Good Housing Comes in Small Packages
August 28, 2014

Real estate developer Patrick Kennedy prefers minimalism and efficiency. When he ends a phone conversation, he says, “Thanks, goodbye,” then hangs up. His email subject lines contain the actual message−no need to waste time opening the email. And his hobby? Ultra-lightweight backpacking, where you strip down to the absolute minimum of what you carry. As a developer and proponent of urban microapartments with his Berkeley-based company, Panoramic Interests, Kennedy is well aware that his hobby is a bit of a busman’s holiday version of his job.

“With ultra-light backpacking, you go through a deliberate process−trial, error, experience− to see exactly what you need and what you don’t need,” says Kennedy. “I go through the same process with the apartments.” Kennedy’s microapartments are indeed micro. The 23 units in his Harriet building in San Francisco’s SoMa district are only 295 square feet. But they are 295 incredibly well-designed, energy-efficient square feet.

“We don’t have a lot of extra unused space,” says Kennedy. “In fact, I like to think that there isn’t any wasted space in our units. At the same time, we want people to be comfortable. We want them to be able to carry out the usual apartment experience−have guests, host dinner parties, and things like that. We just want to be more clever in how we can figure out the space and furnish it, and do that in a smaller, and thus less expensive, space.”

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