire and/or Bruce Wayne?

Maybe. But you don’t need to be either to live here. In fact, 22 of the building’s 55 apartments are for low and middle-income people. The rest are market rate.

Ok, so what’s going on in this hypothetical dream?

It’s not a dream. This place exists.

The address: 335 East 27th Street in Kips Bay, Manhattan.

The name: Carmel Place.

Formerly known as My Micro NY, Carmel Place is NYC’s first micro-apartment building. Its micro-apartments range in price from $2,650/month for an unfurnished 265-square-foot unit to $3,150 for a furnished 355-square-foot unit. As for the “affordable” units, they cost $950/month. All of which are absolutely gorgeous and spacious, and include plenty of storage space.

See for yourself, and try not to drool too much:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Who’s responsible for bringing these beautifully designed and furnished micro-apartments that come with pretty much everything you could want in a home?

nArchitects, Monadnock Development, and Ollie.

A word play on “all inclusive,” Ollie is Stage 3 Properties’ micro and co-living experience. Part of which includes Hello Alfred doing your chores and running your errands. You also get a Magnises membership, which gives you VIP access to top-secret events, private concerts, luxurious getaways, exclusive restaurants and clubs, and a slew of other perks that you’d expect a fancy black metal card to bring you.

“It’s a strong example of one of our basic premises—that we can elevate quality of life for tenants by eliminating less-valued square footage and reinvesting those savings in areas that make a material difference in their everyday lives,” said Chris Bledsoe, a founding partner of Stage 3 Properties and Ollie.

The best part: You don’t have to pay any extra money. Ollie is included in the rent at Carmel Place and will be included in the rent at future complexes, one of which will be opening in Los Angeles.

But that’s not all. Chris also told us about two upcoming Ollie services that will be available as add-ons:

1. Ollie Box

Ollie Box is a package of the accent items, such as “the floor rug, pillows, quilt on the end of the bed, and vase in the corner that you see,” that Ollie curates for you based on your tastes and then delivers to your door.

Ollie Box is a curated design package of accent items that Ollie curates and delivers to your door.
Ollie

2.  Bedvetter

Bedvetter is a platform that Chris says “aims to streamline the household formation process” by “making it a lot easier for roommates to come together based on compatibility because part of Bedvetter is a roommate-matching algorithm similar to say, eHarmony.”

So basically, you’ll never have to deal with another roommate from hell ever again.

Sounds good to us.

Want to live in one of Carmel Place’s exquisite micro-apartments?

Apply here. Right now. Because there are only eight micro-units left. And more than eight million people in NYC who’d probably love to live in a beautiful fully-furnished home that basically cleans, restocks, and furnishes itself. Kind of like Bruce Wayne’s mansion that’s serviced by Alfred.

bruce-wayne-batman-mask-hello-alfred-
Hello Alfred

8 Small-Space Living Tips From The People Who Perfected Small-Space Living

Few human dwellings have endured as well or as long as the cabin. Log cabins appeared in Europe over 5,000 years ago, and besides indoor plumbing, not much has changed in them since. They’re practical, economical structures that have used limited space wisely for thousands of years, which makes them wonderful models for modern tiny-apartment dwellers like you.

Whether you’re still acclimating to a small apartment or not, there’s no denying that all of us could use a little extra breathing room. Here are eight smart decorating, storage, and small-space living tips from cabin owners that you can easily apply in your own home.

1. Simplify your possessions.

A woman is reading at a table in a minimally decorated cabin with a wood burner stove.
Lawrence Modern

The first homesteaders on the frontier only owned the provisions they carried in wagons from the east. They filled their newly-built cabins with these possessions, and until the mail order catalogue appeared, not much more.

Simplifying to the bare essentials became a tradition of cabin living, and it might be the best lesson for you to learn before moving, selling, donating, or storing everything that you don’t absolutely need. That means you, juicer we only used for one week.

2. Make your apartment work overtime.

A clean and organized tiny apartment has storage shelves and cabinets and is decorated in mostly white.
Cloud Pen Studio

A lot of migrants to big cities grew up with many single-purpose rooms. We had rooms for eating, cooking, sleeping, watching TV, doing laundry, storing holiday decorations, and even taking off our shoes. A lot of cabin owners did too, but they acclimated to their condensed space by forgetting the rooms they only used 10 minutes a day (or a month).

Cabins, like small apartments, still have all the necessary makings of a home. The layout and square footage may be smaller than what you’re used to, but there’s nothing wrong with having your kitchen, living area, and bed all within the same four walls like these spacious micro-apartments. That’s how it’s been for most of human history.

