The Pico Dwelling is a 182 square foot micro apartment in Seattle. It’s the home and creation of Steve Sauer, an engineer with experience designing aircraft interiors for Boeing. The original space was a storage unit in a basement of a 100+ year old building. About ten years ago Steve bought the room as a storage unit but was drawn to the challenge of making it livable.
Seattle permits some very small spaces, but Steve’s place was even smaller than that. After completing the project he worked with the city to make it legal, which sounds like a long and risky path but one that ended in success.
The old building and the lucky positioning of existing pipes provided the necessary plumbing, ventilation, and heating. His heat is a bit unconventional. The building is still heated by steam and a steam pipe runs right through his apartment and puts off a lot of heat. To make the room comfortable Steve insulated it and built a wood box around it. Now it looks as if it belongs and provides just the right amount of radiant heat.
Like with most tiny interiors, built-in cabinetry and furnishings need to be custom built. Steve leveraged IKEA for a lot of his raw materials, not using off-the-shelf items as they were intended but for their parts – wood, glass, steel. He found he could craft the items he needed from these parts at a lower cost than having them custom made. He also used his DIY skills to fabricate much of what you see inside.
Steve’s place is clearly a labor of love. The money he saved was probably spent – so to speak – in the time and effort it took to build the home and make it legal. I’m not sure this is a route most folks would choose but Steve seems quite happy in his unique tiny home, and it’s an excellent example of how persistence and ingenuity can solve most challenges.
Great work Steve! Thanks to Kirsten for sharing this on FairCompanies.com!
Excellent video showing what can be done with a small space. Lucky he finally received a C.O. from the City. Thanks for posting this!
Very inspiring to see what a fantastic space was created
Inspiring! I’ve lived comfortably in a 12×20 off grid cabin and a 280 sf houseboat. I’m feeling a bit lost in my 1300 sf bungalow. My next project is a tiny home, built on my 14×20 floating platform on Humboldt Bay. I’ve been thinking high ceiling, (10’+) for the added overhead space. I love your material choices. Terrific ideas. Great video. Thanks!