Never Too Small: Reimagining Small Space Living

General / People / Places / Products / August 4, 2021

Colin Chee lives in a 38-square-meter apartment in inner city Melbourne and is constantly looking for inspiration and ideas on how to improve his small home. In 2017 he started making videos profiling the best interior architects in the small-format residential design space. These videos became a YouTube channel, Never Too Small. Within three years of publishing the first episode, more than 1.4 million people had subscribed. Now Smith Street Books has published “Never Too Small: Reimagining Small Space Living,” a curation of Chee’s favorite designs from around the world, written by Never Too Small co-founder and the Editor of Nevertoosmall.com, Joel Beath and Elizabeth Price. A+A recently interviewed Chee via email:

What’s the intent of the book?
For us, this book is about inspiring people who are living in small spaces with the diversity of designs within the book, but we also hope to inspire people who are contemplating reducing the footprint of their home. We believe that through ingenuity and smart design we can transform small spaces into comfortable homes that express our individual style without conflicting with our modern lifestyles. Our book features a lot of apartment designs in older historical buildings, which is not only a wonderful way to breathe new life into older existing housing stock, but also a sustainable solution that protects the identities of our cities and rejuvenates our urban communities.

Its inspiration?
This is the chance to showcase some of our favorite designs from our channel and many new ones in a more formal, and to some degree, a more permanent manner. We also wanted to go beyond the designs and their creators to explore the historical context, the neighborhood and any other interesting stories that emerged during our research. Tiny homes exist for a multitude of reasons, and one of the things we discovered is that architects and owners become involved in the creation of these small dwellings through many different avenues.

Its target audience?
This is really for anyone who loves good design and clever and unique approaches to the challenges that architects need to overcome when designing for such small spaces. Small footprint architects can’t draw that much inspiration from the architects that design mansions, but we think the reverse is true. All designers and architects can find something in the clever way challenges are solved in the projects in this book. For people looking to build or redesign their own small footprint dwelling, this book is a valuable resource. We’ve really scoured the planet to find the very best examples of great small footprint design and we know it will provide inspiration and some great ideas to people embarking on their own project.

The context for its publication?
Never Too Small is more than a YouTube channel. It’s a modern publisher with multiple channels and content streams. For us, this book is another way to engage with an audience that is hungry to see more small footprint and sustainable design and formal way for us to showcase what we think the very best examples of this in the world.

How many projects are featured?
Reimagining Small Space Living features 30 projects themed into five sections, Diversify, Amplify, Expand, Revive and Innovate. Each project features a detailed narrative, architectural images, and the scale floor plan. For those using the book for research for their own project, there is also a reference guide for all of the architects.

The scale and proportion of the projects?
The projects featured are all under 50 square meters with the smallest (a converted piano studio in Taipei) just over 17 square meters. The fact that these homes aren’t just livable, but comfortable too, is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the Architects and Designers.

For more, go here.

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Michael Welton




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