Hyper-efficient living space.
July 5, 2004 5:28 AM   Subscribe

347 square feet? Hyper-efficient living space.
posted by yoga (59 comments total)
Ahhhh the refreshing smell of marketing !

A new , hip, intelligent way of living. Approved by your hamster, recommended by Japaneses.
posted by elpapacito at 5:54 AM on July 5, 2004

Reminds me of The Glass House by Philip Johnson; the layout is similar (though still more compact, obviously). It looks nice, but unless the price is proportionate to the living area, it looks like a way for a developer to squeeze more profit from the same lot.

Also, was anyone else incredibly annoyed by the animation time it took to do the initial startup?
posted by elvolio at 5:56 AM on July 5, 2004

Hmmm. It was interesting that the picture of the bathroom shows only a closeup of the sink. At least I think that's the sink.
posted by JanetLand at 6:05 AM on July 5, 2004

Very similar to what are known as officetels (????) in Seoul. Some are incredibly well designed, although many are bogstard cookie cutter human pens, and exactly what they are also unromantically referred to as : onerooms.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:15 AM on July 5, 2004

(As usual, the Korean in brackets worked in preview. Forgot about that gotcha.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:16 AM on July 5, 2004

Completely-flash-driven sites drive me crazy. I do not spend any time on them. A little flash here and there, ok. All flash? NO! Give me the option of HTML and text.
posted by gen at 6:33 AM on July 5, 2004

The bathroom. Yes, only the little picture is available. I am over six feet tall, so I am curious if my toes have to be washed before my backside.

Anticipated price in Salford Quays start at $5000 (pounds I presume.)

That's an interesting price. If they put one of these into New York City, I would be interested in using this type of place as a commuting residence (Monday night to Thursday night.)

Otherwise I am thinking a couple _really_ needs to get along when living here - there is not a great deal of space to hide.
posted by fluffycreature at 6:40 AM on July 5, 2004

Anticipated price in Salford Quays start at $5000 (pounds I presume.)

No. Thats £85,000. We don't use the dollar sign. That was an 8. In dollars that's about $140,000.

Manchester seems to being used for all sorts of development experiments at the moment. This one look's awful. My friend was renting a one bedroom flat developed by Urban Splash and the place terified me. It cost more than my three bedroom house and had only about a half of the downstairs floorspace.

The current trend for flats in Manchester is ignoring a growing need in the local community. There is not enough affordable housing for young families. As a result, three bedroom terraced houses that used to sell for about £50,000 have have leapt to about £100,000 in less than 2 years. This is out of the reach of most people given the the 3.5 x earnings multiple used in the UK for mortgage calculations.
posted by davehat at 6:46 AM on July 5, 2004

Otherwise I am thinking a couple _really_ needs to get along when living here - there is not a great deal of space to hide.

And did you notice the kid they put somewhere on the top shelf? Very amusing!
posted by NekulturnY at 6:47 AM on July 5, 2004

Reminds me of the Microflat in concept. The Fab Prefab site is a good place to bookmark if you're interested in these sort of projects.
posted by bcwinters at 7:02 AM on July 5, 2004

The refreshing smell of Marketing Part Deux

Cory and Gary, the gayest hetero couple inhabiting our new apartement are drinking a martini on the balcony enjoying the refreshing air of the city center. Don't be fooled by their leaning on the edge of the balcony position, there is plenty of space to relax within and if you're feeling uncomfortable, the company psycologist lives next door.
posted by elpapacito at 7:16 AM on July 5, 2004

Yup I think it might work if you were single. AHaving 'storage space' on that platform would really cut down on the light and feel of space though; plus all your stuff would smell of cooking. Or maybe people who live in these don't cook but go out to bistros instead?
posted by carter at 7:18 AM on July 5, 2004

And I prefer the Muji house :)
posted by carter at 7:22 AM on July 5, 2004

No. Thats £85,000. We don't use the dollar sign. That was an 8. In dollars that's about $140,000.

Thanks for pointing out the mistake on the price. I had to squint to see it. At that price for the square footage I would have to say 'Goodbye.' This went from interesting idea to "run away, run away fast." That is a lot of money for a rabbit pen.

