2018 has been a big year for small living and we've seen some firms trying to stand out in a crowded market by fitting their models with clever space-saving ideas and novel technology. Featuring raising roofs, motorized beds, and larger models that offer as much living space as a city apartment but on wheels, here's our pick of the best tiny houses of the year.

In no particular order, let's dive straight in. More information, and more photos, on each project can be seen in our gallery.

La Tête dans les étoiles

La Tête dans les étoiles (or Head in the stars) is an unusual tiny house topped by a roof that can be manually slid open when the weather is nice to open up the bedroom to the elements.

The home is designed by French firm Optinid and measures 7.2 m (23.6 ft)-long. It has a small terrace and its interior is split into a living area with daybed and office desk, dining area, kitchenette, and bathroom. The home gets power from a roof-based solar panel array and a rainwater capture system is installed too.

Devasa

This model from Tiny Houses NYC has a roof that slides upwards at the push of a button. The idea is that the Devasa is easy and legal to tow when its roof is lowered, but when parked up, the additional ceiling height offers lots of headroom.

The Devasa measures 23.5 ft (7.16 m)-long and has an interior comprising roughly 300 sq ft (28 sq m) of floorspace. This is divided into a snug living room area near the entrance, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The upstairs hosts two bedrooms.

Ecocapsule

Ecocapsule's eponymous tiny house is an unusual egg-shaped micro-dwelling that measures 4.67 x 2.2 m (15 x 7.2 ft), with an interior floorspace that's just 8.2 sq m (88 sq ft).

Inside, the pod looks better suited as a weekend getaway rather than a full-time home. It has a bed and a cramped camper van-style bathroom, kitchenette, a seating area, desk, and storage space. The Ecocapsule gets power either from a standard grid hookup or can run off-the-grid with a combination of solar panels and wind turbines. An integrated rainwater collection system is also installed.

Orchid Tiny House

New Frontier Tiny Homes' Orchid Tiny House is the luxury tiny house firm's take on a contemporary farmhouse. It measures 32 ft (9.7 m)-long and has a total floorspace of 310 sq ft (28.7 sq m).

The home's interior opens up to the outside with a garage-style lifting door and the area also has a particularly nice solid walnut sofa that pulls out into a bed. Elsewhere is a raised dining and kitchen area, a spacious bathroom, and a sleeping loft reached by ladder. The home can be optionally upgraded to run off-the-grid with a composting toilet and solar panel setup.

The Urban Payette with Elevator Bed

No prizes for guessing the standout feature in the Urban Payette with Elevator Bed. The home saves space with a bed that moves up and down on a motorized platform, turning a living room space into a bedroom at the flick of a switch.

The Urban Payette with Elevator Bed measures 28 ft (8.5 m)-long, with a total floorspace of 344 sq ft (32 sq m). Elsewhere in the tiny house lies a kitchen, bathroom, and another sleeping area accessed by storage-integrated staircase. It can also run off-the-grid with optional solar panels and composting toilet.

A45

As its name suggests, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is usually associated with large-scale projects but the firm dipped a toe into the small living movement with the A45 cabin.

A45's triangular form is inspired by the classic A-frame cabin and offers a maximum ceiling height of 13 ft (4 m) and a total interior floorspace of 183 sq ft (17 sq m). Inside it includes a kitchenette, dining area, downstairs bed and upstairs bedroom. The home also has a bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. This one can run on or off-the-grid.

Denali XL

The Denali XL supersizes what is already one of the larger tiny homes on the market. Designed by Timbercraft Tiny Homes, the home measures a massive 42 ft (12.8 m)-long, with a total floorspace of roughly 400 sq ft (37 sq m).

The Denali XL retains the attractive cottage-like styling of its smaller namesake and is clad in board and batten siding. The interior is very spacious, with a relatively large living room, kitchen with two breakfast bars, and bathroom with steam shower. Surprisingly, the Denali XL has just one bedroom, but it's large and has headroom to stand up straight in. The home gets power from a standard RV-style hookup.

Draper

Two major challenges of downsizing are storage space and entertaining guests. Land Ark RV's new model, the Draper, is well designed for both. The home measures 30 ft (9.1 m)-long and has a total floorspace of 300 sq ft (28 sq m).

The Draper's exterior sports a hardwood deck that's lowered and raised with a hand-operated winch. Inside, it has a mud room, kitchen, living/guest room that can be partitioned with a curtain, bathroom, and sleeping loft. There's lots of storage in this model, with many little nooks and cubbies hidden around the home. It runs from a standard hookup.

Ébène

Quebec's Minimaliste produces tiny houses that can withstand Canada's brutal winter weather, including the Ébène. Measuring 36 ft (11 m)-long, it has a floorspace of 360 sq ft (33 sq m), which is split between a living room/dining area dominated by a large L-shaped modular sofa, dining area that seats six, bathroom, and two bedroom lofts.

Interestingly, the Ébène keeps toes toasty with a hydronic underfloor heating system that's powered by electricity and controlled by thermostat. Minimaliste also added efficient heat exchangers and an electric fire. Though we've no word on this particular model's insulation, Minimaliste's homes are typically rated to handle temperatures as low as minus 40° C (- 40° F).

True Studio

This attractive shipping container-based tiny house named True Studio can be outfitted with optional extras, including full off-grid functionality and smart home tech.

The True Studio is designed by Modern Dwellings and is based on a standard shipping container. Its exterior is enlivened with a slatted metal facade and the interior measures 160 sq ft (14.8 sq m), with a living/sleeping area, kitchenette, dining area, and bathroom. One side of the container home opens up to the outside and it runs on or off-the-grid. Optional upgrades include a voice-controlled smart home system, rainwater collection, and radiant underfloor heating.

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