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Seattle architect builds simple tiny home inspired by own bio

Architect George Suyama wonders if his early years in a Japanese American internment camp led to his love for simplicity. “My theory is that we had nothing there so I became obsessed with little things.”

“I was at a camp in Idaho called Minidoka and it was a tarpaper barracks. They were long shed buildings, I don’t know how many families lived in them, you had one window and a stove area and there were curtains that separated one family from another. Maybe because there was nothing there that I wanted to make everything as simple as I could.”

For five years, he and his wife lived in a tiny 500-square-foot fishing shack in West Seattle. When they bought the narrow lot next door, they wanted to recapture that simplicity.

Determined not to remove a single tree, Suyama designed a home 18-feet-wide. To reduce the visual noise of the home the walls, roof, ceiling, floor are all one color (matching the surrounding trees). The only exception is a white box that runs nearly the length of the home which houses the service elements- kitchen, bathroom, stairs and bedroom- and a loft.