Is it odd this uses square feet rather than square meters? Is sq ft standard in the UK?
posted by fluffycreature at 7:24 AM on July 5, 2004

I'm afraid that this idea fails my tried-and-true "can I get 5,000 books in it?" test. I mean, I'm sure I could get 5,000 books in there, if I stacked them floor to ceiling, but that's not exactly a practical arrangement for one's living quarters.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:29 AM on July 5, 2004

davehat: Can't remember the last time I saw a house for £100k. For this house on my street (3 beds, 1 through lounge, hideous colour), they're asking £295,000 (about 540,000 of your US dollars). It's not as though I live in a particularly swish area. Fortunately I've been living there for 15 years, so I could be (theoretically) quite rich - just a shame that I have no way of realising those riches.
posted by daveg at 7:36 AM on July 5, 2004

Or maybe people who live in these don't cook but go out to bistros instead?

There certainly wasn't much indication of a kitchen... no oven at least. Maybe a countertop burner or two.

Reminds me of The Glass House by Philip Johnson

Phillip Johnson meets Frank Lloyd Write Usonian living, where the architect designs every aspect of the living space, allowing for no individuality or deviation from the design.
posted by crunchland at 7:45 AM on July 5, 2004

Davehat: Hear, hear.
The situation's the same in Leeds, and it seems to be spreading slowly across the M62 corridor. I'm constantly amazed at the price of houses in places like Hebden Bridge, Brighouse & Todmorden, and it's frustrating to see that new development seems to be concentrated solely towards single professionals.

When the local councils specify that housing needs to be provided for families, the development agencies bang in a plan for some three and four bedroom flats, and after it has been agreed, they make some weak excuse, and convert it all to 1 & two bedroom "Executive" apartments.

Luckily I got onto the housing ladder at a good time. However, friends of mine that now want to buy a place in Lieue of having children find themselves priced out of the market. Back to Back Terraced houses (two bedrooms) that cost £30,000 six years ago now cost in the region of £90,000. This is just not affordable.

It makes me tired to even think about it.
posted by seanyboy at 7:48 AM on July 5, 2004

Bigger than my place. And, I daresay, worse designed. A Murphy bed? Come on.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:49 AM on July 5, 2004

Those ceilings were WAY too high. What a waste. Half-floors, please.
posted by hama7 at 7:52 AM on July 5, 2004

Is sq ft standard in the UK?

We've been trying to move to metric since the 1970s. It just doesn't ever seem to stick in the national psyche though, despite legislation to enforce weights and measures away from imperial.

I am happy to use both, but I gues the "more sensible" metric will rule one day in the not to distant future.

daveg: I was talking about Manchester (where I live and where the first lot of these micro-hovels will be built). I moved away from London a few years ago as it gradually dawned on me that I could not afford it. The sort of house I'm taking about is this red brick terrace.The area is OK, but it ain't beverly hills and the values have doubled and more in no time. I know someone who bought a house about three doors down from the one linked for £45,000 about three years ago.

For the same money as a terrace, you could have this shoebox in the city.
posted by davehat at 7:54 AM on July 5, 2004

I like Murphy beds. However, these people seem to have re-invented the bed-sitter, only more expensively. Or the US college dormitory room, only with a tiny living room area.

Note that the "kitchen" also only showed a sink. Where were the cooktop, oven, microwave, and refrigerator?

And wouldn't it make a hell of a lot more sense to have a laundry room in the basement, just like a normal apartment building, and then people would actually have some space for closets and bookshelves?
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:03 AM on July 5, 2004

It's bigger than my place, too. At least, bigger than the parts of my shared apartment that I actually get to use. If I had that much space, I wouldn't take up so much of it with that big cabinet thing in the middle.

And for people so interested in efficiency, their website is really fucking annoying.
posted by bingo at 8:07 AM on July 5, 2004

This is the direction housing should go. " ...steel frame, foam core, and elastomeric skin..."
posted by JohnR at 8:17 AM on July 5, 2004

Where would I put my table saw?
posted by password at 8:34 AM on July 5, 2004

daveg : £300k for a 3 bed end of terrace in Walthamstow?


Man, that's the most depressing thing I've seen in months. Don't think there's much hope of me buying anything (parking space, potting shed, whatever) here in Stoke Newington (or 'Islington', in estate agent-ese). Looks like I'm doomed to pay someone else's mortgage for the rest of my life.

£85k for 375sq ft is insane though. I don't care how nice the wardrobes are, it's still a cupboard with aspirations. I dread to think how much one of those would go for here in London.
posted by influx at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2004

"Is it odd this uses square feet rather than square meters?"

I think it's because 32 square meters sounds pitifully small.

