If you’ve ever watched cable TV or gone online, you’ve likely run into a cool phenomenon called the “tiny house movement” in which people move into houses smaller than 400 square feet.
Seeing the marvelous whiz bang designs for downsized living that people come up with is truly inspiring. But you know what’s even more amazing? One woman has taken the idea of “tiny” to a whole other level.
If you have a cool $3,000 (or so) lying around, you can own an exact tiny replica of your own home made out of LEGO. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, this is the coolest thing of 2018, you guys.
Shari Austrian runs a uniquely cool Etsy Shop called Little Brick Lane. She tells Babble that creating miniatures has been a lifelong passion, but it wasn’t until she became a mother and moved into a new house that her LEGO idea was sparked.
“My now 7-year-old twins, Emilia and Julian, reintroduced me to the joys of LEGO just as we were having our new home built in 2015,” Austrian explains. “I was fascinated by the large-scale design and construction of our home. I thought creating a small-scale LEGO model of our home would be a special present for our family and a celebration of our new life.”
While Austrian may not have considered this as much more than a fun time with a kid’s toy, friend and family had a whole other response.
Austrian tells Babble:
“The response to my first creation was overwhelming and it led to the development of my next three creations for family and friends. I just launched Little Brick Lane at the end of 2017 with the hopes of bringing the enjoyment of this whimsical art form into more peoples’ lives.”
Building an exact replica of anything, let alone the interior and exterior of a house takes extreme focus and attention to the smallest of details. So it is no wonder that Austrian’s projects take between 8 and 10 weeks to complete.
She first begins with analysis and conceptual design and then uses everything from architecture plans to photos to work up a design and calculate how many LEGO bricks, windows, doors, etc. she will need to complete a custom-ordered miniature of a client’s home.
There are many logistical problems to work through, but as Austrian tells Babble, “There are certainly challenging elements of the construction process, but this makes it all the more fun.”
Talk about impressive! The price for a custom creation might seem a little intense, but it’s not when you break down the math:
“My creations are priced as a multiple of the total square footage of the home I am modeling. A home with interior and exterior details costs $1.25 per square foot and a home with exterior-only details cost $0.75 per square foot, Austrian explains. “So, a 3,000 square foot home would cost $3,750.00 for interior and exterior details and $2,250.00 for exterior-only details. I have been asked why the cost of my creations is so expensive — it is a result of the materials I use. The average LEGO piece costs just over $0.10 and my models require tens of thousands of pieces.”
As for those tiny houses that are so popular these day, Austrian says, “I would love to build a tiny model of a tiny home! A miniaturist’s dream come true!”
Here’s hoping that Austrian gets a chance to work her magic on a tiny house soon.