Tiny house in Maryland

From Maryland, pint-sized rustic retreats that are custom-built from recycled and locally-sourced materials and that “speak to the art of the small building movement." They're a little bit Thoreaua little bit Tolkien, if you catch our drift.
Canadian bunkhouse

From Ontario, a traditional Canadian bunkhouse — the beloved "bunkie" — that's been reimagined as a versatile, oversized piece of furniture.

Renzo Piano-designed shack

From Germany, a self-sustaining, single-occupancy shack designed by starchitect Renzo Piano and inspired by onion-eating Greek philosopher/proto-minimalist Diogenes.

Beijing micro house

From Beijing, a super-compact modular dwelling inspired by the tetromino-based thrills of a certain iconic arcade game. Stack 'em up.

From Mexico City, a petite prefab dwelling for resident artists that's tucked behind an eye-popping mural/billboard.

From Spain, an unfussy and uncluttered hideaway that can easily go wherever you need it to go … provided that you have a flatbed truck, a crane, and a full day to assemble the entire thing

From Portland, Ore., an"urban campground" composed of three custom-built, trailer-bound structures clocking in between 100 and 200 square feet. Within walking distance to tattoo parlors and vegan cafes!

From Sweden, exceptionallly smart wooden dwellings for university students with a decidedly petite footprint of a mere 108 square feet. Say goodbye to cinderblock-walled dorm rooms!

From Austin, a tricked-out used dumpster that not only serves as environmental science professor Jeff Wilson’s new home address but also doubles as a traveling interactive teaching lab.

From Minnesota, an old, Craigslist-acquired school bus that's been cleverly converted into a mobile tiny home with reclaimed gym flooring and room to sleep six.


From Sonoma County, a 'decadently primitive' compound composed of three semi-permanent tent-bungalows. Seriously, if you invited us over we'd never leave.


From West Virginia, a cozy, light-strewn cabin in the middle of nowhere with a jaw-dropping facade built entirely from recycled windows. A labor of love in more ways than one.


From Vermont, a student-built tiny house brimming with innovation including a manure-based heating system and plenty of clever built-in storage options to stash your stuff.

Photo/rendering credits from top: Hobbitat, BLDG Workshop/608 Design, Vitra, Liu Lubin, Julio Gomez Trevilla, Ábaton, Caravan, Tengbom Architecture/Bertil Hertzberg, The Dumpster Project.

More tiny house stories published in 2013 on MNN & TreeHugger:

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.