Gallery: Top 5 Tiniest Prefab Homes

As prefab housing takes hold as a viable, sustainable, contemporary building technique, one of the lessons we are learning is that bigger does not necessarily equal better. In fact, when is comes to simplifying your life and trying to tread lightly on the
 
As prefab housing takes hold as a viable, sustainable, contemporary building technique, one of the lessons we are learning is that bigger does not necessarily equal better. In fact, when is comes to simplifying your life and trying to tread lightly on the planet, we would argue that smaller is most certainly better. Some of our favorite prefabs here at Inhabitat have been those with the least amount of square footage. In an era of shoddily-built cookie-cutter McMansions, it's nice to see a growing trend toward living small and efficiently, in a well built compact home. Read on for our Top 5 Tiniest Prefab Homes...

1. WEEHOUSE

At just $125 per square foot, the WeeHouse is a single module that can be plopped on just about any site, including a rooftop. The basic unit is framed with steel and wood, and comes with tongue-and-groove bamboo flooring, and Ikea cabinetry, kitchens and sinks. Despite what the name implies, don’t let it size fool you- this is one awesome modern residence.

2. TINY TUMBLEWEED HOUSE

Founded on his personal philosophy and desire for low-impact living, Jay Shafer’s Tiny Tumbleweed House has represents what he calls “subtractive design,” rejecting typical spatial assumptions and opting for clarity through conscientious use of space. This tiny house ranges from 40-500 square feet and accommodates a whole slew of needs from home office to vacation home or full-time residence. They’re also road-ready for the ultimate nomadic portability.

3. SUSTAIN MINI HOME

The Sustain MiniHome is quite the compact green machine, packing a ton of green materials and technologies into a small but very livable space. No vinyl, formaldehyde, toxic adhesives or finishes, all water-based or plant oil-based finishes, FSC certification, natural ventilation… the list goes on and on. Not to mention, it’s portable, modern, and cutely compact!

4. LOFTCUBE

Not only is the LoftCube tiny, it can be strategically plopped on a rooftop so as to not consume any additional footprint. Especially in urban environments where there’s nowhere to go but up, LoftCube provides a small but clever solution to your housing needs. Built by Werner Aisslinger, LoftCube also boasts an affordable pricetag at just $55,000, and can be easily transported to your next rooftop location via helicopter.

5. MICROCOMPACT HOME

This tiny residential cube packs a highly-functional punch, providing a double bed, bathroom, lobby, dining space for 4-5 people, and state-of-the-art entertainment technology, all for just 50,000 Euros. And size-wise, it measures in at a tiny 2.65 m cubed (roughly 77 sq ft), but incorporates everything a person needs in a home in its super compact design.

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


55 Comments

  1. suzipoohbear October 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    cool and clever…wonder if I can get rid of enough stuff to get one :-) sure hope so!

  2. Akram January 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I really enjoy reading your webblog. There is only one problem. I cannot find your rss feed button.

  3. cindy.ocheck December 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    These are great! Here is another one for next year’s list;
    Tiny Green Cabins – portable and sustainable http://tinygreencabins.com Makes a great fishing house or up-north cabin.

  4. ozzmonaut May 4, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I feel that these prefab micro-homes are a form of punishment for people who wish to be less destructive to their environment. I live in a town where home prices are extremely low. I have seen a 3 bdrm go for $7000. My gf and I went to view a 2-story farmhouse with an addition. 2750 sq.ft. for under $34,000. If you want to sell prefab houses, you can’t ask for more money just because it’s a tiny space. My home is 1060 sq. ft. plus a dirt floor basement and cost me $27,000 8 yrs ago when the housing market was still strong. If you seriously want a micro home, buy a 40 ft metal storage container for about $3000 and cut holes to install windows and doors. You can even put siding on it and build stairs to the roof where you can install rails and have a rooftop patio or garden.

  5. Dawna Malone January 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I would love to own some land around a large pond and set up a few of the tiny homes and rent them out . I would have a well stocked pond so the people could go fishing any time they wanted.

  6. Mr Planet December 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Listen..for all of you who think these are too expensive..Quality costs. Or you could live in a modern chemical poison home or trailer and die of chronic illness. What do you think that new car/home/trailer smell is? Fairy dust? Do some research. Not understanding the benefits is not the same as no benefits. Imperical statements without facts is hot air…get it.

  7. siempresuamor August 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    They are missing the point! Why would I pay $50K for a 150ft home when I could pay less for a 2000ft home. Until they lower the price to $1000 for 150ft there is no benefit to any of these small homes.

