I was not surprised to hear that IKEA has begun selling kit houses.
Their activ house, designed by ideabox, is the first of their flat-pack, home-in-the-box designs. It seems a natural progression in their simple, comfortable, maximize the available space in a graphically-pleasing way philosophy. It’s not my favorite, design-wise, but I love the idea behind it of making affordable housing possible without compromising good design and detail. And making it so easy.
I’ve written here before of my love for simplicity, and how I dream of one day owning a small house on a cliff somewhere overlooking the sea. I’m a regular at the tiny house blog, and my eye is always drawn to the small houses I see here and there, like the small dome house my friends were looking into buying in Mexico, which I much preferred to the huge mansions nearby.
When I grow up I want to be a gypsy and live in a vardo, or a modern-day caravan like these… I know, my tastes are a bit odd, but perhaps not so… Tiny house and other small house movement websites showcase some amazingly creative, modern designs for small or smaller spaces.
Check out this piece on designboom for some crazy and wonderful designs, or my all time favorite, the small box house by akasaka shinichiro atelier, here. I should also mention the importance of these types of sustainable, inexpensive, easy to transport and build (and disassemble) dwellings for disaster relief, etc., something the great minds of architecture are developing after the recent natural and geopolitical disasters which tragically highlighted the need for these.
Actually, and unbeknownst to me when I bought it, I live in a kit house, a fact I discovered years after buying it and one for some reason not often discussed in this town often touted for its seemingly unique houses. Mine is over eighty years old and sturdy and strong, quirky if not a bit in need of a facelift, or two. She certainly didn’t come with an induction cooktop and a convection oven as the IKEA kit house will, but it’s basically the same idea. I love my house and don’t love her any less because she was sold in a catalog like the one I featured at the top of this post…
Good design, pleasant living spaces, smart and affordable ways of achieving these is not a new concept, but its one that we are wise to revisit. Begone McMansions and mortgages which are akin to selling your soul to the devil. Smaller. Simpler. More Sustainable.
When all you yearn for is external expansion your life will never be large enough, and there will be too many empty spaces inside.