What Small Homes Can Teach You About Living With Less

It’s spring, so it’s also spring cleaning season, and Step 1 is getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff that accumulates in your home. How does it manage to pile up? Didn’t you just do this last year??!! Maybe you should just throw it all away—for good.

Portable Home ÁPH80, exterior night view. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Ábaton Arquitectura. Photograph © Juan Baraja. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

In fact, that’s what a lot of people are doing now (OK, maybe not all of it). You’ve probably heard about the trend toward living with less—fewer possessions, less space—whether it’s zero-waste living or the tiny house movement.

There are two factors driving people toward small homes today: the economy and the environment, observes Francesc Zamora, author of “150 Best Mini Interior Ideas.” The coffee-table book, published in February, profiles small homes around the world.

Buy now: 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora (Click for the link to buy this book)

“They are generally more affordable, and for home buyers that means smaller mortgages. They are cheaper to maintain as well,” Zamora said in an interview. In addition, he said, “building and maintaining large houses has an impact on the environment. A large house takes more building resources and requires more maintenance than a smaller house. People are willing to go smaller to simplify their lives.”

Zamora said he was inspired by the creative storage solutions that he discovered while researching the book.

“I’m constantly looking for interesting storage solutions,” he said. “I think finding ways to store things is the biggest challenge people deal with, especially city dwellers. The book is chock-full of ideas, but the tricky part is choosing the one that works best for your home, that conforms to your style and to your needs.”

If you’re squeezed into tight quarters or looking to downsize, here are some of Zamora’s top tips.

1. Prefer an open plan

Apartment 1001. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Keiji Ashizawa Design. Photograph © Takumi Ota. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

When space is limited, you don’t want to carve it up. An open view with clean lines makes a space seem larger.

2. Make the most of natural light

Portable Home ÁPH80, interior. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Ábaton Arquitectura. Photograph © Juan Baraja. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

Abundant natural light makes your home feel larger, so capture as much of it as you can. Don’t have floor-to-ceiling windows? “Mirrors expand and reflect light,” Zamora writes. “You can transform a small room into a larger and brighter space by using illusion wisely.”

3. Use a minimalist color palette

Apartment in Wroclaw. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect 3XA. Photograph © S.Zajaczkowski. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

You want to avoid excess in a small space—too much stuff, too many frills, too many colors. Stick to one or two similar shades, max, preferably paler ones that help maintain a light feel.

4. Built-in furniture is key

Architect’s Loft. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect PorterFanna Architecture. Photograph © L.J. Porter. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

“Built-in furniture is perhaps the most efficient furnishing solution for spaces of limited dimensions: it frees up valuable floor area, makes the space less cramped and unifies the décor,” Zamora says.

5. Make your furniture work double duty

Apartment in Arad. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Cristina Bordoiu. Photograph © Sorin Popa. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

In a small space, everything has to earn its keep. “Furniture can be an effective room divider,” Zamora says. “It is an excellent solution for studio apartments where different functions share the same space.”

6. Obsess over your storage

AP 1211. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Alan Chu. Photograph © Djan Chu. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

“Think about how you are going to use your cabinets so you can choose the right type of hardware,” Zamora says. “Look into different door hinges and drawer hardware.” Custom doesn’t have to be pricey, either. “Design your own modular system with crates of different sizes to bring an industrial touch to your home.”

As Zamora’s book shows, living in a small space doesn’t have to feel cramped and inconvenient. A thoughtful approach to simplifying your lifestyle can make a big difference. But still, keep a watchful eye on your stuff—it can pile up without your noticing. Seriously, how does it do that?

Published by Cicely Wedgeworth on realtor.com.

How to Sell a Tiny House

While home buyers have sought large one- and two-story traditional homes for years, a new trend is emerging on the market: tiny houses.



These houses, sometimes as small as 500 square feet, have developed a following, but it takes more than minimal space to catch a buyer’s eye.

To sell a small home, you’ll need to make the most of the square footage.

Space-Saving Features Are Key

While many home buyers are looking to downsize into smaller homes, they don’t want to downsize their lifestyle. Buyers are attracted to tiny houses that contain space-saving features—allowing the homeowner to store more than one would think.

To make your own small house appealing to buyers, consider installing space-savers or highlighting what you already have:

  • Attached fold-out furniture: A kitchen table that folds flat against a wall frees up floor space.
  • Built-in bookshelves: These can hold more than just books, giving buyers more storage options.
  • Hanging pot racks: Making use of ceiling space helps add kitchen storage.

Utilize Outdoor Space

Emphasizing the outdoor space is an excellent way to make a tiny house feel spacious.

To maximize your yard space, remove overgrown or large plants and opt for minimal landscaping like ornamental grasses, day lilies or English lavender to make the yard appear larger.

For outdoor furniture, replace large, umbrella-covered dining tables with smaller bistro sets—or keep the space open.

Highlight Energy-Saving Perks

One of the biggest draws to tiny houses is tiny utility bills. If your home already has energy-efficient features, ask your listing agent to include the details and to point them out to potential buyers during the walk-through.

