4 Big Ideas From The Micro Showcase

This Washington, D.C.-based display uses tiny homes as a platform for making big strides in micro-living.

by Sarah Miller
PHOTO: Micro Showcase

For Brian Levy, the idea started out small: Build his dream house—one the size of his sister’s trailer coupled with the charm of his D.C. row house. The only problem? Zoning laws in D.C. prohibited him from inhabiting his sleek, no-loft home on wheels, dubbed the “Minim House.”

The question remained, after Levy had worked with talented builders and architects, what would become of his Minim creation? While his plans for the Minim have become wildly popular—even Intel recently purchased Levy’s Minim plans to make a smart house—Levy first had to decide what to do with his Minim.

Levy decided tiny home examples are everywhere—on Pinterest and reality television—but what if there was a place where you could step inside Minim and other mini units? Better yet, what if the space had an on-site urban garden/orchard and educational programs? A place to exchange ideas or engage with like-minded people on tiny-home legislation. Thanks to Levy, founder of Micro Showcase, a display of tiny houses, micro-technology and urban gardening based in Washington, D.C., now you can.

From urban farming to sustainable living, here are four great things you can learn about at the Micro Showcase.

1. Using Space Efficiently

The Minim tiny house shows how to use space efficiently.

The home that started it all, the Minim is an 11-by-22-foot trailer-based micro-home in Washington, D.C., that provides endless ideas for building your own tiny home:

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  • a rainwater capture/treatment system
  • a walnut desk that opens into a full-sized keyboard
  • a rollout full-sized bed (a variation from the traditional tiny home loft bed)

The Minim shows the grand possibilities of saving on space in your home, whether you decide to build a tiny home or not.

Aside from the Minim, Micro Showcase offers a look into how small, sustainable units can be used in urban environments. Take the 12-by-24-foot Studio Shed, an interesting step inside an airy, small space that can serve multiple purposes. Levy says the space is sustainably designed to fulfill many possibilities.

“[It’s] a backyard ADU (accessory dwelling unit), an art studio, a bike and repair shop, recording studio or meditation space,” he says.

Currently, the dwelling serves as an occasional massage studio or a writer’s office Levy adds. One hundred feet away visitors can also view two 45-foot shipping containers that are being used by Levy’s friend as a music studio.

2. Micro-Living As A Teaching Platform

Interested parties, including school groups, tour Micro Showcase to learn about sustainability and micro living. A local school teacher, Shelly Karriem of D.C.’s Cardozo High School was so inspired by the tour, she decided to launch an ambitious project—a student-produced tiny home with construction starting on site at Micro Showcase.

3. The Potential Of Urban Land

The Micro Showcase shows how it is possible to maximize urban land space for growing food.

With 15 different fruit trees, an herb garden and 10 raised vegetable garden beds, the Micro Showcase also offers an insider look at urban land potential. Levy followed all the guidelines to transform the urban space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat and a butterfly habitat certified by MonarchWatch.org. The space also has a bat house, hives for producing honey and green space for gathering.

4. Cultivating Community Talents

Levy is always quick to point out that Micro Showcase has always been a group effort, a place for like-minded individuals to gather. Local groups are free use the micro spaces. Many involved with Micro Showcase advocated for looser restrictions on tiny establishments and were successful. New legislation for D.C. tiny homes will change in the next six months.

Collaboration has always been the backbone of Micro Showcase. To meet some of their team visit their website.

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