3. Think “cozy,” not “cramped.”

The cozy interior of a log cabin is dimly lit and minimally decorated.
Sortra Decor

Did that room feel bigger before you moved your bed into it? Yeah, that happens, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Cabins remain popular not for vast floor plans but for their small charm.

Having your table next to your bed, and only a step away from your refrigerator, doesn’t have to be claustrophobic. Think of your small space as cozy, good for nestling — like a cabin. Of course, a little feng shui doesn’t hurt either.

4. Go outside whenever you can.

The exterior of a Northern Woods lynx cabin in the woods during the day.
Northern Outdoors

Let’s not forget why most cabin owners became cabin owners: the great outdoors. Cabins allowed families and woodsmen easy access to open land and idyllic settings. As cozy as they made their homes, cabin fever loomed if people didn’t go outside whenever they could.

It can be a threat for tiny-apartment dwellers too, so like Grayson Altenberg, try to limit the amount of time you spend indoors. Especially during REDRUM winter.

5. Don’t underestimate a natural grain.

The white interior of a clean, organized, and minimally decorated small apartment that has storage shelves, a loft, and wooden furniture.
Budoza

We love IKEA too, but if you can’t have the wooden walls of a cabin, furnish your apartment with at least a few pieces that have natural grains. Like houseplants, wood accents make living spaces more pleasant and warm.

Wooden furniture only adds to that cozy charm your small apartment needs. But don’t take our word for it, take a look at the wooden Bike Shelf that doubles as art.

6. Install storage solutions everywhere.

A man is walking down the Mieke Meijer Objet Eleve, a suspended staircase with storage, a desk, and a side table.
Mieke Meijer

Storage is a major feature of just about every cabin you’ll come across because it’s essential to living happily in a small space. Cabin owners have perfected the use of every nook to store quilts, food, and firewood. You should too.

Buy shelves if your apartment lacks built-ins. And think outside the box to create extra storage spaces like how Dutch design studio Mieke Meijer did with the above staircase.

7. Get creative with how you store your clothes.

A portable DIY closet made of pipes, a storage crate, a shelf, and a vintage trunk.
Lifehack

There weren’t closets in early cabins, and that coffin with a door beside your bed may not feel like one either. Cabin owners and tiny-apartment dwellers alike lack space for many clothes, so divide your wardrobe by seasons.

Sending winter coats in the summer and tank tops in the winter to storage might be the best hack, but also consider the cabin method: buying an antique trunk. You can use it as a coffee table, or a platform for shoes. When the weather changes, open it up and swap out your clothes.

8. Enjoy the independence.

A woman is sitting at a wooden table and drinking coffee on the porch of a treehouse in a rainforest during the day.
Crowd Social

You may not have braved the Oregon Trail to reach your apartment, but you can still take pride in your independence like the old log cabin settlers. Living in a small space is a small price to pay for autonomy, and there’s a deep pleasure in that.

Enjoy your apartment for the independence it allows. If you still find yourself wanting a little extra room, let us help. We’re called MakeSpace for a reason.

This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.

YO! Home’s Floating Bedroom, Vanishing Dining Room, And Secret Storage Units Will Blow Your Mind

YO! Home’s cozy bedroom is so happy that it jumps for joy.

 

YO! Home’s high-tech dining room is so magical that it vanishes into the floor.

YO! Home's dining table is ejecting from the wooden floor.
YO! Company
YO! Home's dining table is hidden underneath the wooden floor.
YO! Company

YO! Home’s clever kitchen is so friendly that it plays peek-a-boo with you.

 

YO! Home’s hardwood floor is so thoughtful that it reserves not one, but two mini storage units underneath its surface for you, and your significant other. Just in case the studio’s multiple storage closets and storage cabinets run out of space.

The two mini storage units under YO! Home's floor has their doors open.
YO! Company

You’d think YO! Home is a millionaire’s mansion. But it’s not. YO! Home is a 430-square-foot studio apartment.

Wish YO! Home was your home?

It can be, thanks to Simon Woodroffe, the forward-thinking entrepreneur who’s also behind the futuristic YOTEL hotel chain and YO! Sushi restaurants.

Starting as early as next fall, a YO! Home building filled with 24 of these Japanese-inspired tricked-out studios will open in Manchester, England, followed by *fingers crossed* Manhattan, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, and Shanghai.

