Small is beautiful

Rang Looking Out From Living Room

Small is beautiful when it comes to designing and building houses, a concept eloquently put forth by the economist E.F. Schumacher in his influential book titled "Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered."

In this book, Schumacher emphasises the importance of human-scale design and sustainable practices, challenging the prevailing belief that bigger is always better. This idea resonates not only in the realm of economics but also in architecture and housing design, where smaller spaces can often be more functional, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing than their larger counterparts (not to mention, cheaper to run, heat and maintain!)

Bell Kitchen Deck Magnificent View
Who needs a big house with an aspect like this?

When considering the design and construction of houses, there is an inherent charm and practicality in smaller spaces. Such houses require fewer materials and resources during the building process, making them more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Additionally, they tend to have a smaller carbon footprint due to reduced energy consumption for heating, cooling, and maintenance.

One of the key aspects of successful small house design lies in the skillful use of space. At Artis we are well-versed in creating compact yet functional spaces that can maximise every square centimetre to meet the needs of its owners. Clever storage solutions, multifunctional furniture, and thoughtful layouts can ensure that every nook and cranny serves a purpose, reducing clutter and enhancing the overall living experience.

A well-designed small house can also feel more spacious than its physical dimensions would suggest. Architects who pay close attention to simple things like light and proportion can create an illusion of spaciousness. Strategically placed windows and skylights allow natural light to flood the interior, making the space feel open and airy. Furthermore, using an open floor plan and avoiding unnecessary partitions can enhance visual continuity and contribute to a sense of expansiveness.

Architects who pay close attention to simple things like light and proportion can create an illusion of spaciousness.

Proportion is another crucial element that architects must consider when designing small houses. Carefully balancing the size and scale of different elements within the house can create a harmonious and pleasant environment. Using appropriately sized furniture and fixtures ensures that the space does not feel overwhelmed or cramped. In particular, thoughtful consideration of the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces can also extend the perceived boundaries of the house, connecting owners with the surrounding environment.

Ruaw Living Room
Storage is important - use space cleverly

In the context of urban living, smaller houses can contribute to more sustainable and inclusive communities. Compact, well-designed houses can be integrated into existing neighbourhoods, making efficient use of land and reducing urban sprawl. This, in turn, can enhance walkability and accessibility to amenities, fostering a stronger sense of community and social interaction among residents.

The concept of “small is beautiful” aligns with the principles of minimalism and mindful consumption. It encourages us to rethink our notions of success and happiness, moving away from the relentless pursuit of larger, more extravagant spaces. Instead, it invites us to focus on what truly brings value to our lives, emphasising the importance of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and human connection.

In short, the idea that small can be beautiful when it comes to designing and building houses is a compelling concept rooted in sustainability, efficiency, and human-centred design. Smaller spaces, when thoughtfully designed, can be more functional, comfortable, and visually appealing than larger, sprawling houses. By embracing this philosophy, we can create homes that not only meet our practical needs but also enrich our lives by fostering a deeper connection to our surroundings and a more intentional way of living.