Best Small Home Designers & Builders

Best Small Home Designers & Builders

Sarah Coffey
Aug 22, 2012

The popularity of the tiny house movement has led to so many good new small home designers and builders that it's difficult to keep track of them all. We know that making a list inevitably means we'll leave some great companies out but, nevertheless, we wanted to highlight some of the small house companies we've covered on Apartment Therapy, ranging from modern to traditional, prefab to custom built.

726447a9def1c0102dad37acc4c1d802865e29d9. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Around 1997, Jay Schafer began pioneering the art of building and living in small spaces—"low-impact architecture," as he calls it. All of the houses are finely crafted and designed to be used as a home or a weekend escape, and prices start at $38,000 for the smallest home.

9333735cfeb4c600895646d751f532aabbe6dd4b. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Weehouse / Alchemy Architects
Minnesota's Alchemy Architects are the makers of the modular prefab weeHouse, a modern home that averages around $150 per square foot (some models are more, others are less). Homes can be fitted with solar panels and off-the-grid energy kits.

fa04b40915ad46e48991bfded78d559c8d500792. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Clayton Homes i-house
Warren Buffet's modular housing business, Clayton Homes, launched the i-house in 2009. It's a prefab model that starts at 723 square feet for around $75,000 and includes a number of standard green features, such as Energy Star appliances.

6bdb8741fe35770a777ea033e43c551f1f14207e. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Metroship
David Ballinger, the creator and designer of the MetroShed has spun off his latest project with a similar modern aesthetic and focus BUT this one floats — it's the MetroShip Houseboat. The prefab luxury house boat starts at a base price of $239,000.

141eaf493aded3a324104a3ef5910c9c458b8e13. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Rocio Romero
Missouri-based designer Rocio Romero is well known for her minimalist prefab homes, which arrive flat-packed and can go up in a few months' time. Prices for the standard "LV Home" average about $120-$195/square foot including shipping, foundation, and finishing costs.

24e35137cfd049e7c0e5d427747b55bac6a67534. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Little House on the Trailer
Stephen Marshall designs and builds tiny homes on top of a flatbed trailer, then rolls them out to his client's site. Marshall custom designs each space and offers three types of structures up to 400 square feet: dwellings complete with kitchen and bath, offices, and art galleries. Prices range from $45,000 to $65,000.

8aaf66a37aec3ef460be69d6a7d29dff3b701503. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Katrina Cottages
After Hurricane Katrina devastated America's Gulf coast in 2005, architect Marianne Cusato designed and developed one of the most popular low-cost emergency shelters: the 308 sf Katrina Cottage, available now in over twenty-five different versions and sizes. The company sells plans (beginning around $700) for the homes.

3091b556ca7eb353767639cb69de99f2c2ae2c4d. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Pacific Yurts
Based on traditional yurts constructed by Central Asian nomads for centuries, yurts are round and can be erected in hours. While a platform is necessary, a standard 12' yurt will run you $3,950 and you can increase the size (up to 30') and the extras (like windows, doors, insulation, etc.) to suit your comfort.

92035fc32c6bc2b76b2147fe03d990d2e1cd74b8. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Tiny Texas Houses
Builder Brad Kittel makes these Texas "Tiny Houses" from 95% recycled materials. Unlike modern prefab mini-homes, each one is unique and reflects the style of its salvaged parts. Prices range from $42,000 to $155,000 depending on size.

Do you know of a great small home designer or builder we should profile? Send us an email and let us know!

Photo: The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

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