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Micro-homes: Why bigger isn’t always better

The “tiny house” movement has been sweeping the nation–with numerous television shows about the concept, it’s hard to not hear about it; these tiny homes have been getting tons of media coverage lately. But maybe it’s time to start seriously considering the idea.

More and more aspiring home owners are being attracted to the idea of owning a home, and I mean really owning a home–people are saying enough to ridiculous, over-looming mortgage payments and reevaluating how much space and stuff they really need to be happy. Engineer Minoru Ota is one of these people. He’s living in his dream home in Tokyo, which just so happens to be 280 square feet–approximately the size of two parking spaces.

Approximately 13 million people live in Tokyo, though its size is just over 2,000 square kilometres. With as sprawling and booming as the city is, finding a place to live proves to be a difficult task, especially if you’re on a budget. This is where micro-homes come in.

“It is not that I wanted to make a small house from the beginning,” says Ota. “I wanted to live in the city center and our budget was limited. So it ended up as this small house.

But there are lots of tricks… So I do not feel the space is so limited in living here.”

Anyone who watches Tiny House Hunters or Tiny House Nation knows that, when living in a tiny home, innovation and creativity is key; everything has to serve dual purposes for the space to be fully functional.

Ota’s 26-square-meter home features bare concrete floors with gaps on each side, allowing natural light from the sky window to reach all three floors. A completely open and spacious bathroom, featuring a simple curtain for privacy, is located next to the entrance. While there isn’t room for a couch in the main living space–which also doubles as a kitchen and dining room–Ota and his wife are minimalists.

“After living here, I do not need a big house,” says Ota. “I have everything I need… What would I do in a big house? I cannot imagine.”

This year, the price of land in Tokyo increased by 5.8% compared to last year–a square foot costing an average of $1,000. This accompanied by recent raised construction prices and economic stagnation, it’s no wonder that aspiring home owners are turning to smaller alternatives in order to own a home.

Sanyon Yamagishi is currently building a 322-square-foot home with her husband near the centre of Tokyo. Her architect, Denso Sugiura, states that he’s designed 137 micro-homes in the past 20 years.

With numerous builders specializing in tiny homes, the decision to live big by going small is becoming more and more feasible and realistic, and it’s definitely a good first step to get you onto the property ladder.

About Alyssa Knoop

Alyssa Knoop
Alyssa is a Communications student from Edmonton, Alberta. Her biggest passions are reading, writing, music, and oxford commas.