/ Home & Energy

Micro homes: would you live in a house like this?

Leonardo Di Chiara / mediadrumworld.com

It’s been dubbed the ‘Swiss Army’ micro home, squeezing a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen into just nine square metres. Called the aVoid, would you do just that or could you embrace its minimalist living?

One can just imagine how an estate agent would market the 9 sq m (97 sq ft) that makes up the ‘Swiss Army’ aVoid micro-home. It would probably read something like:

Bijou pied-a-terre with all mod-cons and easily maintained garden. Located in a sought-after area with excellent transport links, this quirky home is perfectly suited to the single, first-time buyer. Viewing recommended.’

And they’d be telling the truth. Mostly.

Multifunctional – but micro – space

From the outside, the aVoid looks like it might be a horse box or perhaps one of those trendy food trailers serving up pulled pork baps or smashed avocado on something.

Inside though, there’s everything you need for modern living, including a fold-down bed, a wardrobe, a dining table with seating for four, a kitchenette with a small refrigerator, induction hob and sink, and a bathroom with a shower and composting toilet. There’s even a ladder to access the ‘roof garden’.

It’s just that these features aren’t at all apparent when you first enter. In fact, it looks like an empty space.

Is this the ultimate tiny home?

With the aVoid, you have to tap the bare-white walls to reveal the warm wooden room features hidden behind them. It’s only then that it looks vaguely like somewhere you could rest your head. You then fold these rooms back away again when you aren’t using them.

So, for instance, once you’ve finished cooking and dining, done the washing-up and put everything away, you can tuck the kitchen away, then get out your bedroom for the night. If you’re finding it hard to visualise, watch this video to get the gist:

Costing just £35,000 to build, this ingenious design is the brainchild of Leonardo Di Chiara, in collaboration with Tinyhouse University in Berlin. He says his multifunctional room design was inspired by his tiny childhood bedroom in Italy:

‘I grew up with a minimalistic lifestyle, which certainly influences my design. This is why I started developing transformable furniture where everything can be hidden into the wall surface when it is not in use, having as a result “a void” ready to be used again.’

Micro home living – could you do it?

aVoid is conceived as a terraced house, with windows at the front and back, so that it can be placed alongside other units. And as it’s also on wheels and comes with a tow bar, you could, in theory, up-sticks at any given moment.

Although I admire how innovative the design of aVoid is, I would probably do just that if tasked to actually live in it for any length of time. Just watching the video makes me come over all claustrophobic.

How would you ever manage to entertain? For me, it would mean a complete overhaul of my lifestyle, decluttering and learning to put things away immediately. But I guess that’s the point.

Could you handle living in a micro home?


For many young people nowadays there isn’t a choice as house prices and the means of obtaining as mortgage are beyond them . Add to that there are now more single young people out there who have no intention of marrying . While legal challenges to them happily (so far ) are not in place unlike the USA where in many cases they are banned as US law dictates the local council /town must get money from you and provide utilities which under US are forced on many Americans to the benefit of the Utility companies . Many are banned in the USA as they come up with all sorts of laws to stop poor people from gaining an advantage by not using public services, I get many emails on this subject from the USA . I hope that HMG doesn’t copy the US like it usually does. If I was a young person would I buy one –YES !! I would at least it will keep the rain out and provide a place to sleep. Check out the living accommodation of Japan,s young workers – a closet sized room.


duncan, can you explain the comments about US utilitiess?


Malcolm although I criticize US foreign policy I actually have many friends in the USA in various action and information websites who daily provide me with internal info on what goes on in the US . This is a topic brought up by several of them and through communication I am able to get links to local US news-media. Generally the US has a policy of homes conforming to their regulations which in many cases are very restrictive but all include paying for services even if its very small/ mobile/ in a remote location , many people have been prosecuted for using self generation of electricity or using a local supply of water. They insist on payment and utilities connected , even huts in the wilds if under a district have to pay . Of coarse may Americans protest seeing it as unjust but citizens are up against city/town attorney,s and dont win normally. The latest issue is where a very small house designer and business man made homes for the homeless , the local council brought in local laws as “eyesores ” not conforming to building regulations etc to get the police assisting demolition and trash removal council workers to bulldoze them . In the winter it caused additional deaths but that doesnt bother the authorities .