Actually, it is pitifully small - my bedrom is larger than that.
posted by spazzm at 8:38 AM on July 5, 2004

Eh, I'd rather have a pod. Of course, you need land to put it on, water, and some sort of toilet (a composting toilet might work). But they're cheap!
posted by beth at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2004

not to worry, the global housing bubble will begin to contract when credit and money supply starts to. while prices in every region will not stagnate or decline in the same way, there will surely be an adjustment. my brother just bought a house for 17% under appraisal value just outside austin texas. it will be a while before that happens here in seattle or over there in london, but i expect that it will eventually...
posted by muppetboy at 9:01 AM on July 5, 2004 [1 favorite]

I don't really understand the appeal of living in a space that requires constant conversion from one mode to another mode in order to support your activities. You would spend many many hours of your life stashing shit and taking it back out again.

While I can certainly appreciate living smaller -- hell, I've recently moved from a four bedroom house into an apartment with two with the intention of living smaller -- I can't even imagine occupying a space so small. I could fit two of these in my (admittedly gigantic) living room.

It would be more sensible, and potentially cheaper, to buy an RV and live in that. At the very least, it can be moved!
posted by majick at 9:10 AM on July 5, 2004

I prefer my suburban sprawl ranch.
posted by mischief at 9:25 AM on July 5, 2004

I can't wait until these are available at a substantially lower price at Ikea.
posted by Stoatfarm at 9:26 AM on July 5, 2004

Yeah, I would not be pleased if I had to stash my bed in the morning before getting dressed. I would link to the exact part of the demo where it suggests that, but it's bloody Flash-only.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 9:31 AM on July 5, 2004


Our first flat in Hong Kong was 225 square feet*.

*Self-link to amusing photo. Sorry....
posted by bwg at 10:06 AM on July 5, 2004

I'm going to find a tape measure before I go home tonight.
posted by biffa at 10:13 AM on July 5, 2004

The 320 sq. ft. apartment I just moved out of had a better layout and seemed more spacious than this thing. And it was $300 a month. You English are getting ripped off.
posted by evilbeck at 10:22 AM on July 5, 2004

evilbeck, we English are a country of ripped off and rippers off.

If Bush ever wants to start a war on buy-to-letters he will have my full support.
posted by biffa at 10:57 AM on July 5, 2004

biffa, I'm curious - what's a "buy-to-letter" and why does it earn such disdain?
posted by JollyWanker at 12:25 PM on July 5, 2004

Where would I put Kitty's box?
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:01 PM on July 5, 2004

Finally! You can live in an intelligent space that is as big as my standard two car garage! How lucky you are!
posted by jmccorm at 1:07 PM on July 5, 2004

It's a dorm room, dressed up in hipster guise.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:17 PM on July 5, 2004

Undesigned Manhattan 340sqft shoebox for $1500pcm. It's a market thing.

JW: Buy-to-let=buying a property to rent (let) it out. Name of a mortgage where money is lent with the rent being used as repayment.
posted by i_cola at 2:40 PM on July 5, 2004

Carter, thanks for the link to MoCoLoco. Some great stuff there. (The MD-120dwelling is similar to something I hope to build on the property of our new house (for guests. Need to finish the house first though.)
posted by Dick Paris at 2:48 PM on July 5, 2004

Don't laugh. As part of Dublin's Renaissance during the "Celtic Tiger" phase of the 1990s, whole blocks of inner-city crumbling Edwardian terraces and tenements ("brownfields") that had been lying fallow for decades (or centuries) were demolished and, well, postmodern tenements erected in their place.

For a while "studio" apartments with around 280 sq ft were being sold for outrageous prices, and "one-bedroom" apartments with around 330 sq ft were considered quite posh.

The construction standards were notoriously lax and frequently many of the apartment builders neglected to even contract an architect to do any design. In some cases, entire city blocks with 300+ apartments were being served by one or two elevators.

And in a few cases, the exterior work was so cheap that the fake balustrades and balcony fixtures sometimes detached from the buildings and fell into the streets below.

The local planning authorities eventually intervened, setting minimum sizes for apartment spaces relative to the number of inhabitants. Of course, for USians used to much lower population densities and cheaper land, considering 400 sq ft per person as a minimum bar might seem low, but expectations of space vary dramatically across cultures and are contingent on many factors.

Some of my friends paid ridiculous prices for 375 sq ft *2* bedroom apartments. But considering that during the Irish late 1990s boom the resale values of these apartments doubled or tripled within 5 years they got a good deal!
posted by meehawl at 4:00 PM on July 5, 2004

p..s I should mention that I bought a 650 sq ft 1870 workman's cottage (think: Coronation Street) in the centre of Dublin. It had only reached this palatial acreage by virtue of the construction of a kitchen extension over the entire back garden sometime during the 1960s.

