BY NANCY HILLER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHANNON ZAHNLE
Small houses are in vogue. Google “small house trend” and you’ll discover page after page of stories and pictures of houses in all shapes and (small) sizes.
The smallest are tiny and portable; starting at 50 or so square feet, they serve as house-like campers or handy quarters for visiting family members. From there, sizes increase to houses that still seem tiny by contemporary U.S. standards, such as the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s “Sebastarosa,” with three bedrooms and a full bathroom in a mere 847 square feet. At the other end of the small-house spectrum are those designed by architect Sarah Susanka, whose series of The Not So Big House books have helped make small houses a mainstream phenomenon—even though some of Susanka’s “not so big” houses exceed 2,000 square feet.
Bloomington is well endowed with small houses in a rich variety of architectural styles. The most common—double pens, gable-ells, and bungalows—date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and as they predate the era of automobile-based sprawl, most are clustered near downtown.
Here we present three single-family homes, ranging from 750 square feet to just under 1,200. The first, built in 1993, is located near Spencer. The other two, built in the early 20th century, are in Bloomington.