The 388-Sq.-Ft. Beach House

Recession means shrinkage all around -- including where your getaways are concerned. Enter the "beach chalet" in a box.

In this time of economic apocalypse, those sprawly McMansions on the water just seem gaudy, you know? Besides, you're going to the beach to get away from your daily life -- not just have doubles of everything you have at home. (At least that's how we see it. Probably because we can't afford a McMansion on the water.)

If IKEA ever decided to make prefab beach cottages that you could assemble yourself, they might look a bit like London designer Nina Trolstrup's 388-square-foot "beach chalet." The concept is genius, in that it reduces your beach time to a few essential activities: eat and drink (there's a fully equipped galley kitchen), sleep (based on the gallery on Trolstrup's Studiomama company website, the house sleeps five), view (the entire back of the cottage is window, which opens up onto a small deck), and play (we can picture riotous games of poker around that eight-seater table). Did we mention there's a wood burning-fireplace? Uh-huh.

With built-ins galore (much like those on a boat), every square inch of this cottage is used to maximize space. Really, it's roomier than some New York apartments we've been in -- and better laid-out, too.

And think of how little waterfront property you'd have to own to make your beach-house dreams come true. And it's not just the spatial footprint that's light -- the chalet is made of fully sustainable materials.

As soon as we score said waterfront plot, we're totally calling Nina up. (A person can dream, no?). Check out the beach chalet at Bright and Spacious.

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