“The idea was born at around the same time as YOTEL; Simon believed that luxury living shouldn’t be exclusively available to the rich and famous,” reads The Details page on YO! Home’s website. “By economising space, without sacrificing quality and style, YO! Home is set to offer a high-end real estate experience at an affordable price.”

How affordable?

YO! Home’s website doesn’t list a price, so we emailed their Managing Director, Jack Spurrier, to discover the answer to your burning question.

“Tbc but circa 160k pounds Stirling,” replied Jack, which equals $242,584.80.

No word yet on if you’ll be able to rent a YO! Home instead of buying it, but we’ll update this article as soon as we find out.

But wait, where’s the bathroom?

In a separate room, where it should be.

YO! Home's sleek, modern, and luxurious bathroom.
YO! Company

Should you need a break from this petite palace, a breath of fresh air is only a few steps away. Simply walk out YO! Home’s front door and you’ll find yourself in a garden that has a storage shed.

Or slide open YO! Home’s back door, which is surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling glass wall, and kick back on your balcony while you gaze into the horizon until you get tired.

YO Home's! rear glass floor-to-ceiling wall and sliding door.
Facebook/YO! Home

When you get sleepy, simply push a button to lower the bed, and a projector screen, from the ceiling. So that you can watch a movie until you fall asleep. A sleep in which you don’t have to worry about getting trapped in the ceiling. Because there are fail-safe sensors that prevent the bed from erupting from the sunken living room.

YO! Home's projector screen is hanging from the ceiling and it's motorized bed rests on a sunken U-shaped sofa.
YO! Company

Simon Woodroffe thinks of everything when it comes to pampering you. And we can’t wait until YO! Home, which clearly has everything you could possibly want in an apartment and more, hits our shore.

These 6 Spacious Micro-Apartments Have Genius Decorating And Storage Ideas That You Should Copy

All small apartments are born with an evil villain inside: sparse space that can squash your happiness. The good news is that all micro-apartments are born with a superhero inside: secret space-saving hacks that will increase your happiness.

And since you loved our “10 Space-Saving Tips And Storage Tricks You Should Steal From Tiny Homes” article so much, we decided to show you some more. Except this time, from six spacious micro-apartments in Chicago, DC, and NYC whose decorating, space-saving, and storage ideas are ripe for the taking. Dig in!

1. Gateway West Loop micro-apartments

The interior of a Gateway West Loop micro-apartment in Chicago, Illinois.
Gateway West Loop

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Size: 399 square feet

The first few things you couldn’t help but notice in the Gateway West Loop micro-apartment were the chairs with bursts of bright orange, followed by the orange pillow. Right? That’s because your brain associates orange with friendliness, cheerfulness, and confidence. All three of which your apartment can exude if you add some orange accents to your decor like how interior designer Kay Douglass did to this house in Atlanta, Georgia.

Next up is the area rug on the floor that adds personality, comfort, and warmth to the room. Which you’re going to need a lot of considering this winter is going to be “super cold.”

Now look at the Chicago micro-apartment’s left wall and you’ll see a framed map that demonstrates art’s ability to add unique style to any room. Shift your eyes to the right wall and you’ll see a mounted TV that saves tons of floor and table space. Also, both the map and the TV are at eye level, which interior design expert Emily Henderson says “is important for a room to feel balanced.”

2. Lake Street Studios micro-apartments

The living room of a Lake Street Studios micro-apartment in Chicago, Illinois.
Credit: Harley Ellis Devereaux/Anthony May Photography

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Size: 300 square feet

If your living room tastes a little stale, spice up your sofa with throw pillows and create a cozy reading nook/sunbathing nook by moving your sofa in front of a window. If your sofa is too big for its own good, downsize to the retro Emily Futon above or to one of these stylish space-saving sofas.

Then add some flowers to the mix, which increase your happiness and productivity. If you don’t have a small end table to set the flowers on, hang them in some HEAN Pot Cradles and call it a day. A day that’s joyful, spacious, and full of life of course.

Oh, and don’t forget to steal blue and white, the colors found on one of the throw pillows pictured above, and on the exterior of Lake Street Studios’ building that’s pictured below. Susan King from Harley Ellis Devereaux, the architecture and engineering firm that designed Lake Street Studios, told us that both colors “respond to the sky.” Yep, the same sky that soothes you, a sensation that your apartment should always make you feel.

