Book Review: Convertible Houses

TreeHugger often shows designs of loft beds, sliding walls, convertible and transformer furniture, ways to get more use and out of the same space; We love showing how one can live perfectly well with less.

Amanda Lam and Amy Thomas and have put it all into a wonderful new book, Convertible Spaces. From Hong Kong to Paris, Belgium to America, they demonstrate how great designers get more from less.

Some examples are elaborate and expensive, like the Nendo's Drawer House in Tokyo; some have been seen everywhere, like Dan Hisel's Z box; others are new, ingenious and cheap. I loved "living on wheels" -the loft where everything is convertible and on wheels and nothing attached to the walls; the authors point note that "when the solution is the furniture instead of the home, you can take everything with you when you move." there are pages and pages of examples of ways to live with less space.

A third of the book is devoted to "successful strategies for getting more out of your blueprint" showing myriad movable walls, platforms and mezzanines, and multiuse rooms. The section on convertible furniture shows many new pieces, including Shin Azumi's great chair that turns into a table.

If you want lots of ideas for dealing with small spaces, this book is a keeper. ::Convertible Houses available at ::Ballenford
drawer house closed

drawer house open

Blurb from dust jacket:

Trading up in real estate doesn't always mean adding square footage. In fact, more often than not, adding extra space isn't an option. That's where convertible design can go a long way. With a total of 950 square feet between them, authors Amanda Lam and Amy Thomas have mastered the essential tricks of maximizing their living spaces. In Convertible Houses, they guide you through dozens of examples of homes that uniquely accommodate multiple functions within a finite amount of space. Creative design and flexible space planning can make your square footage work twice as hard, no matter where you live. Renowned architects and creative homeowners from around the world share successful strategies for convertible living, from foldaway kitchens to foldout offices, from swiveling walls to cantilevering lofts, from one-room urban studios to palatial countryside homes. The examples in Convertible Houses offer professional insights, layman's tips, and plenty of inspiration. Through a mixture of color photography, floor plans, renderings, and engaging text, you'll see how convertible features can add more versatility to your living space. But what if you're not ready to hire a contractor and overhaul your home? Even if you don't have the budget to make architectural changes, Convertible Houses covers plenty of quick and easy changes you can make in an afternoon, or a weekend, to pack more functionality into your home. When Amy Thomas was growing up, her father, an interior designer, was constantly knocking down walls in their homes and rebuilding them so they were more functional-and more fabulous. These were lessons Amy carried with her when she bought her first apartment. Now living in Manhattan, she writes about everything from local design to international travel for publications such as CITY, Bust, Lucky, Metro newspaper and others. Amanda Lam honed her love for design and architecture during her time as the managing editor of CITY magazine. Four years ago, she relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to New York City, where she became intimately familiar with the challenges of one-space living in a 436-square-foot studio apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Amanda attended Stanford University, where she received her BA in Communication and her MA in Sociology.

Tags: Living With Less

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