Photos by Matthew Williams for dwell.
Lately I’ve done a lot more thinking about small space living, whether it’s our master bedroom (which is now an office/workspace as well, though still unfinished) or the general lack of space for anything in our home, it’s been on my mind frequently. I came across the home above in dwell magazine about a family of 3 living in 675 square feet and I have to say I was very inspired. Their remodel and creative use of space is so intentional and functional, that when paired with the simple finishes and aesthetic of their home leaves my jaw on the floor. I’ve started to think about better ways to use the space in our home, including any problem areas we have and how to make them work better for our needs.
We’ve been in the same house for 6 years and the space has evolved quite nicely to accommodate our decor changes and expanding family. My workflow for decorating has been a very practical approach, finding problems and seeking out an appropriate solution. My husband likes to joke that we play musical furniture in our house, but I like to refer to it as ‘problem solving’. Our three main issues reside in the Master Bedroom / Office, The Hallway, and the Garage/Mancave/Studio. I don’t feel like our house is small but at 1300 square feet with 4 people and 3 animals in it, it sure can feel that way sometimes.
Our Master Bedroom/Office (or Cloffice, for closet office) combo is a decent size but has an odd layout. At the root of the problem is that our boys have their own rooms. They are 8.5 years apart and need their own private space to stay sane, it is really a necessity. It does displace my main workspace to our bedroom, which really has no room for it. I built a closet nook for our desk and relocated our closet to behind our bed. I’ve yet to share photos of it because I don’t feel that it’s finished enough to share. I keep rearranging and cleaning out but progress remains slow. Hopefully soon I will be able to complete it and share a more finished room.
The Hall Closet is another pain point for me, as there is adequate storage space but it is not configured in the most optimal way. There is a generously sized closet for linens with odd shelf sizes and no room to close off the washer and dryer. Instead of fighting with it, I’ve done my best to make it look nice. I’d love to reconfigure the shelving inside the hall closet to have even spaces between shelves and matching depth. Currently stored on the shelf side of it is linens, games, a suitcase, craft & art supplies, and an extra light shade. It’s not pretty. I’d love to clean out and relocate some of that to a more useful area like the living room, and keep it as a linen and laundry closet.
In the Studio (semi-finished garage), is my photography equipment, a treadmill, anything else in limbo, and it serves as my husbands dronecave (like a mancave, but with drones). It needs a major overhaul, clean out, and reconfiguration of space. It is only semi-finished so we can’t work out there on a regular basis, even if I’d love to. It has electricity and finished flooring and walls but lacks central heat like the rest of the house. The cold can be pretty unforgiving to our computers and other sensitive electronics, so we don’t want to put them at-risk.
As far as making progress with my goal of being in total zen with this house, I have a little 3-step-process I’ve been using and plan to continue to do so.
- Identify the problem.
- Consider the solutions.
- Choose one and go for it.
I know it sounds very scientific, so don’t try to think about it for too long. If I’ve learned anything by playing musical furniture for the last 6 years, it’s that houses don’t reorganize or clean out themselves (boo). My absolute best spot of advice, I learned from Marie Kondo. Store all items of the same type in one spot! How simple is that? It not only makes it easy to see what you have, but it makes it easy to find and organize everything as well. There are plenty of other tips on how to best organize a small space, and Camille Styles has a great post on how to make a smaller space look larger with a few simple tricks.
All in all, my biggest goal is to live with (and be content) with less. Do you have any small space living goals or challenges? I’d love to hear how you are working to or were able to overcome them.
All photos Copyright Matthew Williams for dwell.