Financial freedom, sustainability and energy efficiency are driving a fascinating trend in several countries, including the US and Japan. People are downsizing - and when we say downsizing, we don't mean from a four-bed to a two-bed! We're talking DOWNSIZING - to something the size of a garden shed.
When we look at countries like Japan, where the population is huge and land size small, this makes perfect sense. But what is driving the US to do this?
In the news
Americans are classing a tiny house as under 500 square feet. In the news last week was a family in Minnesota - comprising mum, dad, two children and a dog - has just moved into a home measuring 207 square feet. They previously lived in a home of around 2000 square feet.
They say they made the move because they were constantly struggling to keep up with the mortgage - and the upkeep.
Changing the rules
Another attraction, of course, is the low cost of such small homes. Many US planning authorities have now amended their building codes to allow, and encourage, this move, and entire 'suburbs' of tiny houses are popping up.
There is even a Facebook page entitled Tiny House Build, to "inspire, empower and help those wanting to make the switch to a simpler and tiny life", and workshops taking place around the country to help people on their way.
In Japan, around 70% of the country's total landmass is unsuitable for building, due to sprawling forests and mountains. But there is still the dream to own one's own home. And remember, Japan's population is more than 127 million!
As our picture shows, this has prompted some incredible micro home designs.
YOU TELL US!
Could you live in a house this small?