The Very Small Home: Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Limited Space
By Azby Brown

(Kodansha, 111 pages)

For most Americans, the concept of "the very small home" means a house with only two bathrooms and yard big enough for a dog, but too small for a pool. Space is a luxury in Japan, where the confluence of population and limiting topography has jammed a whole bunch of people into a very compact area. Of course, the Japanese are nothing if not innovative and stylish, and this look at some bold architectural and design ideas proves that just because you live in a shoebox, it doesn't have to look like a shoebox. All of these homes breathe with a surprising openness, and are blessed with copious amounts of sunlight. Personal accumulation is kept to a minimum and stashed in inventive ways, so not only are these homes aesthetically pleasing, but they also insist that your home should not be defined by the amount of stuff you can pack into it.