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 Thoreau, a 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.

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.

Abaton prefab tiny house

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.

tiny house Caravan Portland

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.

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

13 tiny houses we loved in 2013
Join us as we travel from Spain to Sweden to Sonoma County, Calif. for a look at 13 pint-sized dwellings that amazed, inspired and intrigued us in 2013.