  8. Tabula rasta August 23, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Willard Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, is bulldozing his 3,000 sf ocean-side home near San Diego, CA. only to have an 11,000 sf mansion built in it’s stead.
    But he could save a big bundle of scratch while decreasing his environmental footprint, by purchasing a whole passel of those these itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny pre-fab homes.
    The itty-bitty abodes are too darned pricey for my blood but, Willard Romney, could keep those outfits in business.

  9. costea August 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Unfortunately, the Russian right. A large comfortable wooden house with an area of ​​130 square meters, can cost more than 20,000 USD.
    Americans over evaluate their homes. This led to the fact that they are not as rich as stated. Thus is born a crisis.

  10. Emile Marales May 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  11. Stan Scott March 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    What about Stillwater Dwelling’s miniONE 400sf and totally livable?

  12. Nicomachian September 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I hear every one about the price. There are two companies http://www.greenhearthomes.com and http://www.caribtradersinc.com in the caribbean who manufacture a 480 sq ft. prefab hardwood timber structure for 10000Us for the Kit which ships in a 20 ft container worldwide. This can be built with a spanner and clips and constucts in less than a week. This by far is one of the most affordable units which I have come across. 50000euros is quite a bit

  13. She August 3, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    To those that are worried about land costs- that is why most of these are on wheels. Not covered by building codes! If you have a friend with a house, have them check about \”storing\” an rv or building a shed (no foundation) you may not be covered under existing laws.

  14. BUCK RAYE May 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

    If Frank Lloyd Wright were alive today, he would be leading the “ORGANIC MINI MOVEMENT IN HOUSING”. My own house, a converted two car garage is 556 square feet with a full service kitchen, 6 X 11 feet and, I can clean the whole place in about an hour.

    I am afraid the 2000 plus square foot house is just not doable anymore, too much money, taxes, and a rapidly declining supply of affordable building sites.

    This is a great movement and I am glad to support it and be part of it.

    GO GREEN AND MAKE A SCENE !

  15. seevo November 6, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Ok, i like the idea of the loft cube however, it is the most impractical idea from where I’m thinking due to constraints of reality, for example, you have to own the building in order to place a loft on the roof top, you cant buy a roof top without buying the building. i wish it were feasible, because i would live in it. Maybe when i own my own skyscraper, i’ll order a loft cube to go on top so i can live at work.

  16. seevo November 6, 2008 at 6:25 am

    who\’s going to allow you to place a loft on their roof top unless you own the building yourself. If you own it then you don\’t need the loft.

  17. prefab house September 20, 2008 at 3:27 am

    prefab house takes hold as a viable, sustainable, contemporary building technique, one of the lessons we are learning is that bigger does not necessarily equal better. In fact, when is comes to simplifying your life and trying to tread lightly on the planet, we would argue that smaller is most certainly better. Some of our favorite prefabs here at Inhabitat have been those with the least amount of square footage. In an era of shoddily-built cookie-cutter McMansions, it’s nice to see a growing trend toward living small and efficiently, in a well built compact home. Read on for our Top 5 Tiniest Prefab Homes…

  18. vjfronk August 17, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    as the amount of people liveing under highway over passes increases ,the situation here in america becomes dyre. people need afordable houseing ..these micro homes should not be a new cash cow for builders.thats what we just went through and look were we are now.,i can build one of these tumbleweed homes for a fraction of the price there asking here..i may not have as good of qwality apliances but i will be surviving and it will look awsom. the problem is the local governments .they need to change building codes and zone property to acomadate these small homes. ime a single man ,i should not be punnished becaus i choose to be so.. i am forced to bye a large house built for a family becaus thats all thats available ,and i refuze to be inslaved by a house that i will never live long enough to own and one that will take every penny i own just to have a roof over my head. slavery has menny forms. DEBT slavery is the modern day slavery.

  19. atozglobal July 4, 2008 at 11:35 am

    We are finally building an off grid very micro – micro home as a test. If we find enough interest in the concept we will offer several larger sizes that we plan to build on a production line. There is an ongoing log at the blog
    thenextbillionaireswillbegreen.blogspot.com/ Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions. Prices start at under $10,000.00. We are following the building codes with the materials used etc.. There is also a survey to fill out that would be very helpful to us.
    Thanks,
    Walt

  20. bkastrinos May 23, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Hey, would like to get our micro homes added to the list. http://www.tortoiseshellhome.com starting at $13,900 for 120 square feet. Average home selling for 15 or 16 grand. We have one model that is totally connection free, and utilizes a steel frame. Our manufacturing facility is 100% powered by the sun!

