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Box of Tricks: 1 Apartment, 24 Rooms, 344 Square Feet

Last updated by on 7 Comments

I’m a huge fan of tiny homes, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered an apartment that was renovated to include 24 different room configurations, all within 344 square feet! The New York Times dubbed the apartment the ‘box of tricks‘. Check out the pretty cool slideshow of photos from the apartment here.

Tiny House, Big Budget… For Now

Innovation comes with a steep price. The apartment, located in Hong Kong, was created by Gary Chang, founder of an architectural firm called Edge Design Institute. It was his 4th renovation that yielded the ‘box of tricks’, at a price of $218,000. His efforts were ‘counter-frugal’, at worst. Since it was a prototype, the costs were going to be high.

What I’m hoping is that the design principles he worked into his apartment are adopted at a wider scale, which would bring on economies of scale, and lower the price of renovation for dwellings like his (pictured below).With the world’s population continuing to explode, the human race may not have any other choice.

tiny home

But Small Can be Cheap

A number of tiny home designs exist, and a house under 250 square feet can be built for well under $20,000, or even free if you’re handy and resourceful enough. I interviewed tiny house pioneer, Jay Shafer, in the fall. Shafer lives in a 998 square foot house that he designed and built from scratch. Between appearances on Oprah, he travels the country with his house on a flatbed trailer, showing others the virtues of tiny home living.

There are a lot of Great Lessons we can Learn from the Box of Tricks & Tiny Homes

What I love the most about the ‘box of tricks’ and other tiny homes is that they force you to simplify and de-clutter your life. You simply cannot live in a 344 square foot or 998 square foot dwelling without having to make a number of tough decisions about what really matters in your life.

When you give up all that stuff, in order to make a home that small comfortable and livable, you are forced to really re-consider what you value in life. You are forced to give up stuff. You free yourself from being owned by your stuff. And that has to be incredibly liberating.

Without stuff and with a tiny dwelling and a tiny or non-existent mortgage, you can live big on the cheap.

I have made a lot of steps in this direction over the last few years, but I certainly have a long way to go.

Does this type of lifestyle appeal to you as well?

Tiny Home Discussion:

  • How small is your dwelling? How small do you think you could go?
  • What comforts have you given up in order to free yourself from stuff?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.

  • Paul says:

    Reminds me of those Geico “Tiny House” commercials…

  • Budgeting in the Fun Stuff says:

    Our house is 1750 square feet and my husband wants even more space in about 10 years. I’m happy with the space we have.

    We try not to buy anything we won’t use at least once a month. That helps keep down our “stuff” quota. Our guest bedroom is empty except for a bed and side table, so we use it as the temporary storage area for anything we’re trying to sell before donating to Goodwill or giving it away on Freecycle.

  • Credit Girl says:

    Oh my! This is interesting…I love having small places as well because they’re just so darn cozy! Less furniture to buy, less space to clean!

  • Ron Ablang says:

    To an extent, the economy and uncertainty of the future has forced us to scale back and really think about what we purchase. These small houses would ratchet it up even more.

  • Jeff Walden says:

    I prefer to reserve explicit accommodation-downsizing efforts for when I’m backpacking. (Given how much/little I have and how slowly I accrete things, I don’t think I really need to downsize my living space.) Bivy sack for the win!

  • Aury (Thunderdrake) says:

    in the UK, that have some extremely efficient manners of establishing homes. Their fantastic architecture would lead you to believe in a subversion, but they definitely got things efficient down there. Especially since the overall land is relatively small there.

    I can go pretty small myself. Heck. I can limit myself to a place that has a meager two rooms. One for the washroom, and one for the sleeping/bedroom/main room. Hah! But based on what I see in the real estate market, I oddly don’t see size to be equated with cost efficiency. I’ve seen some big places with stunning rent prices, and some really cramped places with retarded prices. The real estate market is a funny thing.


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