If your home doesn’t have energy-saving perks, consider making small upgrades to appeal to more buyers. For example, replacing the weather stripping is quick and inexpensive, and it cuts down on utility costs.

For Tiny House Staging, Keep It Simple

Having a clean, uncluttered home during an open house is important for any seller, but it is absolutely essential for small-home sellers. Start by removing any personal items like photo frames, knickknacks and children’s art. Then you can declutter every room and organize closets, drawers and bookshelves.

Before you open house, stage your newly organized rooms using a minimalist theme. Simple décor typically makes small spaces appear larger.

For example, a sofa with four throw pillows and a blanket may overwhelm a small living space. Instead, cut it down to two throw pillows and tuck the blanket in the closet.

This article was originally published by  on realtor.com. See it here.

10 Incredible Homes on Wheels

Do you dream about simplifying your life by downsizing to a house on wheels? You’re not alone. Mobile living is gaining popularity, attracting everyone from young couples trying to save money to adventure-seeking retirees. Some people drive a refurbished bus or tow a tiny house because it reduces their cost of living, letting them live mortgage-free. Others choose the lifestyle for its promise of adventure — they can enjoy the freedom and joys of cross-country travel without giving up the comforts of home. Whether you dream of driving or pulling your own home, you’ll find inspiration in these 10 residences on wheels.

Cozy school bus

© tinyhouselistings.com

© tinyhouselistings.com

Miss your school days? Try living in this cozy converted yellow school bus equipped with a wood stove and a full kitchen. Light oak flooring, shelves, a desk, and a tongue-and-groove ceiling add warmth and charm to the homey space. Best of all, when you tire of the view, you can simply drive away.

Steampunk Victorian-style bus

© steampunkworkshop.com

© steampunkworkshop.com

If you’re a fan of steampunk, this bus conversion incorporating reclaimed wood and recycled fittings is just the ticket. While the exterior is painted dark green, inside a combination of pale green paint and oak trim highlights the Victorian fittings, including a New York Angle Lamp — a working kerosene wick lamp.

Big green double-decker bus

© dailymail-co-uk.com

© dailymail-co-uk.com

Do you think a wheeled home means tiny living quarters? Not so. This renovated double-decker bus includes two full bedrooms, ample living room seating, and a full kitchen. It took the owner six months to outfit the bus, which has 600,000 miles on it.

House in a truck

© xnet.com

© xnet.com

From the outside, this looks like a large, unremarkable truck. You would never guess that it is actually an awesome house on wheels that includes all the comforts of home, as well as a ceiling fan, warm wood interior, and solar panels.

Rustic pull-along house

© tinyhouseblog.com

© tinyhouseblog.com

Built with salvaged material on an 8 feet by 18 feet car-hauler trailer, this unique solar-powered home on wheels has a rustic feel. The structure is taller than most wheeled homes, and its many windows, white walls, and reclaimed wainscoting keep the interior warm and bright. Read more about the construction of Colin’s Coastal Cabin.

Tiny hotel on wheels

© tinyhousehotel.com

© tinyhousehotel.com

If you want to try out life in a house on wheels, check into the Caravan, a tiny house hotel in Portland, Oregon. The quaint compound consists of four wheeled homes sized from 100 to 200 square feet. Each self-contained unit includes sleeping areas, a kitchen, bath, and hot running water.

Tiny beach house

© signatourtinyhouses.com

© signatourtinyhouses.com

One great thing about houses on wheels is that you can live almost anywhere you can park! Signatour Tiny Houses built this wheeled beach home for a couple who park it on St. George Island, Florida. Just 8 feet by 24 feet, this lovely little home includes a sleeping loft and air conditioning.

Awesome RV makeover

© tinyhousetalk.com

© tinyhousetalk.com

A houses on wheels slideshow wouldn’t be complete without an actual camper — but oh, what a camper it is! This beat-up old trailer was transformed into a delightful upcycled home, featuring a clear ceiling for maximum light. Ikea shelving, hooks, and racks keep the small-space interior clutter-free.

Modern-day Gypsy caravan

© jimtolpin.com

© jimtolpin.com

Master woodworker Jim Tolpin creates caravans that can be pulled behind a vehicle for modern-day gypsy wannabes. A stained-glass door and intricately detailed wooden shutters give this home on wheels a romantic sense. The chimney vents a tiny wood stove that warms the cozy interior.

Totally modern wheeled house

© tinyhouselistings.com

© tinyhouselistings.com

If you prefer a modern, minimalist-style portable home, check out this corrugated tin-and-wood example. At 136 square feet and 4,800 pounds, it includes one sleeping loft bedroom and one bathroom. An on-demand propane unit provides hot water.

This article was originally published by Sarita Harbour of BobVila.com on MSN Real Estate. To see the original article, click here.  

Glass House on Boulders in Colorado

Conventional wisdom says that homes are generally better served when they are built on flat land, away from jutting rock formations – even more so when said home is made of glass.

