Living neat, sweet and succinct in L.A.'s teeny homes

In the realm of real estate, Los Angeles reigns as the land of big. But as the city becomes more crowded and home prices soar, smaller residences are increasingly treasured. Their popularity has been boosted by eco-friendly lifestyles and intersecting social trends: simplicity, minimalism and decluttering.

The so-called small-home movement breaks down like this: tiny homes (wonders of ingenious ergonomics) are considered to be less than about 500 square feet, while merely small homes are under about 1,000 square feet. Both categories are forever tied to a string of adjectives: cute, charming, adorable, enchanting.

We searched local listings to find these little gems, all less than 1,000 square feet — well below the median size of a new single-family home sold in America: 2,520 square feet.

8419 Rosewood Ave., West Hollywood

Pamela Mullin's 1935 West Hollywood home.
Pamela Mullin's 1935 West Hollywood home. (Sean Garrison / Shooting LA)

Two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms in 995 square feet


This 1935 home is styled after a French country cottage and trimmed with a scalloped white brick wall — reason enough for Pamela Mullin to snatch it off the market five years ago.

“My favorite part is the indoor-outdoor flow — almost every room looks out onto a terrace of some sort,” Mullin said. “It easily lends itself to entertaining. You can move seamlessly from the indoor to outdoor dining tables.”

Both bedrooms and the dining room open onto the outdoor spaces: a deck and brick patio, set with a built-in barbecue. “Every room fits together perfectly in such a small space,” said her son, real estate agent Tim Mullin.

Other standouts include the living room’s handsome wood-burning fireplace, the kitchen’s new stainless-steel appliances and skylights in the living room and master.

“This house has never seemed too small for me and my dogs — or boyfriend,” Pamela Mullin said. “I will miss how cozy the house is. It was my happy place.”

Tim Mullin of Partners Trust holds the listing. 

1519 Cabrillo Ave., Venice

Lauren Siegel's Venice beach cottage.
Lauren Siegel's Venice beach cottage. (Nate Polta)

Two bedrooms, two bathrooms in 984 square feet

$1,995 million

Lauren Siegel brightened up this 1939 Venice beach cottage after buying it last year, exposing high-pitched wood ceilings. She removed overgrowth from eight skylights, washing the home with natural light.

Located one block from Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the home has been a study in modern bohemian living, with its redwood deck that straddles a converted two-car garage and the home’s open floor plan.

“I’m a big fan of small spaces,” said Siegel, who with her two teenage daughters is moving on to similar smaller digs. “It’s drawn us all together; there’s less chance of disappearing behind closed doors.”

Siegel painted the home’s nondescript exterior navy blue to draw the focus to the cheery deck and bright interiors. She renounced the front entry, instead channeling traffic through a side gate and around the house to the deck, set with a 1960s cone-shaped orange fireplace.

Other features include upscale Viking and LG appliances, and a stainless-steel Bosch dishwasher.

Kerry Ann Sullivan of Halton Pardee + Partners holds the listing.

6009 Meridian St., Highland Park

Charisse Cardenas' Highland Park home.
Charisse Cardenas' Highland Park home. (Charmaine David)

Two bedrooms, one bathroom in 935 square feet


Built on a slope, this 1925 Spanish-style home nearly doubles its living space with outdoor terraced gardens and lounge areas.

“I’ve always held holiday dinners out there,” said Charisse Cardenas, who renovated the backyard two years after purchase. “Somehow, we always end up outside.”

The home contains a basement — a rarity in Los Angeles — which Cardenas redesigned as her office space after moving in. She exposed the area’s rough wood beam ceiling and laid the floor with sea grass carpet. Two narrow windows let in ample light.

Cardenas initially planned on moving the laundry, ingeniously built into the kitchen’s cabinetry topped by marble, but “it become so awesome to have it here — efficient,” said Cardenas, who has owned the home for a decade. Dark-stained hardwood floors are found throughout the home.

Decorating a smaller home is “more manageable,” she added. “I was able to choose quality things. A small home forces you to keep only the things you really love.”

Alison and Jason Huddy of Sotheby’s Los Feliz hold the listing.

7714 Waring Ave., Melrose Village

A 1928 Spanish bungalow in Melrose Village.
A 1928 Spanish bungalow in Melrose Village. (Val Riolo)

Two bedrooms, two bathrooms in 908 square feet


Walk into this 1928 Spanish bungalow and you can’t help but look up — to a vaulted living room ceiling set with polished wood beams. A skylight and oversized square pane window flood the room with light.

“The home has excellent use of space,” real estate agent Leslie Romenesko said. “To offer a two-bedroom open floor plan with a dining room, and all in 908 square feet — it’s pretty amazing.”

The living room’s floors are constructed from reclaimed bridge trusses. A walled-off fireplace is corner-set, capped by a sloping rise and inset with a niche. A granite-topped wet bar is on the opposite side of the room.

The kitchen features a farmhouse sink and a Spanish-tile floor. One bedroom is narrow; the other is square.

A slender deck traverses one side of the house, and two similar side spaces are set with pebbles.

“It’s like a little dollhouse,” Romenesko said.

Leslie Romenesko of Keller Williams holds the listing.


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