I bought in 1995. When I sold in 2001, it had nearly quadrupled in market value.
posted by meehawl at 4:02 PM on July 5, 2004

Wow, I always wanted to live in a cupboard.
posted by dg at 4:24 PM on July 5, 2004

Sounds like a jail cell to me... definitely not for the claustrophobic.

(walls... too close together... walls closing in....)
posted by blahblah at 5:46 PM on July 5, 2004

Uh, what's up with the "Lounging Outside" shot? Are there no windows or something? Where's the outside part of it?

I'd say about half of the New York City population uses their stoves for storage, anyway, so that's not so bad. The bathroom (or lack thereof) is absurd, but then, hipsters are supposed to smell bad. Or maybe they have communal shower stalls -- you know, to encourage you to meet your neighbors.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:40 PM on July 5, 2004

Interesting ideas. I could possibly envision such a block of flats as a retirement community, but not much more than that.
posted by Cerebus at 7:38 PM on July 5, 2004

hipsters are supposed to smell bad

That made my night! Thanks!
posted by Lizc at 8:21 PM on July 5, 2004

JW: As i_cola said. There have been rapidly increasing numbers of people buying property purely to rent out, basically as an investment as they're pretty much secure in the long term. Its driving up prices for both buying and renting houses, and is particularly bad in my area as I work at a university and people can cash in on students. All perfectly legal, etc but fuck'em.
posted by biffa at 1:28 AM on July 6, 2004

Ha ha ha!

Anyone see the weenie TV the dude proudly pulls out of his storage compartment?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:07 AM on July 6, 2004

I love super-efficient use of space and I hate clutter with a passion bordering on neurosis but then again, I also really like furniture. And cooking. And all that white veneer really is nightmarishly reminiscent of dorm-room decor. And where do you put the cat boxes?

hipsters are supposed to smell bad.

Yeah! When did that happen anyway? I'll be glad when it's cool to bathe again. It will make going to indie-rock shows a lot more pleasant.
posted by jennyb at 6:37 AM on July 6, 2004

And where do you put the cat boxes?

In the loft, obviously. Of course, you need a really tall cat tree, too...
posted by Cerebus at 8:18 AM on July 6, 2004

It's all relative, I guess. My apartment is 480 square feet, and I pay $1200 a month for it in DC. Two people. Two square feet of kitchen counter. We make do with lots of shelving (hope the landlord doesn't mind the holes in the walls when we leave). At least we have a nice yard to garden and play in, and reserved parking. It's not bad, really. We don't accumulate much stuff, so we don't spend a lot of money on that sort of thing. If the place goes on sale, it'll likely go for $200K or so, and we'll consider buying.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:22 AM on July 6, 2004

I don't really understand the appeal of living in a space that requires constant conversion from one mode to another mode in order to support your activities.

You're not meant to understand it. It's an alternative. You can either live in one of these micro homes for £85k, or buy a small two bedroom house (which will be bigger, sure) for £200k around the corner. Many young people can probably scrape together enough to get onto the ladder at £85k.. but at £200k? It's the select few.

I think these sorts of developments are excellent. I'm getting sick of places where you have be in a working couple to be able to afford it. Single people need homes too, y'know.. and if they're tiny boxes, then so be it, I don't see any viable alternatives (other than moving out of the city, which isn't a bad idea).
posted by wackybrit at 9:40 AM on July 6, 2004

1200/mo / $200k for a 480 sq ft apartment? Holy shnikeys....

I rent an 1100 or so sq ft place in the Chicago burbs and pay $1050/mo... that's a gargantuan jump up from my 1025 sq ft place in Champaign, Il that was $660/mo...

I had no idea DC was that insanely expensive...
posted by twiggy at 9:50 AM on July 6, 2004

Well, of course, it depends on the neighborhood. I pretty much insist on being able to walk to work (on Capitol Hill) AND on having a yard, so I'm willing to make some compromises on space/rent. I could live out in the suburbs and get more for the money, but then I'd have to commute an hour each way.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:50 AM on July 6, 2004

This makes me think of the tiny studio my hubby and I lived in many years ago. We thought we had a sweet deal with a loft in our space, until we saw the insides of some of the other studios and the creative ways people used the space. One studio raised the kitchenette onto a platform and the bed slid under the kitchen on little wheels. I would love to see a whole building of these and how different people utilized the space in different ways.
posted by archimago at 1:27 PM on July 6, 2004

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