Small Space Architect Transformed His Own ‘Shell’ of a Home With Scraps and ‘Wabi Sabi’ Principles
Tim Seggerman as an architect seems to not only talk the talk in the homes he builds, but walks the walk in his own.
The home of the Brooklyn-based architect was recently featured by Fair Companies, the same website covering much of the tiny house movement and other unique home design features. He explained in the video feature how he got his house for “nothing.” Well, not quite nothing. After a night camping out near city hall, he bought the house for $140,000 at auction — $14,000 was his down payment. But the house itself wasn’t quite complete either.
Seggerman said it was “just a shell.” But it’s a shell with barely a roof that he put his then life-savings into and spent the next couple decades transforming it as the need arose.
Because he left the auction with not a penny to his name since it all went to the down payment, he said that much of the house in its current state is put together from scraps left over from other jobs he was on as a home builder at the time.
“That’s what you do when you’re building a house on the fly,” he said, pointing out his repurposed mahogany wood table compared to his cheap wood flooring.
Throughout the tour, Seggerman showed off furniture and home design elements that he made by hand, mostly from scraps. One of these are two window doors inside the house made from the wood of the barn at his childhood home.
“I don’t like fancy materials at all,” he said. But wood is favored by him. “It’s by far the best material — nothing comes closer.”
Several elements about wood, including its imperfections, are why Seggerman prefers it. Fair Companies has more on Seggerman’s design philosophy:
He believes in taking his time to build and that a home is never finished. It’s an idea embraced by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi: everything is impermanent, unfinished and imperfect. In Seggerman’s home cables and pipes are uncovered and molding has been removed to leave the caulk line visible.
“The idea of being unfinished is very important. Houses are there to be lived in. They’re there to be personal expressions of people. So many architects you’re dealing with fine lines and everything is precise, insanely precise, but you know that in reality, you get out and there are so many things that go on. You can build it perfectly and it might look nice today, but you have to allow for life.”
Watch the house tour:
Seggerman has also been known to made good use of tiny spaces. In 2012, he showcased a 180-square-foot apartment he redid in New York City. He was also featured in Dwell magazine recently for a slightly larger space — 24o square feet — in New York City’s Upper West Side that he was able to make more functional by crafting it like a “jewel box.” Believe it or not, there’s even a washing machine in this tiny space. See the slideshow of pictures here.
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