Stacked 10×10 sturdy home for West Texas voluntary isolation

In Far , at the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, the little town of 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, .

Her home, dubbed the “10 x 10 Lightbox” by its architect , 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, “”, 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.

On *faircompanies:


  1. Cool house, but I feel like it could use its space a bit better. And I can’t tell if this gentrifier is self aware or not, but either way just glad they are starting to move to the desert instead of the city. I hope that catches on!

  2. We’ll done Kirsten!! love your content. And ways of seeing. So many. Alternative living spaces 🙏. Keep. Up the great. Work

  3. It’s OK. I’m just wondering why if they were so ‘conscious of the landscape and terrain’…they didn’t imbed a proper stone foundation and build an adobe home instead. West Texas IS the Chihuahuan Desert, so adobe is the appropriate material to use.

  4. i cover a full page with my amateurish doodles & xerox it on yellow cardstock. then, i tack it to TELEPHONE POLES with money/(to feed the homeless!) hidden on the backside with a color paper clip. (the paper clip suggest to passers-by there may be something tucked behind the art!)….. i noticed you have telephone pole in Marfa! 🙂

  5. Hey did anyone notice all of the urban assault vehicles for the military going by on the back of the train? I wonder what that’s about? Hmmmm…

  6. I get that those two houses were built for a get away, and I like the function of them for that, but why do so many people build tiny and forget comfort? Don’t people want to relax on their getaway?
    Those 4 chairs and table are movable, and it’s great to have a flexible space, but it’s not comfortable for sitting for long. She even said it, only the bed is comfortable for seating. The next step up people will have chairs/tables like that, but add only a few inches of foam padding, still not that comfortable. I guess i value comfort, and if I build tiny it’ll have comfort as a focus!

    • With that weather you spend most of the time outside. I’d even sleep outside in the summer, or at least open the window completely, and just put an insect screen in. With that large window you can easily lay and read comfortably in bed, in winter. Or have a winter barbeque and still stay outside in winter. It’s a habit specific only to crowded, noisy, polluted cities to spend lots of time indoors. Spending time outside is so much more relaxing and energizing and sort of rejuvenating than indoors comfort, which only makes you soft and weak and lethargic.

  7. Interesting story of how she wound up in Marfa. The size of the home for me would be fine. What I would struggle with a bit is the lack of what I would consider comfortable seating in the interior of the home with just small wood cubes to sit on. I’m actually quite curious about her book and how she travelled with just one outfit. Pretty quirky. Would also be curious to know how her partner manages to live there full-time. She’s a writer so can be anywhere, but what does he do?

  8. I’m Australian and think this is an extreme environment critter wise! I really do love the home and the concept. An extra module with the middle semi-enclosed would be fantastic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.