Big Idea Meets Small Space

Great ideas for living in a small space

As a bit of a “greenie” myself so this really gets me excited. Reducing the space we live in and re-sizing our lives to fit our consumption.

This New Zealand couple are producing a video record of their journey to Living Big in a Tiny House.

Living Big in a Tiny House

The tiny house movement is something that has been gaining huge popularity….     That largely comes as a result of the recent economic recession, where thousands of people have lost their homes. It’s a little bit more than that though. It’s not just for financial reasons that people want to move into smaller spaces.

It’s also about simplifying your life. The tiny house movement asks the question; if we get rid of the unnecessary things that fill our lives, what does that create space for? Does living in a tiny house really make room for a bigger life?

Four things that fascinate me about Living Big in a Tiny House.

Firstly, it’s a bottom-up movement. It’s real people taking deliberate action and taking responsibility to manage their lives in a more sustainable way.

Secondly, it’s working in a constrained set of circumstances which is forcing innovative thinking and new designs. Both in living space and how we manage our lives.

Thirdly, it’s forcing or enabling a significant shift in thinking. It’s asking “What do we actually need to be comfortable?” and how can we shape our lives to fit what is available.

Finally – its disruptive. THINK about it.

  • Small house = no mortgage = equals no Banks?
  • Less land for a small house = closer communities = less need for cars?
  • Mobility = seasonal migrations = less transportation of goods?

 What’s your view?

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Inspiration from Natures Genius


There are many quotes about original thinking and ideas. I particularly like this one by Oliver Wendel Holmes.

One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

I’ve recently spent time being delighted and increasingly fascinated by my discovery of the field of Biomimicry.


A Biomimicry Primer

(excerpt) By Janine M. Benyus – What’s It About?

The first time I explained biomimicry to a stranger was not in a talk or a workshop, but in a big-box bookstore just after Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature had come out. I was searching the shelves for the spine, always a breath-held-in moment for a writer. I checked the nature section, environment, design, and engineering, but it just wasn’t there. Before I could slink away, the bookseller appeared, and I asked him where it might be shelved.

He came back with a perfectly normal but impossible question: “What’s it about?”

After you finish a book, a pack of ideas race to your lips, nipping and barking to be the first one out. It’s hard to choose. “OK. It’s about looking to nature for inspiration for new inventions,” I blurted. “It’s learning to live gracefully on this planet by consciously emulating life’s genius. It’s not really technology or biology; it’s the technology of biology. It’s making a fiber like a spider, or lassoing the sun’s energy like a leaf.” The growing alarm on his face confirmed it; I was postpartum and probably shouldn’t be out.

Then he lifted his palms as if weighing two packages and said something I will never forget. “Look lady, you’ve got Nature and you’ve got Technology; you’ve got to choose one.” He was referring to the category scheme in the store, but I realized that the deep, deep separation between those two ideas in our culture was why biomimicry was squirming to be born.

Source: The latest news from Biomimicry 3.8 and our Institute website

Take a look at this TED Talk video which give you some wonderful examples of Biomimicry.

Go and be inspired with Biomimicry Curricula and Resources

Since 2006, the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute has been providing lesson plans, curricula, and resources to help educators introduce their students to the inspiring concept and powerful innovation methodology of biomimicry.

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Good Design is the Stuff You Don’t See


I’ve been listening to several Architecture and Design podcasts lately. I stumbled upon one last year and now I’m hooked.

99 Percent Invisible

First of all the show is so beautifully produced. Such a pleasure to listen to.

“99% Invisible…is completely wonderful and entertaining and beautifully produced…”
-Ira Glass, This American Life

“We think what he’s doing is inspiring. It has a kind of rhythm and musicality that you don’t normally find in radio or podcast storytelling.”
-Jad Abumrad, Radiolab

After a couple of episodes I really got it. The show gets you in behind the design and tells the story that you can’t see, and don’t see from the surface.

This is the real magic of the podcast. Who were the people involved? What was the prevailing thinking. How has the design impacted observers and participants.

Here’s a couple of my recent favorites:

  • Secret Staircases:  “The large number of hidden public staircases is part of what makes California so great. Charles Fleming is one of the world experts of coastal California’s public stairs. He has documented and mapped walking routes through nearly every useable public staircase in San Francisco’s East Bay, as well as in Los Angeles (where he lives). Charles published his findings in two walking guides, appropriately titled Secret Stairs.Listen


  • Purple Reign: What’s the difference between what the public sees and what an architect sees when they look at a building? The hotel on the very prominent corner of Touhy and Kilbourn Avenues in Lincolnwood, Illinois used to be the town’s most famous building: The first Hyatt hotel in all of Chicagoland, premiere accommodations, top-notch restaurant. It was swank! Roberta Flack stayed there. Barry Mannilow stayed there. Perry Como. Michael Jordon stayed there on his first night in Chicago. But even if you know nothing about the history, everyone in the area knows this hotel. Because it’s purple. Really, really purple. Listen

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