Modern Homes That Are 500 Square Feet or Less

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From retreats to big city dwellings, we can't get enough small space design at Dwell.

Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, and Glass Siding Material. Architects: Kirsten Murray, Tom Kundig Photo  of Modern Homes That Are 500 Square Feet or LessView Photos

Architect Tom Kundig’s assignment was simple enough: Build a tiny, Thoreau-like getaway for an Atlanta-based writer who owned ten acres on San Juan Island in Puget Sound. “The idea was not to clutter anybody’s thinking, especially a writer’s,” he said. So he designed a 500-square-foot retreat that’s both womblike and open to its surroundings.

Modern home with Staircase and Wood Tread. Of the seven steps in Michael Pozner’s not-quite-500-square-foot aerie in Greenwich Village, five contain drawers. His small set of table and chairs is from CB2. Photo  of Modern Homes That Are 500 Square Feet or LessView Photos

As head of retail development and legal counsel leasing for American Apparel, Michael Pozner spends a lot of time sorting out the details when a new venue is chosen for the brand’s purposes. But, he admits, “I’m not a big architectural design guy.” So when he decided to reinvent the diminutive Manhattan studio in which he lives and works, Pozner tapped Darrick Borowski of Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture with whom he’d collaborated on multiple American Apparel stores.

Of the seven steps in Michael Pozner’s not-quite-500-square-foot aerie in Greenwich Village, five contain drawers. His small set of table and chairs is from CB2. White oak paneling imbues uniformity and warmth into the hallway, kitchen, and living spaces.

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Cabin Building Type, and Prefab Building Type. In September 2009, Bill and Daniel Yudchitz bought a 2.78-acre lot that had water access to Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay. Many of the properties they looked at required a larger minimum building footprint than they desired; their cabin needed to be small to reduce its environmental impact.

 Photo  of Modern Homes That Are 500 Square Feet or LessView Photos

In September 2009, Bill and Daniel Yudchitz bought a 2.78-acre lot that had water access to Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay. Many of the properties they looked at required a larger minimum building footprint than they desired; their cabin needed to be small to reduce its environmental impact.

Inspired by Swiss Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor, the Yudchitzes designed and crafted an exquisitely precise interior within the 325 square-foot dwelling. As they report in this Dwell article, “It cost at least $100,000 to build because the materials were crafted to within .002 inches, so it’s expensive for what it is."

Modern home with Living Room, Sofa, Coffee Tables, Medium Hardwood Floor, Chair, Floor Lighting, Storage, and Rug Floor. A parallelogram-shaped window pane, rescued from an architectural salvage yard, was outfitted with steel edges and casters, and repurposed as a coffee table. Photo by Alan Gastelum. Photo  of Modern Homes That Are 500 Square Feet or LessView Photos

A gut renovation transformed this tiny 400 square foot Manhattan apartment; a parallelogram-shaped window pane, rescued from an architectural salvage yard, was outfitted with steel edges and casters, and repurposed as a coffee table. Photo by Alan Gastelum.

At the opposite end of the studio, Framework Architecture created a partially enclosed sleeping nook that is spacious enough to fit a full-size bed. Photo  of Modern Homes That Are 500 Square Feet or Less modern homeView Photos

A partially enclosed sleeping nook, spacious enough to fit a full-size bed, defines this clever 450-square-foot studio in Brooklyn.