  21. Chris Larson March 13, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Great list. Wouldn’t mind having a few of those homes. I posted your list on listdid.com

  22. Zeichman February 25, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    With all due respect to the above designs, the problem that I see is that each structure requires that the occupant conform to its design, including its flaws. Good architecture is just the opposite. The house plan hould be designed to meet the needs of the individual and their unique lifestyle. It is nearly impossible to mass produce a single floor plan that will work for everone. Almost everyone comments about how much they want to embrace the tiny home movement but not one of these plans will fit their needs exactly. I think the best approach is to design a community with each tiny home customized to suit the needs of the individual homeowner. I invite you to check out the work of Ross Chapin, Architect. I think it may change your perspective on the tiny home movement.

  23. William Kastrinos January 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Sharon and I have left the “large house construction industry”, and are manufacturing a cute 120 square foot rustic cabin. For those of you who are handy, we will be offering a kit that probably could be assembled in a weekend, starting at $6,500. Typical models, depending on options, will run in the $15,000 to $28,000 price range. We are in Southern California, drop us an email and chat. bkastrinos@gmail.com

  24. julie January 8, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    I love them would anyone in San Antonio be willing to build a couple of them.

  25. Gail January 5, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I agree with Kate, Bobby, and the others who say that the prices for these tiny houses are outrageous. Wow! Plus most of them are ugly, and they don’t have pitched roofs for those of us who live in snow country. And anyone who has seen a tornado will agree that they have to have a basement. Amen especially to that! (Where do I store my potatoes?)

  26. Kate December 6, 2007 at 11:46 am

    I love the “idea” of the tiny home, and would be perfectly comfortable in about 200 sq ft of living space……..but I think I would build my own……..the prices for these tiny homes is outrageous! They come on wheels……..why not buy a used RV (that would be recycling) for 1/4 or less of what they want for one of these tiny houses. To be energy efficient in colder climates, these tiny houses on wheels would have to have skirting and insulation around the bases (the same thing can be done to a camper or 5th wheel Rv)
    I think hay bale construction of a tiny house with salavaged materials would be WAY cheaper than purchasing one of these homes.
    I’m all about conservation, but not too hot for exploitation (which is what it appears to be by the manufacturers preying on eco-conscious yuppies)

  27. bradley November 17, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    i like the small houses. prices are kind of steep. as for affordable land, why not make them stackable and share the land?

  28. Dave November 17, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    I agree that the prices listed for these tiny homes are ridiculous. Any honest contractor in the Midwest could put these things together for MUCH less. After all, the design is not the least bit complex; they are basically upgraded yard barns. As someone who is familiar with construction (I remodel homes for wheelchair-accessibility), I have not been particularly impressed with the microhouses I’ve seen on the Internet, especially at the cost. In Indiana, you can buy used modular homes (around 1500 square feet) in fair condition for around $10,000. Or just have a garage built and add anything else you want…

  29. Bobby September 10, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Question: Why would I pay these OUTRAGEOUS prices for so few square feet when I can buy a 1000 square foot prefab, commonly called a “double-wide”, but those in the industry call them “modular homes”, for less than $40,000 U.S. dollars? And that price includes DELIVERY, SET UP, and installing a septic system, hooking up the water and power, and central heat and air! Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather build my own, (again).

  30. Tonia August 2, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Anyone know of any models/companies that are a little larger so they can accommodate a wheelchair plus special needs equipment? Thanks for any information listed.

  31. John biggs July 17, 2007 at 4:24 am

    I like the idea of the micro homes from a design perspective…some of them look really cool, but like some of the others have said… Land cost is a big problem…….and also the need for more density. Having a single house sit on a piece of land may not be the most sustainable approach to land use. On the other hand, from a design perspective, if these modular homes could just be put together, then we might end up with a land of Moshie Saftie (sp?) clusters. In Romania, the solution may not be micro-houses, but instead finding a solution for all of the existing concrete ex-communist blocks…….if the design effort for these micro-houses could be put into an effective solution for existing concrete-frame housing blocks, then there might be some interseting outcomes.

  32. Byron July 7, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    My solution( ok, divorce helped me come to conclusion) was to sell my 3300 sf bungalow here in Louisville(260k price range) and buy a $21,000 fixer upper over the river in New Albany. 700 sf cape cod with working class (mostly retired ) neighbors. I also have 700 sf in basment and approx 500 sf under the roof rafters. Since I’ll have my kids every other weekend,I’ll finish the upstairs as a beanbag, computer, library lounge space. Considering how small the house looks and I wanted to really scale back, this total of 1900 s.f. is almost palatial compared to my other experiments in tiny houses. Best part is it’s paid for and it lies in an already defined neighborhood in the city. With all the spare time i’ll have not trying to pay for everyone else’s lifestyle(sorry ladies) I’ll take long breaks up in the woods with my tinier home(my tent!).

