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Small is Beautiful


By: Lise Michaud

It might not always apply, I agree. But it’s a concept that is gaining in popularity, at least in the housing sector. Our American neighbours, well known for having the « think big » mentality well integrated in their culture are, paradoxically, behind the invention of the smallest house on the planet. Mr. Jay Shafer, the founding father of the concept, has build his first small house 12 years ago and he still lives in one of his creation today.

His idea has gone a long way since. His company now trains people to build their own small house trough a 2 days training session. He also wrote a book and offers 23 models of small houses, ranging from 65 square feet to 172 sq ft.   You read well, those are the actual size of his plans! Mr. Shafer also has an interest for Montreal, where he presented a training session on the 25th and 26th of August. If you want to learn more, I suggest you take a look at his website:

If you give a closer look into it, there is a tendency to reduce the size of urban condominiums too. These new condos, starting at about 330 sq ft, are designed to optimize the use of every inch. Everything being equal, these condos would seem gigantic compared to the smallest house in the world! Clients of this type of condos, young professionals, adults living by themselves or using the condo as a pied-à-terre, see a lot of benefits: a way of enjoying the city without having to deal with the maintenance, access to propriety at a reasonable price, proximity from work and from cultural activities, and finally the sense of freedom associated with the feeling that accumulating objects is less important than working on one’s quality of life.

But is it realistic to « think big » in such a small space? Is it possible to feel comfortable in this kind of narrow living environment? Stay tuned for my impressions in an upcoming post.

Talk soon,


Note: photo shows Lusby – 117 sq. ft plan from

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