The blue and white exterior of the Lake Street Studios micro-apartment building in Chicago, Illinois.
Harley Ellis Devereaux/Anthony May Photography

3. The Drake micro-apartments

The living room in one of The Drake's micro-apartments in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.
Credit: Keener Management

Location: Washington, DC
Size: 419 square feet

Not only does The Drake share 50% of its name with our favorite rapper/singer, it also rocks a ton of delightful decorating and storage tips that you can easily jack without being sued by October’s Very Own.

For starters, we love the sleek white coffee table. It’s small enough to not hog your space, yet big enough to rest your feet and some vibrant stress-relieving hacky sacks that double as art. Art that sits atop a cubby in which you can store a few magazines and books. Until you read them while petting the cozy white faux fur pillow on the right that reminds you of the cute dog your landlord forbids.

We also appreciate the DC micro-apartment’s mammoth windows. Their absence of blinds and curtains help fill your pet void by letting sunlight flood your apartment with unconditional joy. Unconditional joy that if you can’t contain, you can store on a floating shelf, or inside of a storage ottoman, a rolling desk with drawers, or a decorative vase like the ones featured in another one of The Drake’s dope micro-apartments:

Storage ottomans, a rolling desk with drawers, and other space-saving furniture inside of one of The Drake's micro-apartments in Washington, DC.
Credit: Keener Management

By the way, see the lamp with the shade that resembles rigatoni chilling in the back right? It looks delicious, but it’d be even more so if you installed a space-saving Twist LED lightbulb/speaker that can play music at the same time. Because…we know when that lightbulb blings, that can only mean one thing. And that’s whatever song you want it to play.


via GQ
 

4. The Harper micro-apartments

The alcove bedroom in one of The Harper's micro-apartments in the 14th street arts district in Washington, DC.
Credit: Keener Management

Location: Washington, DC
Size: 300 to 500 square feet

See that space underneath The Harper micro-apartment’s bed? If your bed has that space, leave it that way. If it doesn’t, put your bed on bed risers. Then, store your summer clothes in underbed storage boxes and enjoy the extra space that you just made in your closet. Or do what certified feng shui consultant Anjie Cho recommends and leave the space underneath your bed empty so that good energy can flow through your home.

Renting a studio with another person and want more privacy?

You could build a divider wall like the one you saw above and anger your landlord. Or build a noninvasive divider wall using EverBlocks, the life-sized LEGOs you’ve always wanted, and anger no one:

The interior of a small apartment with a room divider/accent wall made of EverBlocks that resemble giant LEGOs.
EverBlock Systems, LLC.

If “24/7 playful” isn’t your aesthetic of choice, another option is to make every hour private-and-sophisticated happy hour with a modern Partywall:

 

5. The Lanes micro-apartments

The mostly white kitchen/multipurpose living room in one of The Lanes' micro-apartments in Long Island City in Queens, New York.
Credit: Fogarty Finger/Homely

Location: Long Island City, Queens, New York
Size: 490 square feet

One glance at The Lanes micro-apartment and you’re probably thinking, “Wow. That’s a lot of white.” White that makes you think of cleanliness. Cleanliness that reflects sunlight and visually expands your space. Cleanliness that’s easy to maintain if you follow Marie Kondo’s super-effective “KonMari” method of organizing and only keep the things that “spark joy.”

If all white everything isn’t your cup of tea though, remix your walls with some gorgeous artist-designed wallpaper from Feathr and have a blast staring at it for hours.

Last but not least, this NYC micro-apartment also has a tiny plant that’s sitting on a tiny dining table, both of which you should consider investing in if you want to maximize your cute aggression-to-space-saving ratio.

6. Unfolding Apartment

The closed blue space-saving furniture/storage cabinet in the Unfolding Apartment that's located in Manhattan, New York.
MKCA

Location: Manhattan, New York
Size: 400 square feet

What do you get when you combine most of the decorating and storage ideas in this article with the genius architecture minds over at MKCA?

The magical multi-functional storage cabinet from Unfolding Apartment that morphs into a bedroom with a murphy bed and closet, an office/library, a bar, and kitchen storage. It’s like having Xzibit pimp your apartment by installing a custom apartment inside your apartment for more space-saving fun for you and your friends inside your apartment. And who wouldn’t want that?

