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Boston Artist Builds “Smallest House in the World,” Rents It on Airbnb

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Jeff Smith, “Smallest House in the World” (2016) (all images by and courtesy Jeff Smith)

By the logic of the tiny house movement, a whimsical architectural response to the housing crisis, tinier is better, right? In an attempt to push this trendy movement to its logical extreme, Boston-based sculptor Jeff Smith has created what he’s calling “the smallest house in the world.” He even secured the domain name SmallestHouseInTheWorld.com. Resembling a glorified dog crate, the movable neon-green pod makes many of the tiny houses currently on the market look like McMansions.

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Jeff Smith, “The Smallest House in the World” (2016) (click to enlarge)

Now, Smith has made “The Smallest House in the World” available for rent on Airbnb, for $55 a night. “This house is very small, but super convenient,” Smith wrote on the listing. “Staying in the smallest house in the world is a unique experience and not for regular people.” The house also stars in a forthcoming short film by Smith, which tells the story of a fictional character named Glen Bunsen, who’s quite smug about living in the world’s smallest house. (“I’m not about space,” Bunsen says in the film’s trailer, “I’m about time.“)

“Part of this project is lampooning the tiny house movement to an extent,” Smith told Hyperallergic. “There’s some fantasy to the whole idea — would you really want to live in a tiny house?” But it’s also a sincere conceptual exploration of just how small a structure can be while still containing all the necessary features of a livable “house.” “The tiny house movement kind of captured my imagination,” Smith said. “In a tiny house contest, it seems to me that the interesting thing to do would be to make the smallest house possible. I’m a designer and sculptor, so I wanted to make it aesthetically pleasing, too. I took my own challenge very seriously.” From conception to completion, building the dainty dwelling took Smith about two years.

Made from four-by-eight-foot sheets of recycled wood — “the material with which we build everything in America” — this house on wheels features space for one person to sleep on a futon, a propane-powered stove, six porthole windows made from repurposed pie plates, and a white front door with a mail slot. A sink that spouts water from a refillable bottle drains into window boxes. There’s even a toilet, sort of: Underneath a hole in the floor, covered by a frisbee, is a vintage steel-case desk drawer filled with kitty litter. (There’s no internet connection, heat, or air conditioning, but that stuff is for snobs.)

The ultimate test of the house’s tininess, Smith said, is the fact that it fits in the back of a “regular van.” “The obvious retort is, ‘Why don’t you just stay in the van?'” Smith said. “But I say, ‘Who wants to live in a van? I don’t wanna live in a van. That’s tacky.’ You want a house that’s beautiful and functional.”

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Jeff Smith, “Smallest House in the World” (2016)
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Jeff Smith, “Smallest House in the World” (2016)
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Jeff Smith, “Smallest House in the World” (2016)

The Smallest House in the World is available for rent on Airbnb for $55 a night. 

h/t The Boston Globe

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