A Model For Micro-Scale Living In Maximalist L.A.

For many New Yorkers, micro-living inside micro-apartments is one of the city’s signature “charms.” But in places like Los Angeles, there’s infinite space for sprawl. Right?

Not really, says Simon Storey, principal of Anonymous Architects. “The shift to smaller spaces seems to be permanent,” Storey tells Co.Design. “People’s mentality is taking to downsize.” Storey would know best. His own L.A. home sits on a plot of 780 square feet (“People don’t even think it’s possible when you say that number”), and his firm’s BIG & small house rests on a 2,000-square-foot lot–half the size of a typical empty lot in L.A.

Unlike micro-apartments that use hidden, folded beds and sliding walls, Storey designed an airy, open house simply by maxing out the volume of the interior. High ceilings and partitions, rather than sealed walls, create a sense of luxurious space. In total, BIG & small house has just one living room, one bathroom, and a mezzanine bedroom. A single-car parking garage runs alongside the building. Because the project’s main challenge was a tight budget, Storey employed little tricks like using the timber floor siding for the kitchen island too–shaving off costs, and creating a unified feel.

For all the misanthropes out there, the open loft plan obviously means there’s less privacy than in your average home. But Storey sites BIG & small house as a blueprint for future projects, signaling a macro shift to scaled down living.

“I love to use the analogy of the kind of cars,” Storey says. “Originally manufacturers didn’t care about smaller cars. But now you can get really astonishing quality in small packages.”MR