Here’s a clever and worthwhile idea.

Early next year, Lowe’s, the home improvement chain, is to begin selling two “Katrina Cottages” as kits.

Marianne Cusato, of New York City, is the architect behind the design.

A buyer will be able to acquire everything needed to build a house, from the ceiling trusses down to the last can of paint, in a single transaction. Prices will begin at about $45 a square foot, or $27,000 for the smallest cottage, according to Jennifer Wilson, a spokeswoman for Lowe’s, which is based in Mooresville, N.C.

The prices do not include the foundation or heating and cooling equipment, which vary too much from place to place to be included in the kits, according to David Steed, Lowe’s senior vice president for merchandising of building materials.

Lowe’s will initially market four of what it calls “Lowe’s Katrina Cottages�; two were designed by Ms. Cusato. One is 544 square feet and the other is 936. The smaller of the two has a pair of bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room and a kitchen on one floor; Ms. Cusato said she imagines it as “an accessory building or clustered in a village.�

The larger of the two has a separate dining room and a second story containing two bedrooms and one bathroom; it can be expanded later with an add-on master bedroom suite. Both cottages have 9-foot ceilings, which Ms. Cusato said is important not only for aesthetics, but for air flow.

These homes will be used as temporary and permanent housing for victims of the disaster, instead of trailer homes, which were used in the past.

By the way, Ms. Cusato’s New York City apartment, in Greenwich Village, measures 11 feet by 28 feet.

Perhaps that was her inspiration?

I love the idea. I think it could be used in whole new ways. Of course, a lot of the cost of a home is the land. This doesn’t solve that problem. Plus, how good can the construction be, really? Still, perhaps there are other uses for this.

Complete story: Living Small, but Living Well – By Fred A Berstein, The New York Times