A change is taking place all across the country and especially on the West Coast, a shift led by the younger generations. People who in years past might have headed for the suburbs are instead moving to the city or choosing not to leave. Many will live in apartments or condos. But in cities that have neighborhoods of detached dwellings (and most cities still do), people are buying, building, and fixing up little houses.
- Many people who already live in a little city house are staying put, remodeling perhaps, but not trading up or moving out.
- Others are building a little house in their backyard to serve as quarters for guests or extended family, or as a rental home for single people, couples, or small households, or even as an Airbnb for overnight visitors.
- A few intrepid souls are finding clever ways to fit a little house into novel spots in the city—building one on the rooftop of a warehouse, or repurposing an industrial structure, or transforming a two-car garage into a home.
The 35 houses featured range in size from 500 sq. ft. to 1,600 sq. ft. and include infill houses, remodels, and backyard dwellings from all across North America.
"The urban age is also an age of living smaller and smarter. More and more of us want to live in smaller homes in diverse, vibrant urban neighborhoods. Whether you're searching for your own small city house or you're a mayor, urbanist, or real estate developer looking to understand how the growing urban class wants to live, Marc Vassallo's Little House in the City is a great place to start."—Author of Rise of the Creative Class - Richard Florida
Dense, walkable urbanism is where it's at, and the small, smart, and stylish single-family homes featured in Little House in the City can help deliver it. As the need for more flexible, affordable, and sustainable housing solutions gets ever more pressing, we should all be advocating, as Marc Vassallo does so eloquently here, for better design not bigger footprints. I'd happily live in any house featured in Little House in the City—such an inspiration."—former Editor-in-Chief, dwell/contributing writer, The New York Times - Allison Arieff
"Little House in the City asks 'how much is enough' and powerfully demonstrates that less is often better."—environmental advocate/coordinator of the first Earth Day - Denis Hayes
"To reap the full benefits of compact cities, we must build upward, not outward—but we also must ask more of single-family neighborhoods. Building smaller houses on smaller lots and, with ADUs, putting two houses on a lot that used to have just one adds density without diminishing neighborhood character. Little House in the City is as much about this necessary paradigm shift as it is about good home design."—founder and executive director of Sightline Institute/author, Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Communities - Alan Durning
Marc Vassallo has spent over two decades in publishing and is former Editorial Director of The Taunton Press. His book The Barefoot Home was named Best Home & Garden Book of 2006 by Amazon.com. Vassallo has written for numerous magazines and literary journals and received a Fellowship in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Seattle with his wife and son. He is an avid backpacker, sea kayaker, and urban gardener.