From realtor.com

However, conventional wisdom was shown the door in Boulder, Colo., where a contemporary glass box was built into the rocky landscape.

from realtor.com

The shimmering design you see before your eyes is not a mirage, but a product of Thomas Phifer. We’ve been big fans of the New York-based architect ever since his modern glass-and-steel compound known as the “Taghkanic House“ popped up on the radar last year. Much like that Hudson Valley contemporary, Phifer’s latest offering beautifully blends a striking modern construct into its natural surroundings, in this particular case the jutting rock face of a Boulder hillside.

from realtor.com

As one can imagine, light-filled interiors take center stage within the 2008 build and are accentuated by 11-foot ceilings, translucent etched-glass walls and a massive, retractable skylight on the top floor.

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

The 5,026-square-foot home also provides an energy efficient state of living with geothermal heating and cooling, radiant-heat floors and passive solar.

from realtor.com

Beyond its sunlit sitting areas and a vantage point that offers 360-degree views of mountainscapes, Denver and points beyond, the architectural trophy manages to burrow its way into our attention a bit further with a subterranean garage. Offering two bedrooms and three bathrooms, the glass house in Boulder currently lists for $4.25 million.

from realtor.com

Jane Stebbins of Good Acre Properties has the listing.

This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on Realtor.com. To see more photos and the article source, click here.

Teepee Tiny Home in Cascade, Idaho

Tiny homes come in all sorts of small shapes and diminutive sizes, but few are as to-the-point as this teepee in Cascade, Idaho.

from realtor.com

The living quarters at this quaint $110,000 offering are tight – two bedrooms, a half bath, a kitchen and a wood stove are crammed inside a cozy cabin of 826 square feet and a bath house is found outside.

from realtor.com

from realtor.com

Then again, when your life steers you to a teepee out in the middle of nowhere, it’s clearly less about the accommodations and more about the simpler things in life: clean air, a bubbling brook and a wood deck for rocking back and forth whilst taking in those pure mountain views.

from realtor.com

Rick Carr of Donnelly Idaho Realty is the agent for the little listing.

This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.

Minimalist Kitchen Design: Clean Look and Lines

“Less is more.” That’s the mantra of minimalists, who are drawn to styles and designs that use the fewest elements to create maximum effect.

Slick and uncluttered countertops and cabinetry create a minimalist look in this kitchen by RI Kitchen & Bath.

Clean lines and clear colors can lend a modern, sophisticated look to bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms — and even kitchens.

Kitchens? Yes, but if you’re like most homeowners, you’re going to have to adjust your thinking to get there.

Whether you need to chop, mix, steam, warm, broil, roast, blend, core, toast, slice, dehydrate, tenderize or even butter your food — there’s a gadget for that. Architect and author Sarah Susanka fears this obsession with small appliances and assorted doohickeys is more about cluttering countertops than it is about simplifying food preparation. Even worse, she says, is the fact that homeowners often believe they need gargantuan kitchens to accommodate all their culinary contraptions.

What’s the solution? Minimize.

Wide open spaces on countertops make for easy prep and cleanup in this kitchen by Hatfield Builders.

“People may have lots and lots of cookie sheets, but they really only use two,” she told the Green Living Journal. “Our mothers and grandmothers cleared out clutter. (Now), we keep bringing stuff in, but we forget we’ve got to also take stuff out.”

NW Home Designers incorporated this clever hiding spot for utensils into this kitchen’s design.

Scores of minimalism-related blogs espouse the virtues of living without a microwave oven and the need for one good chef’s knife rather than a set of seven.

For those who like the idea of clean-and-clutter-free but who may still want to reheat leftovers, we offer these first steps toward creating a kitchen that’s less encumbered:

  • Start with counters and then work your way through your kitchen, cabinet by cabinet and drawer by drawer. Ask yourself: Do I really use this item? If I use it less than once a month, is it really worth the storage space it’s taking up? If you have duplicates of an item (two sets of measuring cups, for example), do you really need them? Question every canister, every pot and every utensil. Give away items you’re sure you don’t want. If you’re not certain you can live without your stock pot, put it in a box in the basement or garage; if you don’t touch it in six months, chances are you don’t need it.
  • Just because you spent a small fortune on a small appliance doesn’t mean you must keep it. If you haven’t used your hot dog warmer, bread maker or milkshake machine in a year, it’s time to let go. If you wanted a milkshake, could you make one with your blender? Or even some old-fashioned stirring? Sell or donate the single-purpose appliances you’re not using and free up valuable kitchen real estate.
  • Even the most minimalistic of kitchens must be functional. Hide essentials behind cabinet doors to streamline the look.
  • Consider appliances with the clean lines of minimalist design. Plenty of sleek but simple kitchen suites are designed with a nod to the iconic age of American design. You might also look for major appliances that are true multi-taskers. For example, all-in-one ovens offer convection heating, can microwave and steam, and retail for about $1,000.
  • Avoid the cold and uninhabited look that can accompany extreme minimalist design by adding a splash of non-fussy color to your kitchen. Remember, though, that minimalist design generally relies on the use of a single color to unify a space.

This article was originally published by Mary Boone on Zillow Blog. See it here