Vestfrost Zhape ZZ324 M

Energy-efficient appliances: where to start? It’s a bit overwhelming at first. Began kind of randomly with fridge-freezer gear—preserving food by keeping it cold seems both essential and energy-expensive. The first promising company I run into is Vestfrost, a refrigeration specialist from Denmark. According to dealer literature, “these sleek and popular energy efficient refrigerators are suited for the off-grid home as well as the apartment dweller.” That sounds good! Their Zhape fridge+freezer line has a tiny fooprint of only 2’x2′ (60x60cm), burns about 1 kWh/day, and looks imposingly sleek. Freezer capacity is 3.7 cu ft (105l); the fridge is 7.7 cu ft (219l). Sounds great, but with all that high design and stainless steel, I’m wondering about the price tag! Ahh, US$1,400 (US$1,150 for white).

UPDATE 2016: Somewhere between then and now, this fine looking and well-regarded compact fridge seems to have been discontinued, while the manufacturer, Vestfrost, bought out by a Turkish company in 2008, still exists (focusing on biomedical, merchandising, and wine refrigeration, globally, as well as household appliances in Denmark, in case you wanted to know). Oh well…

MoCo tiny homes

Kithaus K3 installed at Big Sur, California

Tons and tons of impressively slick, green, expensive, clever takes on tiny living spaces… I’m spending hours going through the Architecture archive at MoCo Loco: The Modern Contemporary Design Blog, where high design and compact prefab homes are a central feature. In the pic, the K3 Modernist 9’x13′ prefab module from kitHAUS, installed at Big Sur, California. It’s pricey, starting at US$29,500 per unit (that’s 117 sq ft at around $250 per…), pretty typical of the cost of designer tiny homes. $250 sq ft is definitely not in the budget for this round… Still, lots of ideas and eyecandy—it’s all cool!

Living in a small space

A barn

Quite suddenly, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking seriously about living in a rather small space. Tiny farming leads to tiny living? Maybe… In any case, no worries. I’ve occupied relatively small spaces in big cities: typical apartment living. At the tightest, I’ve lived with a partner in a fairly tiny studio apartment, and I’ve shared homes with several roommates, where personal space meant hitting my bedroom. So it shouldn’t be such a leap to fit into a couple of hundred square feet… Right?! We’ll see…