  33. salowski July 5, 2007 at 9:01 am

    loftcube..what about the toilet?? McDonald across the street??

  34. Andrew June 28, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Here’s another example, the ‘MiniHome’ now on display on the Toronto waterfront. It’s designed as compact, mobile (i.e. doesn’t require a foundation), and energy self-sufficient. It would be perfect for getting a home on land without hyrdo service. The guy who designed it spent 10 years living in homes like this and refining the design.

    http://www.sustain.ca/wpblog/

  35. Rob June 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Reminds me of le Courbusier’s cabanon built back in the 50s:
    http://www.designboom.com/snapshots/milan06/le_cor.html

  36. Monica Larson June 25, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Looking at the website of the Lofthouse, I can’t help but think that it is primarily a concept design and not a pratical one. For example,
    Cool shower head, but you just know it is gonna spray all over the place when the water hits the leaves from that height.
    How does the stove vent? (Or does my fab space get covered with cooking grime in about 2 months?)
    Where do I hang my winter coat? Or my cocktail dresses for that matter? With a rooftop view of New York I’ll be giving lots of parties…

  37. Walt Barrett June 25, 2007 at 7:59 am

    I have noticed that several people have commented about the cost of the micro homes, and I would like to comment that as an experiment we have been gathering used and surplus materials for free. We find that in our area there are literally container loads of practically new sheets of plywood and many other types of construction materials going to the landfills on a daily basis. Also, there are many people and contractors trying to get rid of used tempered glass sliding doors and windows that will go to the landfills. My calculations indicate that a
    16′ long X 8′ high x 10′ wide exterior shell can be built for practically zero dollars using these recycled materials. The worst-case scenario is that you might have to spend $300.00 for additional materials to finish a shell. The recycled sliding glass doors will save a fortune in siding etc. That leaves a great deal of money for someone to do a custom interior design for his or her own particular requirements.
    Another thing that bothers me about the published costs of these tiny homes is that you can purchase a deluxe larger size aluminum camping trailer for two thirds ($37,000.00) or less of the published cost of many of these homes at $50,000.00 or higher. There is even one camping trailer advertised in Germany for only $6000.00 and two people can easily live in it. What makes a micro home cost, in this case nearly ten times the cost of a metal camping trailer that is even larger? Personally, I think a little more research into the costs is needed by the consumers. These tiny homes can be massed produced on a low dollar basis, and a business can still make a fair profit doing it.
    We also need more research into newer materials that have hit the market recently. There is a honeycomb material that is currently being used in the construction of truck cargo compartment bodies. It will give you an exterior and interior wall all in one unit. The only sacrifice is that the wiring would have to be exterior mounted on the walls and ceilings. There are several attractive products for that purpose on the market now. Low voltage LED lighting can also be used for a great savings in power.
    Of course, the problem of land costs remains the greatest problem in our area. We have to get a handle on that. I believe that eventually the powers that be will have to make changes in how the available space in neighborhoods will be used to relieve the pressure in the housing market.
    http://thenextbillionaireswillbegreen.blogspot.com/

  38. Matt Hawthorn June 24, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Check out the Festival of Extreme Building in Birmingham, UK. I’m a commissioned artist there.
    I stayed in the MIcro Compact House last night, it was an interesting experience a little disorientating because it was in the middle of the city, but the space is set up very well making dual use of every cube inch.
    50,000euros is a bit of a bargain, I haven;t got it though.
    Have look at http://www.festival-xtremebuilding.org.uk
    cheers Matt

  39. Nicholas DL June 24, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Only socialist libs would consider these Ikea privies the ultimate living; I for one enjoy my life in a 4,700 sq ft home.

  40. Sandy June 24, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    In my part of the world, our answer to wee housing is the RV or recreational vehicle which can be bought used much cheaper than $10.000 or five thousand Euros and can be driven to a new location as needed as most people I know can’t afford the typical American home. These little homes are far too rich for my budget!

  41. Fergus June 24, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Loftcube transported by helicopter? For all your roof-hopping needs I think :)

  42. Dan June 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Nice idea, but the designs are not ideal for many parts of the world. Perhaps the addition of a seasonally adjustable canopy would help? They need to integrate more completely into the surrounding environment and it’s energy fluxes. They look fine in isolation, but how well would they work in a high population density scenario where there are additional problems such as privacy and noise pollution?

