From Tolkien-inspired tiny houses in Maryland to an interview with Jay Schafer, the creator of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, MNN has explored plenty of living options for those who believe that less can be more.

We haven’t, however, explored as many tiny houses as Kirsten Dirksen, co-creator of Fair Companies, a video series dedicated to the simpler side of sustainable living.

Here are some of our favorite dispatches from Kirsten’s travels.

Teen builds tiny house for a mortgage-free future

When Austin Hay began contemplating leaving home, he decided he didn’t want to live in a dorm, or save for a 3,000-square-foot home with a two-car garage. Instead, he built his own 130-square-foot home to take with him when he moved. He even managed to throw a party in it to celebrate when it was done.

Electricity-free tiny house encourages the contemplative life

Living in a 120-square-foot home is not everyone’s idea of luxury. Living in a 120-square-foot home without running water, electricity or the Internet is some people’s idea of pure squalor. But for Diana and Michael Lorence, Innermost House became a sanctuary from the pressures and noise and constant movement of modern living.

New Yorkers live large in some teeny tiny spaces

The movement for smaller living is not just about moving to a shed in the country. In fact, urbanites have been pioneering living in confined spaces for years. This architect gives us a brief tour of his 78-square-foot “apartment” in midtown Manhattan. For the slightly less frugal, check out the many different configurations TreeHugger founder Graham Hill has managed to cram into his LifeEdited transformer apartment in New York.

In both cases, they remind us how living in small spaces can encourage us to live with less too – buying fewer goods and even eating less meat.

Old stable becomes a beautiful, tiny house

In Europe, too, people are discovering that with careful design and a little lifestyle prioritization, it’s possible to live in the center of even the most expensive towns at a fraction of the cost of a mainstream home. Here photographer Jérémie Buchholtz and his architect, Matthieu de Marien, explain how they reinvented an old, windowless stable in Bordeaux into a beautiful, flexible and sunlight-filled home.

24 rooms in one Hong Kong apartment

In Hong Kong, living on top of each other is pretty much a way of life. For Gary Chang, however, 344 square feet hosts 24 different “rooms.” Featuring moving walls, modern appliances and a hefty, floating book case – Chang is clearly determined to show that we are limited more by our imaginations than the space we inhabit.

DIY home built for $3,500

Like Austin Hay, Jenine Alexander was not content to let the real estate market dictate her living choices. So she built her own home, using salvaged materials and secondhand goods. Her mobile, tiny home was created for just $3,500, a price tag that allowed her to stay in her home town of Healdsburg, Calif.

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