Do micro living spaces appeal because they’re sustainable? Affordable? The ultimate way to showcase one’s personal style? If the range of forthcoming titles is anything to judge by, the answer is: all of the above.
New books about tiny homes are aspirational as well as instructional, aiming to tap the consumer enthusiasm that fueled the success of books including 2015’s Cabin Porn (Little, Brown, 56,000 print copies sold) and 2012’s Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter (Shelter Publications, 55,000 print copies).
But no trend can hold interest without offering up the odd twist. The coming season brings more than one book showcasing tree houses, as well as titles that follow the treads of 2017’s Van Life (Black Dog & Leventhal, almost 10,000 print copies).
“I’m seeing an evolution of the movement,” says Kimberley Mok, a journalist who covers tiny houses for the sustainability blog TreeHugger. Mok is also author of The Modern House Bus, which delves into what she sees as the heir to van conversion—school bus conversion.
Whether on wheels or stationary, a small home “frees people up psychologically to enjoy what they have,” Mok says, “and to live a bit differently, without a big mortgage.” The movement continues, on the road, up in the trees, and everywhere in between.
The Anatomy of Treehouses
Jane Field-Lewis. Gibbs Smith, Mar.
The author, a veteran of the tiny home subcategory (2010’s My Cool Caravan and 2012’s My Cool Campervan, both Pavilion), looks at a variety of heavily designed arboreal structures that function as homes, work retreats, and exercise spaces, offering plan details, information on materials, and more.
Dan Wright. Lyons, May
A professional tree house builder—with more than 400 such structures under his tool belt, and counting—writes a primer for DIYers looking to build their own small spaces up among the leaves, including an intro to carpentry along with tree house–specific building instructions.
The Modern House Bus
Kimberley Mok. Countryman, Aug.
While Mok admits that bus conversions are not new, she says an ever-widening scope of people—tech entrepreneurs, interior designers, businesswomen—are choosing to reduce the scale of their lives while enjoying mobility. Twelve buses and their builders are featured, along with a step-by-step guide to engineering a dwelling on wheels.
Small Innovative Houses
Philip Jodidio. Rizzoli. Mar.
Presenting an antidote to McMansion-style excess, this book provides a visual romp through architects’ design solutions for 50-plus oddball spaces on five continents. These include tractor trailer beds, barns, and yes, tree houses, converted into efficient and visually compelling living quarters.
Small Space Style
Whitney Leigh Morris. Weldon Owen, June
With 120,000 Instagram followers scrolling through her family’s adventures in Tiny Canal Cottage in Venice Beach, Calif., Morris is seen by some as a guru to the small house movement. This book expands her personal concept into 300 practical tips anyone can use in setting up a wee home of their own, with examples gleaned from her home and other tiny houses and apartments.
Tin Can Homestead
Natasha Lawyer and Brett Bashaw. Running Press, May
The couple detail their gut renovation of a 1971 Airstream Sovereign in a book that aims equally for the DIYer’s tool kit and the Instagram ogler’s coffee table. House-porn photos (a succulent-bedecked tiny kitchen) share space with explanatory diagrams (the workings of sink plumbing—complete with succulent atop the basin).