Living in 150 square feet doesn’t sound appealing to a lot of people, but for ultra-minimalists and those looking to pinch their pennies, downsizing their living space has been a liberating experience according to recent news stories over the past few years. With the rise of such couch-surfing/house rental sites such as AirBnB, micro-houses have also given property owners a way of turning a pretty penny with minimal upfront costs and zoning constraints. More recently, a pair of Dutch designers have created an open source micro-home building kit that allows user to create and download the plans for a micro-home…within a simple desktop app.

A Free DIY Housebuilding App

Perhaps inspired by the sometimes zigzag form of a hermit crab shell, the Hermit House makes use of a zigzag, folding structure floorplan with instructions so easy to understand, it makes an IKEA desk look like a chore. Similar to other micro-home floor plans, the interior is designed as a ‘spacious’ multipurpose open room with that can be modded to however a user sees fit.


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Designers Daniel Venneman and Mark van der Net designed the Hermit House for a University project with the motto “Life Unplugged” as an inspiration. Their goal? To give users a simple and affordable option to build a getaway home that would allow them to turn off their screens and ‘get away’ from the plugged-in outside world. Starting with a template that features an open room and a deck, a user has eight different options and various add-ons to choose from for their final design. Once inside of the app, a user can specify the open-structure’s entrance and back height and width, depth, segment size and roof angle.


Building Guide

Once a final design is determined by the user (which literally take seconds), an email is sent containing the following design instructions:

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We’d like to see some intersection/connection options for connecting multiple structures, but in the meantime if you’ve been considering that backyard wood shop, this might be a good option? Check out more and design your own plans over at Hermit House.

(Images via Hermit House)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.