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Book preview: Homes from Home

Why are small spaces are irresistible? There's something very satisfying about knowing everything has its place, that storage is clever and in use – not just filled up with crap because it's there and was once empty – and, like people, homes look cuter when they're little.

Image: Jacques Delacroix/Alain Dufour

Image: Jake Fitzjones/Claire Peter

Image: Getty

So I was very pleased when copy of a book on this very topic arrived in the post. Homes from Home by Times Magazine interiors editor, Vinnie Lee (Jacqui Small) is all about inventive small spaces. The theme is about holiday homes, though the way the housing market is right now, there are plenty of ideas for anyone simply feeling cramped in the tiny space they can afford to live in every day.

A flavour of the book above and, below, one of my favourites in the book.

Image: James Brittain/View (and below)
This narrow home inside a railway carriage is amazing. Cosy but not cramped and full of lovely details. Love how they've kept the original doors and signage.

The carriage was built in 1903 and was found in "a big, overground garden" in Dorset, where he was looking for a place to live at the time. From a shell with one cold tap and no loo the owner – author and broadcaster, Paul Atterbury – has restored and rebuilt the carriage, which measures just 35 feet long and just nine feet wide (or 10.5 metres by 2.75 metres). Dinky, innit?

There was some of the original mahogany panelling still intact, which you can see in places. Elsewhere, Paul used marine ply to plug the gaps. He also put in a wood-burning stove, hot water, a kitchen and eventually a proper bathroom. Then began the hunt for railway memorabilia at secondhand shops and auctions. And what a very good hoard. 

Home from Home: Inventive Small Spaces, From Chic Shacks to Cabins and Caravans, by Vinny Lee, is published by Jacqui Small, £30.

And for some more small space ideas, you might like this Barbican kitchen if you missed it last week or this unusual, compact holiday home.

Post by Kate

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