Big & Small House proves less really can mean more


April 29, 2013

The Big & Small House

The Big & Small House

Image Gallery (26 images)

Though a large imposing house may draw admiring glances, it’s also generally expensive, and a waste of resources for a smaller family. Los Angeles-based Big & Small House by Anonymous Architects bucks the trend of sizable LA residences, and instead offers an example of small living at its most practical and appealing.

In a somewhat similar fashion to the Like A Houseboat residence, Big & Small House sits atop four concrete stilts, reducing the footprint of the building’s foundations to under 20 square-feet (1.85 sq m). This frees at least some of the land beneath the house for potential use, which is a significant gain when working with a site half the size of the usual minimum for an LA home.

The 1,200-sq ft (111 sq-m) building area of Big & Small House follows the asymmetric parallelogram shape of the site. Therefore the interior features unusual geometry, making for a striking home and space-saving opportunities.

In order to turn the modest dimensions of Big & Small House into a veritable Tardis, Anonymous Architects used a few novel tricks, such as folding furniture and the use of partitions instead of sealed walls to impart a feeling of open space.

The single-story (plus loft and adjoining single-car parking garage) home was completed in April, 2012.

Source: Anonymous Architects via Fast Co.Design

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

The photos of the interior all have the same feeling as add pictures of undersized hotel rooms.


I think that is a really nice design. I like small and tiny houses. I think this maximises the space without having to maximise the size of the house.


I like it but in the midwest we like our basements for storage, laundry, heating, water heater, and for tornado protection. Tornado protection cannot be over looked. I'm sure a basement would not be a problem with this design. The only other problem is that it looks like a Morton building.


Roughly 24 x 24 sq. ft. patch of land, considering two stories, but more like a 1 &1/2 and it gives you 1200 sq. feet of building area including the garage which will eat up say 200 sq. ft. This now leaves you with roughly 1000sq ft. of living space.

The columns it sits on use only 20 sq. ft. leaving the land under This frees at least some of the land beneath the house for potential use, which is a significant gain when working with a site half the size of the usual minimum for an LA home.

What exactly do you want to grow under there…magic mushrooms…

The whole problem with the L.A. and other affluent egotistical societies that have become accustomed to the BIGGER is BETTER…

Waste not want not, my humble plot of land has a building area of 24 x 32= 768sq. ft. on the ground floor. The building is considered a 1 ½ story, with a finished 624sq. ft. basement. The upper floor is 488 sq. ft.

Total living space 1952 sq. ft. it has 5 bedrooms, & 2 full bathrooms which is a minimum for the now 6 adults living in this place for 25 years now.

Yes it’s small, but the family that grows up together in these tight quarters and still plays together, is quite something when compared to sprawling typical homes.

Bob Flint

1200 square feet is not a small house. I live comfortably in a small house. It is about 600 square feet. And not nearly as featureless and sterile as this metal box.

Jonathan Cole

My wife and I and dog live in 1200 sq.ft. and don't use all the space. Previously, we lived in 800 sq.ft. and it worked out fine.

Ed Campbell

Love the look but it's an acoustic disaster. I love music too much for all the hard surfaces;) It would be hard to carry on a conversation in there. Beautiful though.


I like the high ceilings and layout. LA houses must be insanely big though if they thing 1200 sgft is small. My 2 bedroom ranch was 1200 sqft. and I had more room than I needed.


Seems strange to use such short support columns - why not make it a bit higher off the ground? There are many examples of this in 'flood plain' architecture around the world. Then most new(ish) small cars could park under the house and free up the present garage area into more living or bedroom space. As for acoustics, hang a few decorative carpet squares (tapestries) to avoid the echo effect (and insulate as well), like they used to do in stone castles/buildings way back then.

The Skud

Well, it is not exactly small, though well thought features all over the place might make it look a bit bigger than it actually is. It would sure be enough for me, and the sterile look will go away after a short period of me living in it. Put some solar cells on top so I cloud charge my car for free while in that garage, and I'd be just fine.


What an ugly & sterile presentation this is. It is apparent that no one lives in the place as it is shown. There are no books or bookcases, there's no art on the wall or sculpture pieces or signs of life. My wife and I (with two to four cats!) spent nearly ten years living in a 1000 square foot town house along with several thousand books, lots of art, with room for two writers to work.

Steve Miller

That is an ugly storage container propped up on a small lot that ruins the aesthetics of the neighborhood. What part of this house is attractive? I agree with another comment that the acoustics would be horrible! How would you like to be the homeowner below having to stare up at this gray box hanging above you? Terrible! What building dept OK'd this house? The writer captions one photo as stating the design of the home follows the contours of the lot... Huh?! I guess since the roof is angled and the lot is angled he considers this as similar designs?! Just because this is "different" doesn't make it nice.


A lot of carping because it isn't their exact cup of tea. Too big, too small, too noisy, no books, no storm cellar. good grief.

I find it perfectly acceptable and could easily solve any of these criticisms in minutes.

It would be helpful if hard construction cost, as-built, were included.


Looks good. Would look even better -- for my taste -- if the exterior was redwood (something like the wooden model shown). Perhaps a little too big, but I'd live there.


Let's see... no closets, no laundry room, uncomfortable looking furniture, ugly exterior, high ceilings which use up potential upstairs floor area, oak counter tops which shrink and swell too much, wasted space under the 'foundation', big glass front door provides NO privacy from the street and a nice view of the back neighbor's roof. What did this lemon cost?


The biggest problem I see is the lack of storage space. OK. Modern people might use tablets and e-readers instead of real books, but they don't wear electronic clothes that get electrically cleansed. Where is the clutter real people accumulate. Yes, I like the sharp clear lines (although acoustically the walls can produce "bounce-back"), but linen cupboards, wardrobes where are they? Not built into those skinny walls. Kitchen storage exists for a few pots and pans and the like... but really: do you expect me to believe the people that would live here always eat out, only read e-zines and have three sets of clothes, one set which is always at the dry cleaners/laundry?


Might as well weld six containers together...which people do. $175 a square foot isn't bad, but it could be much better.

Henry Davis
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles