Check out these wee historic homes going back to the 1600s.

It’s tempting to think of the tiny house movement as a thoroughly modern invention: a sleek, functional response to opulent McMansions, skyrocketing rents, and overcrowded apartments.

After all, it’s easy to carve out a spot for a tiny home: Gnome-sized cabins are easily tucked into small woodland plots or plopped down right on top of brownstones in Manhattan. And you can nab one for less than the price of a car. The little lifestyle has—of course—also been satirized on Portlandia, where one sketch took the desire to downsize to its most cramped extreme. (A tin-roofed chicken coop.)

But while many of the contemporary designs do borrow from clean-lined, Scandinavian-inspired aesthetics, there’s also a rich and varied tradition of pint-sized spreads from around the world.

The throwback DIY

(D.C. Beard/Project Gutenberg)

This sketch is from a manual intended for handy guys who aren’t afraid to thatch a roof or pack a wall with mud. Penned in 1920 by Daniel Carter Beard, founder of the scouting organization Sons of Daniel Boone, Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties aimed to teach strapping young guys how to build simple quarters.

The house with a view

(Jen Morgan/Flickr)

This stone structure sits within Bolivia’s Sajama National Park. UNESCO estimates that about 100 families, mostly Aymara Indians, still live inside the park.

The dolled-up Victorian

(Billy Hathorne/WikiMedia Commons)

This ornate little home, preserved by the Seguin Conservation Society in Texas, was crafted by a German carpenter in 1910. It originally served as a playhouse, and is now a miniature museum for antique toys.

The contested cottage

(Mr ThinkTank/Flickr)

The red Quay House—measuring just six feet wide—boasts that it’s the smallest home in Great Britain. Built in the 1600s, the house remained occupied until the 20th century, when the city council forced the tenants to move out, Atlas Obscura reports. Now, it’s a minuscule museum illustrating the routines of historical Welsh fishermen.

[H/T: Tiny House Living]

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a rendering of the moon village with a view of Earth
    Design

    Designing the First Full-Time Human Habitat on the Moon

    SOM, in partnership with the ESA and MIT, wants to accommodate research and maybe even tourism on the moon.

  2. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  3. Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California
    Life

    America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

    Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

  4. Design

    The Many Lives of Notre-Dame

    Far from being a single author’s definitive text, the beloved cathedral’s history is a palimpsest.

  5. a photo of a Metro PCS store in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    What D.C.’s Go-Go Showdown Reveals About Gentrification

    A neighborhood debate over music swiftly became something bigger, and louder: a cry for self-determination from a community that is struggling to be heard.