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Microhome bordering the desert as refuge for writing

In Far West Texas, at the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, the little town of Marfa has served as an ideal setting for movies like Giant (1956) and No Country for Old Men and for artists looking for a refuge. Writer Clara Bensen cut short a road trip to settle here and create in solitude from a tiny, stacked home.

Her home, dubbed the “10 x 10 Lightbox” by its architect Candid Rogers, consists of two stacked boxes clad in Corten Steel (though never used for shipping). The bottom box holds an open kitchen/dining area backed by a bathroom. A nautical staircase leads up to the bedroom/study on the upper level.

At the edge of a stretch of empty desert, the tiny size might appear unnecessary but was designed to provide carefully orchestrated views of the vast expanses. Bensen treats the changing scenery as her television and documents the plants and wildlife (like rabbits, snakes, and javelina).

Bensen appreciates the focus and isolation her home brings to her work. She’s currently at work on her second book. Her first was a memoir, No Baggage, documenting her minimalist travels (from Istanbul to London with limited funds, no hotels, and only one outfit); it has been optioned as a movie with Shailene Woodley attached.