The bedroom, murphy bed, mattress, pillows, bookshelf, and closet inside of Unfolding Apartment's blue storage cabinet/transforming furniture.
MKCA
The office/library inside of the blue multipurpose furniture/storage cabinet in Unfolding Apartment, a tiny apartment that's located in Manhattan NYC.
MKCA
The home bar inside of the blue mini storage unit/storage locker from Unfolding Apartment, a small studio located in Manhattan, NY.
MKCA
The kitchen inside of Unfolding Apartment, a tiny studio in Manhattan NYC that has a big blue piece of multipurpose furniture with storage.
MKCA

Ecocapsule Is Finally Available For Pre-Order! Never Pay Rent Or Utilities Again

Sexy Ecocapsule fans of the world, today’s the day you’ve all been waiting for. After six years of development by Bratislava, Slovakia-based Nice Architects, the Ecocapsule is now available for pre-order!

 

“Our mission is to offer first-class product to all our future customers. Most of the technologies we use are still rapidly evolving, but year 2016 is perfect for Ecocapsule to be finally born,” Igor Zacek, CEO of the project, told us via email earlier today.

How much does the Ecocapsule cost?

Only €79,900 ($87,033.87). With €2,000 ($2,177.16) down. Before shipping. Which in the US, can cost you €2,100 ($2,281.98) if it’s being shipped to New York or Houston, or €3,600 ($3,911.96) if it’s being shipped to Oakland for example.

We know, we know. The price sounds outrageous for an 88-square-foot tiny home that looks like the Chicago Bean’s younger sibling. But remember, you can live in one of these custom, intelligent, portable, and solar- and wind-powered pods anywhere in the world — without having to worry about paying rent or utility bills. Ever. Again.

Four Ecocapsules, solar and wind powered tiny homes on wheels, are on the beach.
Nice Visions
Six Ecocapsules, which are self-sufficient and inhabitable portable pods, are on the top of apartment buildings in a city.
Nice Visions
Six Ecocapsules are parked in front of a monument and building during the daytime.
Nice Visions
Skiers are walking by two Ecocapsules on a mountain covered by snow.
Nice Visions/Christian Lang

The Ecocapsule, which is made of steel, fiberglass, and aluminum, isn’t your average tiny home on wheels that you have to build yourself. It comes with everything you need to live comfortably on, and off, the grid.

For starters, it has solar panels, a wind turbine, thermal insulation, a water filtration system and heater, water tanks, windows with hardened security glass, floor heating, and a battery that can provide electricity for at least four days in the off chance that there’s no energy from the sun or wind.

A scheme showing how the Ecocapsule runs on solar and wind energy and filters water.

A scheme showing a car charging the Ecocapsule's battery.

Inside the Ecocapsule, there’s a folding double bed with a mattress, a kitchenette, a shower, a composting toilet, multiple storage cabinets, a data network connection for when you miss the rest of the world, electrical outlets, LED lights, and more. Like an optional mini fridge, washing machine, mosquito net, and folding sunshade.

The Ecocapsule's kitchenette with a sink, two burners, and storage cabinets.
Tomas Manina
The Ecocapsule's multipurpose living area has a folding bed, storage cabinets, and a desk.
Tomas Manina
The Ecocapsule's bathroom has a shower, sink, window, mirror, and composting toilet.
Nice Visions

Similar to a BMW 7 series, except more spacious and inhabitable, the Ecocapsule’s price also includes a warranty and service. Just in case something goes wrong while you’re out in the middle of nowhere pondering life’s quandaries.

Want to be one of the first people on the planet to own an Ecocapsule?

Order your Ecocapsule here. Like right now. Because Nice Architects is only producing 50 1st generation Ecocapsules. And based on the prototype’s widespread media coverage and interest along with the tiny house craze, they’ll probably sell out fast.

But don’t worry. Even if you miss the limited-edition boat, all hope isn’t lost. As long as you don’t mind waiting until 2017 for your Ecocapsule to arrive, you can still reserve a non-customized, less than €79,000 ($85,944.10) Ecocapsule for only €300 ($326.37) down.

If you’re one of the first tiny home enthusiasts to get your lucky hands on a 1st generation Ecocapsule, hit us up at press@makespace.com. We’d love to learn about your experience living in one of these magnificent portable pods and of course, feature you on our blog.

Until then, we’ll have fun playing with this mini €29 ($31.52) “Ecocapsule folder”:

A mini Ecocapsule by Nice Architects.
Ecocapsule

Bummer, The Williamsburg Dumpster Apartment Is Not For Rent

Remember the Craigslist ad for the Williamsburg dumpster apartment? If you don’t, here’s what the (now expired) ad read:

$1200 hipster type needed for dumpster apt (Williamsburg)

This art deco hipster retro mini apt from a converted dumpster is green friendly and sustainable. .and trendy…1200 month. Or 200 per night.

