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Finnish micro house is small enough to build without a permit


May 17, 2012

The structure, including outside entrances and deck has a compact footprint of 96 square feet, while the retreat itself is a 50 square feet cabin

The structure, including outside entrances and deck has a compact footprint of 96 square feet, while the retreat itself is a 50 square feet cabin

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Designer Robin Falck has created his very own micro home that is small enough to be built without a permit in Finland. According to Finnish regulations, you can bypass the permit process if the structure is smaller than 96 or 128 square feet (depending on where you build). With the help of a couple of local architects, Falck was able to make his original designs a reality and the result is this simple and stylish rural retreat.

In homage to its surrounding landscpae, Falck has called the home "Nido", which means "bird's nest" in Italian.

The structure has a compact footprint of 96 square feet (8.9 sq m), with a 50 sq ft (4.6 sq m) loft space. Divided over two levels, the cabin is big enough to accommodate a bedroom, lounge area and storage space. The house sits on the lakeside in the Finnish wilderness, with views of the surrounding landscape visible from both the bottom floor and the loft.

The ground floor is occupied with a cosy living room, featuring a dramatic glass window which gives the impression that the outside world is creeping in. The large windows also daylight to penetrate the whole building during the day, while their inward angle makes them ideal for star gazing. The outside deck is perfect for a spot of al fresco dining, equipped as it is with lounge chairs and a barbecue. As for the bathroom facilities - well, I guess it’s back to nature...

Falck used mostly recycled materials to build the cabin and the project set him back approximately US$10,500 (plus time). Unfortunately he couldn’t enjoy his retreat in the wilderness right away as he was called for military service, but after one year in the field he’s finally earned his time to relax and enjoy some quiet time in nature!

Source: Tiny House Listings via Design Milk

Update: Thanks to everyone who has pointed out the discrepancies in the measurements quoted in the story. We've now updated the text and apologize for the confusion.

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

"big enough to accommodate a bedroom, lounge area and storage space"... .. no toilet? Not quite sure this is going to be a big seller.

Paul Hutchinson

That slanted window is wasting a lot of space.


And let us remind ourselves that weather in Finland is not that predictable or dry on the best times and rather cold most of the time. The lack of lavatory you can always build an outhouse (and with this size "house" I think it is for the best.).

Tiainen Arttu

"while the retreat itself is a 50 sq ft "

5'x10" is 50' square. It's obviously wider then 5' so more like 7'x7'. Are they micro couches? Something is off in the translation from meters to feet I think.

I once thought of a building of that size as in Californian you are allowed a shed of 100'square. The maximum size vs cost I came up with, was a stretched (tall) geodesic dome as the sides can bulge out for extra elbow room and shelf space. But with that there was no room for a bathroom/shower area, that would have to be separate or a outside shower.


Is it so hard to get a building permit in Finland?

@telocity: "50 sq ft" and "50 ft square" do not mean the same thing. "50 ft square" means a square, 50 feet on each side.


I would have it slightly big enough for a bathroom. I would not mind having an external shower type fixture. It would make an excellent place to get away from things. :)


Looking at the photo 5 in particular gives you a good idea of the dimensions, because you can see a door which is about 1m wide (looks like a standard width door).

So, on that side it is about 3m wide, and 5m long on the longer side. That gives you 15m2 (50 sq. feet).

Dan Marsh

That would be roughly 160 sqft if your footprint calc of 3m by 5m is correct.

Rob Brunton

umm, does it have a microwave? You are not gonna poop if you don't eat

Bill Bennett

We have become to big for our own good, I would love a small home. . We really need to change the way we live, we have taken too much already, from nature. Its time to give back, reduce our impact on the planet. Light weight aerodynamic commuter vehicles, which are fun and good for the planet. Our lives and the things we use are all designed around energy use, large square boxes, weighing 2 tons to move one person down the road. A 2000 square foot home with little to no insulation, or other energy saving devices, materials using thousands of dollars to heat, cool, cook, remove waste, clean ourselves etc. Change can be hard, but the rewards, are a better, happier life, with a huge reduction in stress. Its not for everyone, but its the right thing to do if you care about the future and world your family will have to endure and live in. How do we start, education ?

Thomas Lewis
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