We are short of land, so putting a single storey dwelling of any size on a plot is wasteful. Multi-storey makes far better use of limited space. Studio flats fulfil this requirement.

What we need are the traditional council houses for those unable to buy or pay commercial rents. But ones that are not sold off under any right to buy; what we need most is right to a home. So when the tenant has the means to move on, release the house for another needy family (or single person). Those with the ability to pay would then be helping those without to meet a basic need.


There is no shortage of land but people do want to live where there is plenty available There are many empty properties some of which have been empty for years But people do not want to live where they are Use these properties before building on greenfield sites but greenfield builds are where most people want to move to and live far away from the places the work and spend hours commuting every day


It’s nice to live near a cashpoint 😀


There is no problem with selling off council houses if the same number or more are built to replace them, but that did not happen.


Why sell council houses at discounted prices when we have far fewer than ever before, and ever more people needing accommodation? They are financed and subsidised from the public purse and I want my taxes used to help needy people get homes, not make profits for those then in a position to buy them. They often apparently end up in the hands of private landlords.

Council houses should provide a home for people who cannot afford market rents. We do not have enough and should build more. Once tenants are on their feet financially they should find accommodation on the open market and release the subsidised house for someone else, who is in real need, to use.


I fully agree Malcolm, and at the risk of introducing a political note, I feel it was a great shame that intervening governments did nothing to reverse the right-to-buy policy or amend it to require replacement public provision. They should also have had a method of recovering any betterment in resale value to be shared with the public purse. It seems to me that good municipal landlords operating an exchange system for those families whose needs change have been replaced by unregulated private landlords who are not addressing housing needs and increasingly housing those who are not in desperate housing need to the detriment of those who are.


I think I can answer that initial point, John – at least partly. Councils operated at that time under the RSG – the Rate Support Grant. This exceeded income from rates and formed the bulk of the money needed to purchase land and build new council properties. However, the right to buy was only good for the tenants making a quick buck; once the house was sold, it no longer appeared as an asset on the council’s books, and was thus ineligible for financial support, which is what makes council housing viable. Not only that, but the formula on which RSG was awarded made the assumption that as the tenants sold the houses the councils needed less RSG and thus they lost the money they needed to build more homes. As councils were also forbidden to raise money on the open markets council house building almost dried up.

The final nail in the coffin was delivered because Thatcher – the PM responsible for the right to buy policy – believed councils were not the right people to maintain or build houses, so more funds were withdrawn and the creation of Housing Associations began.

Now, in fact Thatcher was almost certainly correct that local councils generally are only able to cope with rubbish collections, and that stretches them. But in diverting the flow of funds to housing associations the amounts did not appear to be a straight swap from council to Housing association; the amounts dropped.

So the government cut its costs, councils became unable to build new houses and housing associations became the flavour of the month.

It’s really hard to know which was worse: the right to buy policy itself, the diversion of funds, the sheer duplicity and avarice of the Thatcher government (with one notable exception), the emasculation of the Councils or the feeding of the rich by selling back to people what they already owned in terms of the nationalised industries.


Please don’t take my comment out of context folks. I’m opposed to sale of council houses too, but had it been done properly and maintained or increased the stock it would have allowed long-term tenants the opportunity to own their homes even if they could not afford a deposit.


There are “other governments” who could have changed the policy.

Getting the public to buy from the state something they already “owned”seems a good way to raise money :-). Far better than PFI.

No council homes should have been sold, in my view, to any tenant – long term or not. If someone can afford the money to buy a house they should not be living in subsidised accommodation. We spend. apparently, huge amounts on bed and breakfast, renting privately, to help those in need have somewhere to shelter, and on housing allowance to people in privately rented accommodation. Surely it would be better to allow councils to borrow money, at the very low rates they can, to build their own properties on land where they can give appropriate planning consent. .


Thank you for your explanation, Ian. It was clearly an act of intricate prestidigitation. In principle, switching from municipal to social landlords might not have been a bad thing if the money mechanisms had not bee