  43. Pavel Upilev June 23, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    It’s house like prison’s room in my country (Russia), but inside life 20 people with beds on the floor, toilet, bath etc. In my country this toilet will be cost approximately 200 us dollar, my be less, like little turkish shop for sale gaz woter. I don’t undestand, house materials cost 200 usd+LCD TV 1000 usd+2 bed 200 usd+microvawe 30 usd+kettle 5 usd+toilet&bath 100 usd = 1650 usd (approximateli)=1000 euro. 50 000 euro – 1000 euro = good cost. And in any non Europen country this house without metallic door and metallic window gate will be destroyd drunker peoples after 30 min witout guard security. Really :)

  44. irelynn June 23, 2007 at 9:51 am

    awesome….wish they were available in Canada…or are they?

  45. Mazlin Ghazali June 23, 2007 at 9:18 am

    These houses are just fabulous. I’m an architect in Malaysia with a particular interest in quality affordable homes, and this article and the designs are inspirational.

  46. Cris Dias June 23, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I think this type of housing is the future, but not for cities, for rural deserted areas. Cheap, comfortable, green housing is a very good way to promote eco-tourism in some protected areas with minimal environmental impact.

  47. Walt Barrett June 23, 2007 at 7:36 am

    I’m for these tiny homes100%, and would put up an assembly shop to build them in a heartbeat. My problem here in Rhode Island is twofold.
    1. Land prices and availability are both out of sight in RI. People should be allowed to build a second micro home on their property to be used as a rental unit. We have a severe shortage of reasonably priced rental units here. We are also restricted to using giant building lot sizes.
    2. The zoning laws would have to be amended. Building officials here do not take too kindly to technology, or major style changes.
    I believe that eventually the local and Federal governments (The number one enemy of small business) will have to make some responsible moves to enable the construction of these great little homes. I have considered starting an operation in the South Western USA, but that is an inconvenient answer as the rest of our business is centered here on the East Coast. We are still looking hard at the entire industry, and how we could fit in. Our designs include a totally off the grid model as we currently sell solar, wind, and hydro products.
    Another thought would be to build a portable prefab assembly shop that could be temporarily erected on a site where a large number of these units were going to be erected. There are many such pipe and fabric buildings on the market.
    Interestingly enough, I was brought up in a 700 sq ft home. Having been born in 1933 in the middle of a very bad depression. Our small home was the answer to our surviving the depression without freezing to death, and the vegetable garden didn’t hurt either.
    I currently live in a super insulated home and in the hot summer it stay 20 degrees F cooler that the outside ambient with no air-conditioning in the home. The windows are also thermo pane double-glazed.
    As you can see, we are giving the micro home business some serious thought.
    Walt Barrett
    President
    http://www.chinadepot.com
    The next billionaires will be green!

  48. Cosmin Chiru June 23, 2007 at 5:55 am

    They look pretty nice.

  49. donald June 23, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Wow, nice houses. Wish i could afford one. I’m stuck building a website to ask for donations so i could buy a house.

  50. Bondwalker June 23, 2007 at 3:34 am

    Brilliant!

  51. djfred June 22, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Oops, that was according to the LoftCube website.

  52. djfred June 22, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    According to the website US pricing is $111,000 for the LC39, $155,000 for the LC55, $136,000 & $180,000 for the LC39 & LC55 with bathroom & kitchen. Too bad. If it was really $55,000 for any of them, I’d be placing my order. As it stands now, I feel a weeHouse in my future. Thanks for the post, Emily. I don’t know why but I’m fascinated by small and modular.
    Craig -thanks for the link. It looks interesting. Last I heard of the Glassic Flat, it still wasn’t being manufactured and Breckenridge was considering swapping the cedar siding for vinyl. Ugh.

  53. Craig June 22, 2007 at 8:52 am

    The manufacturers of the MiniHome, Northlander Industries, also make a contemporary park model trailer, a la Christopher Deam’s/Breckenridge’s Glassic Flat. Check out the Urbana @ http://www.northlanderindustries.com/

    Unfortunately the PDF available at that site is the only coverage I’ve seen of it even though it looks like it’s a fine competitor to the Glassic Flat. I have no idea, though, if it would be legal for import into the US since it’s larger than US park model trailers.

  54. Eric June 22, 2007 at 8:29 am

    This is a timely post given the announcement of the 4000sqft monster model home this week by Living Homes and Wired magazine!

  55. Jac June 22, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Tiny Tumbleweed House, Sustain Mini Home and Microcompact Home are my favourites. The first is just the country cottage straight out of fairytales, The second truly green. The last for its modern, minimalist take. Now if only i can buy one each as holiday homes…in Marseille, Scotland and San Francisco…*dreams on*

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home