A community of tiny, movable houses is taking shape a few miles north of the U.S. Capitol, on a triangular lot tucked behind traditional row houses and accessible only by alley. Called Boneyard Studios, it was conceived in 2011 by two tiny house enthusiasts—Brian Levy and Lee Pera. Lamenting the dearth of tiny houses (typically less than 400 square feet) in urban settings, the two joined forces to create a public demonstration site in Washington, D.C.
Although Levy and Pera, who were later joined by Jay Austin, are designing their little structures to meet their personal needs, they do not plan on living in them anytime soon—D.C. regulations currently forbid it. But all three hope that this demonstration site will encourage changes in local laws to permit smaller, more affordable living options here and on vacant land across the city. Their efforts reflect a growing interest nationwide in residential downsizing: just last summer, for example, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city will waive zoning requirements to allow for the construction of an apartment house featuring 275- to 300-square-foot micro-units.