It’s been almost three months since move-in, so now might be a good time to report preliminary results in my micro-living experiment.

Living small definitely has its benefits, but I can’t say it’s all easy. After living in such a tiny space, I suspect a small space would feel just about right.

One of my readers commented that many Americans have more space and stuff than they need. I’m down with downsizing but I suspect we need a reasonable amount of space for basic comfort.

Divide and Design

I’m not at all opposed to studio living; in fact, I think I like it. But I think I’d prefer a larger, dividable space. My studio is so tiny that dividing the space into different areas or zones is not possible or advisable—I want my limited space to feel as open and airy as possible. But I may partition it at some point to test my theory.

The studio is also a bit awkward in layout and configuration. It’s an end unit on an irregularly shaped lot, so all of the walls are at a slant, which contributes to my space issues.

The Envelope Please

My not-so-scientific conclusion is that the average downsizer might want to start with a minimum of 400 square feet. Some people are content with less space, such as this New York City architect living and working in 78 square feet. But I suspect that many of us lack that kind of discipline. And “New York small” is probably different than “everywhere else small.”

But, I haven’t completed all my space-saving projects or found all the right multipurpose furniture. Will I feel differently when I’m done? I don’t know. Stay tuned.

 

News flash: The Tiny Apartment’s affinity for small things does not extend to bridges over large bodies of water.

On my maiden crossing of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, I shuddered at the side-by-side contrast of the new and old bridges. With the creaky old bridge looming next to the new one, I peered into a dark and distant past that in actuality was only last week. Were people actually driving over that matchstick construction as recently as a week ago?

Believe it or not, my tiny kitchen lost six linear inches of counter and cabinet space. I had to agree to this to get a new refrigerator. As you know, I had hoped to add counter and cabinet space, not remove it. It seems irony was just waiting to pounce on The Tiny Apartment’s weakest point.

My old 20-inch Frostman refrigerator was a disaster. It froze things in the fridge section and, living up to its name, covered everything in the freezer with a layer of frost. I kept the temp high so it wouldn’t freeze everything in the fridge, but then everything in the freezer didn’t freeze.

Photo of the sink before the new fridge was installed.

My dish rack before the new fridge. How spacious!

Apparently, 20-inch fridges are a thing of the retro past. To fit a new 24-inch frost-free fridge, the crew had to saw away part of the surrounding cabinet. Ouch! That hurts in a kitchen this size. And now I have to move everything around because the counter that held my dish rack has vanished. Losing that little counter space has thrown off the entire kitchen layout.

On the bright side, I have a functioning refrigerator, albeit bigger than I need, and now I can keep ice cream in the freezer. I guess my days of single-serving pints are over. As they should be.

Photo of sink and new fridge minus the left counter space and dish drainer.

Oh no! No more tiny counter space to hold the tiny dish rack. C’est la vie!

While pondering my kitchen space problems, I stuck a small shelving unit on top of the counter to simulate open shelving. I tried it on a whim and kept it as a fun interim solution. But new developments have brought unexpected changes to my little kitchen and these shelves are now gone. I’m posting these photos anyway to document the kitchen’s evolution and to show you my quick-fix solution.

Shelves on the counter hold dishes and bread bin.

Small shelves on top of the counter act as a temporary fix.

I liked the texture and color this arrangement brought to the kitchen, but counter space was still a big problem.

I still think wall shelves are the only viable solution (cabinets would be too bulky). As soon as I figure out how to hang shelves with concealed hardware, I’ll put them up.

Counter space to the right of the shelves.

Counter space to the right of the standing shelves.

In the meantime, I’ll share my recent kitchen upset in the next post.