How Much Would You Pay For This Tiny Fabulous Prefab?

Tiny houses. If you have a pulse, you've heard of them. The small housing movement has been sweeping the nation for some time now, and doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I love tiny homes because they bring back into the control of the individual, the provision of their own shelter, without having to be in debt to banks.

At first, it was reserved for backwoods living, a way to pare down to the bare essentials at a cost-effective price. But now, it's being taken up by the wealthy and by city dwellers, too. Washington D.C. even thinks it could be the solution to a millennial housing crisis.

Basically, everyone is caught up in this craze. And we mean everyone — even MUJI.

Called "MUJI Huts", the petite, pre-fabricated houses were created to be environmentally friendly, mobile, and extremely compact, Yahoo reports. They are intended to be used as weekend retreats, places to "escape the hustle and bustle of the city."

Each of the three designs is extremely minimal, eliminating any excess, in true MUJI fashion – Grcic's design doesn't even have a bathroom. The structures offer largely open floor plans and sparse interiors, using only sustainable materials, such as aluminum, cork, and wood, throughout. "Living small, in the smallest of structures," Fukasawa wrote about the project, "is a MUJI kind of living."

Yes, the Japanese brand that has become the go-to for sleek and minimal homewares has partnered with designers Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Mirrison, and Konstantin Grcic to develop three tiny home concepts.

In most towns, a building permit isn't required for a structure of 120 square feet or less. However, these small structures are considered sheds or workshops. Full-time living in a tiny building is generally not allowed. Some people live successfully "under the radar" but it's risky. A grumpy neighbor or diligent official could make your tiny life untenable.

To be a legal residence, a structure must be built in accordance with local building codes. Most states have adopted the International Residential Code for One- and Two- Family Dwellings. However, there is great diversity in the specific versions. Scroll down to see the US map. In addition to the IRC, a state, county or city may have additional codes that must be followed. Rare exceptions do exist. This book, No Building Codes, written in 2010 by Terry Herb, provides information on areas where building codes are absent or rarely enforced.

While the 2015 IRC has eliminated the requirement for a house to have at least one room of 120 square feet or more, states will need to adopt the new code in order for it to be effective. In addition, the IRC still contains other minimum size specifications that prove challenging: rooms (except for bathrooms and kitchens) must be 70 square feet, ceiling height must be 7 feet, etc. (additional code discussion). Accordingly, while it is possible for a tiny house to meet building codes, a house built on a foundation on its own land is more likely to be small (more than 400 square feet) rather than tiny. In addition, a building permit will probably be required.

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