Since 1970, the average size of the American home has grown by 50% -- a trend exemplified by the so-called "McMansions" seen sprouting up in suburbs across the country.The more money people made, the bigger their houses grew, until this trend even spawned a counter-trend, in the form of Sarah Susanka's 1998 book on living smaller called "The Not So Big House."With today's slowing economy and more eco-sensitive climate, that counter trend appears to be gaining stream.Some of the most innovative, most creative, most impressive modern homes aren't just small, they're downright tiny, often packing bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and living areas into a few hundred square feet…or even less.
In Japan, where small spaces have always been the norm, architect Satoshi Kurosaki and his Apollo Architects firm has has designed and built close to 20 small homes in the past eight years.Nina Tolstrup of London's Studiomama earned raves for a 2-bedroom, 388 sq. foot beach house on stilts. Baumraum, a German firm, now specializes in steel, geometrically-shaped tree houses they have constructed in Italy, Brazil, Hungary, Austria and even the United States.Proving that even in America, perhaps the McMansion's time has finally passed, and the era of the tiny house has begun.