You might be thinking, $1,200 a month to live in a dumpster? That’s freaking insane. Who does the poster think I am, Oscar the Grouch? 

But then again, this is NYC. A place where the apartments are as small as they are expensive. A place where a tiny apartment with a shower in the kitchen asks for $1,795 a month, a windowless 100-square-foot apartment with barely any standing room rents for $1,100 a month, and a 90-square-foot apartment without a bathroom rents for $775 a month.

At $1,200 a month, the dumpster apartment is actually a steal. Not only does it cost $300 less per month than the cheapest studio on the market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as of November 20th, it’s also tricked out with everything you need to survive in the concrete jungle.

It has running water, insulation, electricity, lighting, a sink with drawers and a cooler, a toaster oven, a single burner, a toilet, and benches with storage that also serve as a sofa and a bed. And that’s just on the inside.

Take a look:

Gregory Kloehn's Williamsburg dumpster apartment in Brooklyn NYC has its door open.

The interior of Gregory Kloehn's Williamsburg dumpster apartment in Brooklyn NYC.

On the dumpster apartment’s outside, there’s a shower (yes, with a curtain), barbecue grill, mini-bar, deck, and retractable roof with windows. More than what most NYC apartments can boast.

The front exterior of Gregory Kloehn's Williamsburg dumpster apartment in Brooklyn NYC.

The back exterior of Gregory Kloehn's Williamsburg dumpster apartment in Brooklyn NYC.

All of this wierd, albeit wonderful, compact magic for only $1,200 a month sounds too insane to be true, doesn’t it?

We tracked down and contacted the Williamsburg dumpster apartment’s builder and owner, Gregory Kloehn, just to make sure. That’s when things got interesting.

“I’m not renting my dumpster home out at this time,” said Gregory, an artist whose Homeless Homes Project builds mobile shelters for homeless people.

So if the dumpster apartment isn’t for rent, then who posted the fake Craigslist ad for what’s basically the real-life version of Deke’s dumpster house on 2 Broke Girls?

We don’t know. And neither does Gregory.

“The posting on Craigslist was a hoax by someone I don’t know,” he said.

Gregory, who actually lives on the West Coast, also told us that the Williamsburg dumpster apartment “serves as my summer home” and “I’ll be back in New York next summer, you can see it then.”

We’ll be waiting, Gregory, with our tiny apartment envy in tow. Until then, we’ll just have to settle for HGTV’s video tour of the dumpster apartment back in 2013.

Tour Grayson Altenberg’s 100-Square-Foot NYC Apartment

Grayson Altenberg doesn’t look out the window. He has no window.

Grayson Altenberg doesn’t have a kitchen (unless a hot plate, mini-fridge, and microwave count). He has “a very, very giant kitchen at Lincoln Center.”

Grayson Altenberg doesn’t have a living room. He says, “My living room is Central Park.”

Grayson Altenberg also doesn’t have a table, a chair, or a closet (Grayson, if you’re reading this, email us). He has four walls, a floor, and a ceiling.

Does Grayson Altenberg live in a college dorm room?

No. That would be an upgrade.

So where does Grayson Altenberg live?

He lives in an Upper West Side apartment. An apartment so small that “you can’t have three friends over at the same time,” “you can’t gain weight once you move in,” “there’s a bumper on the front door to keep it from hitting the back wall,” and “you have to move the bed just to open and close the front door” according to the apartment’s listing on StreetEasy.

Just how small is the tiny apartment that Curbed NY called “so sad it hurts”?

100 square feet.

Is Grayson insane for choosing to live in an apartment that’s barely bigger than two prison cells combined, and only 10 square feet larger than Mary Helen Rowell’s 90-square-foot West Village apartment?

No. Like many of us, “I made the sacrifice of space to be living in Manhattan,” and “commuting an hour and a half or walking five minutes to work was the deal maker,” said Grayson, who’s now a chef at Lincoln Ristorante. A chef who pays $1,100 a month in rent for a 7-foot-by-11-foot studio, which although sounds ridiculous (because it is), is actually less than half of the average monthly rent of $2,848 for a studio on the Upper West Side.

Grayson lacks space, but like Mary Helen Rowell, he makes up for it with smart storage solutions. He stores his clothes and laptop on wall-mounted shelves, he hangs cooking supplies from a chandelier, and he stashes his eating utensils in Mason jars to name a few.

Tour Grayson Altenberg’s 100-square-foot NYC apartment and learn the rest of his space-saving storage tips by watching the video below. He says to the camera “Welcome to my crib,” which sounds about right.