We loved Small House Living Australia

The small house movement has become slightly frustrating as it has gained in popularity over the years, because some of its architectural gems have turned out to be the very thing they were designed to replace: aspirational, luxurious and out of reach for the average Aussie.

At first glance, Small House Living Australia might seem like yet another celebration of unattainable architectural loveliness. It’s a collection of stunning images of beautiful buildings that most people dream of living in. 

But on a closer read, it is in fact a refreshingly practical book, featuring buildings that regular people not only love to live in but can also reasonably afford. 

Looking beyond the wealthy retreats in gorgeously remote locations (although it includes some of those, too), Catherine Foster presents a diverse range of unique buildings including family homes, granny flats and studio-workshops in familiar suburban or inner-city locations.

All genuinely small, and often working with limited budgets, these buildings are indeed (as the publisher says) “celebrations in built form of lives lived well, with less”. 

Reflective of this approach, Foster also has a refreshingly unpretentious writing style. Her descriptions of the spaces are evocative, supporting the imagery well. But they are also incredibly useful, with practical information about each building’s details and finishes. Floor plans of the spaces are provided too. All this information makes you feel you could put down the book and pick up a pencil to design your own small place.

The result is that, unlike many publications in this genre, Small House Living Australia is much more inspirational than aspirational. After many hours spent leafing through this lovely book, owning a well-designed small home feels attainable after all.

To show our love for small houses, we're giving away one copy of this great book on Valentine's Day. Please just email to enter. Competition drawn 14 February, 2018.