Ever been to IKEA and seen those micro-home displays, where an entire household is fitted out in half the space of a two-car garage? Scandinavians are known for their skilled use of space, but apparently starting this past July Sweden has been allowing landowners to build tiny rental cottages in their gardens without need for planning permission. Called attefallshus, they can have a footprint of no more than 25 square meters (about 270 square feet) and a height of no more than four meters (about 13 feet). The program is a response to a chronic housing shortage and steeply rising rents and house prices.
I tried to find information on the attefallshus program, but couldn’t find much of anything in English. However there are loads of images to be found on the web, some of which are included in the gallery here. Since the program has only been around since July many of the examples look like computer models or architectural concepts; time will tell how many of these are built. But for the Dwell set here in the US who warm to all things modern and pre-fab, this could be the next new thing. Many of us have at certain times of our lives been in the position to be able to live in this sized space, including myself when I rented a tiny cottage in Mill Valley that was about this size. Indeed, a little cottage like this could even seem luxurious compared to sharing an apartment with roommates.
So I’ll be interested to see how this program plays out. Here in California the state has required municipalities to allow accessory dwellings as of right, but even with those provisions there has not been a rush to build. An individual homeowner may have other priorities other than developing their property, and even if they were interested they’d be weighing the possibility against loss of garden space. Many municipalities also require an additional parking space to be provided for the second unit, which can make a potential project infeasible on smaller lots. I’m not sure the parking requirement would be applicable in Sweden, but the other factors would be. Stay tuned, and in the meantime if anyone finds an article on attefallshus please send it my way.