Patrick Barta Photography

A new book about tiny houses sheds some light on one of biggest housing trends of the year. In Prefabulous Small Houses (Taunton Press, $32), Connecticut-based author Sheri Koones explores the benefits of small-scale, prefab construction.

In her new book, Koones details more than 30 prefab homes ranging in size from 350 to 2,000 square feet. Here, BUILDER talks with Koones, an expert on prefabrication, about what she discovered when doing research for the book.

What surprised you the most in researching projects for your book?
I was delighted to find that all of the home owners were enjoying living “small.” None of them expressed any remorse about lack of space. Several of the homeowners were downsizing and were enjoying the decrease in maintenance, decrease in heating and cooling costs and new space. I myself just moved to a much smaller house from a much larger one and can really appreciate the reduced work and coziness of a small house.

Sheri Koones
Sheri Koones

What should builders and architects consider when designing a smaller house?
They should encourage their clients to build better rather than larger. That would include more efficient heating and cooling systems, better insulation, and other upgrades that will make them more comfortable. Often people have rooms in their homes they don’t use. A well designed house can have fewer rooms that serve multiple purposes.

What are the benefits of a prefab, small house?
There are numerous benefits to living in a small house. Heating and cooling costs are reduced, maintenance is reduced, and there is a coziness about living in a smaller house. Smaller houses create a more intimate environment for the family.

What types of houses did you cover in your book?
This current book includes modulars, panelized, SIPs, timber frames, container houses, component houses, and a unique hybrid technique. In previous books I have also included prefabricated concrete components and log homes.

Are they similar in architectural style?
The houses in my books are quite diverse in style. Almost anything that can be built on site can be prefabricated. This book includes contemporary, traditional and unique styles.