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How to Design the World’s Most Efficient Tiny Home

The City Cottage steals design elements from ships, making it one of the most efficient cabins we've ever seen.

Compact home in Helsinki / Finland photo by Andreas Meichsner

When you only have 150 square feet to work with, you better understand efficient design. 

So before breaking ground on your next dream home, take a few cues from the architects who created this Finnish cottage. In Finland, officials include spaces for urban parks in their city plans. The result? A family can build a cottage within city limits, close enough to their main home to pick up forgotten necessities.

Courtesy of Andreas Meichsner

Just about a mile from the family house, this 150-square-foot cottage (which sleeps a family of four!), at least feels like it’s left the city behind. Located down a secluded path, the rectangular retreat is sheltered in the woods with a sea view. 

Courtesy of Andreas Meichsner

The architect stole design elements from ships to make this home as efficient as possible. The kitchen does double duty as a home- and work-station, and it’s naturally lit with a wall full of windows. One step up, the living area has U-shaped sofas that rest over concealed storage units and sleep three. An open loft, accessed by a rope ladder, serves as another tiny bedroom. Finally, there are hidden storage compartments over the windows and the large glass door.

Courtesy of Andreas Meichsner

The cottage, designed for year-round use, is small enough to be powered solely by solar panels. A central cast-iron, wood burning stove heats the home. Plus, building costs were relatively low (about $42,000 including all interior furnishings) thanks to the cabin's small size and smart design.

In fact, you can buy this cottage—or one like it—for about $18,500, disassembled and without windows or furniture. It's an almost perfect example of an environmentally-friendly getaway that won't break the bank.

Courtesy of Andreas Meichsner

Filed To: Design and Tech