02:47 - Source: CNN Business
This tiny home was designed by a world-renowned architect

The demand for living small is getting bigger.

More than half of Americans would consider living in a home that’s less than 600 square feet, according to a survey done by the National Association of Home Builders. And among Millennials, interest increases to 63%.

Executive Summary

  • Tiny homes need to combine form, function and freedom to succeed.
  • Consumer financing and zoning regulations are holding the industry back.
  • Design enhancements and evolutions in financing and zoning will bring a wider adoption of tiny.

  • “Tiny is inevitable,” says Soren Rose, founder of Klein, which in 2017 began seeking out renowned architects to design tiny prefab homes.

    While tiny homes are attractive and novel, there are some design and logistical challenges. Rose says that it will take the combination of form, function and freedom for tiny to take off on a wider scale.

    “You see these amazing tiny houses in magazines and on television programs, but you can’t really buy them,” says Rose. “Architects did it for themselves to prove how they can make a gem. So we thought: Why don’t we work with the world’s best architects on this? And make them available to everyone.”

    The Cornelia, built by New Frontier Tiny Homes.
    StudioBuell Photography
    The Cornelia, built by New Frontier Tiny Homes.

    David Latimer, a tiny home designer and owner of New Frontier Tiny Homes in Nashville, says the challenges to wider acceptance of tiny homes is also procedural. Consumer financing and zoning regulations are holding the industry back, he says. “Government and financing regulation changes move slower than molasses running up hill in Antarctica.”

    But with some design enhancements and evolutions in financing and zoning, the tipping point to a wider acceptance of tiny living may be coming.

    Architect designed

    The first architect that Klein asked to design a tiny house that could be mass-produced was Denmark’s Bjarke Ingels. The A45 house he and his firm, Bjarke Ingels Group, designed is an enhanced A-frame style in a prismatic shape with a square footprint. If you imagine taking a cube and pushing two opposite corners down to the ground, that is the shape of the house. The shape gives the interior a more grandiose feel, with full 16-foot height on both sides of the structure.

    The 150-square-foot home is a low-impact, off-the-grid structure made of wood, glass and canvas that can be carried into remote areas and constructed by hand.

    “You can see it as a surf cottage on Montauk or tucked up in the mountains,” says Rose.

    Klein is taking pre-orders for the home now, with anticipated delivery in the first quarter of 2019. The company’s goal is to keep it under $100,000 for the full structure including interior finishes. (Permitting and clearing of the land are extra.)

    But this house is only the first of six homes, each designed by a different architect and exploring a full circle of tiny home concepts.

    One will be the biggest home that can be hauled by a semi-truck. Another will be a mobile tiny house. The company is even exploring a tiny home that can be taken down and put up again.

    The next home Klein will introduce will be modular.