The Great Compression

In Auckland, New Zealand, architect Michael O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Schollum braved a miniscule budget, withering looks from friends, and nasty nail-gun injuries to design and build their perfectly proportioned family home.

One of the most effective ways to make a small home feel larger is to live in an even smaller one first—something architect Michael O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Schollum experienced firsthand. The house O’Sullivan designed and built for himself, Schollum, and their three young children in Auckland, New Zealand, has just two bedrooms and is a modest 1,200 square feet. This, however, is positively luxurious compared to their previous accommodations, a 450-square-foot former classroom they purchased, moved onto their property, and lived in for almost two years while their new home was built beside it.

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