I’m shocked that it’s been nine days since my last post. The last week has been a blur of activity—moving stuff, foraging for stuff, arranging stuff, and rearranging stuff. Not tons of stuff, but an attempt to curate the right stuff.

The wrong stuff hasn’t stayed around for long. Here’s my new micro-living ultimatum to stuff: move in, contribute in a meaningful way to the community of stuff or move out.

But pure minimalism is not in my DNA. I like the blog The Minimalists and hope to learn a thing or two from it, but I have to say there’s something disturbing about this minimalist closet. Is this real life or just a photo shoot? Non-minimalists need to know!

Living in a small space could be boot-camp training for minimalism, but not necessarily. Some micro-dwellers find ways to have a lot of stuff. I love the color, texture, and eclecticism of this 312-square-foot studio featured in Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool 2012 contest.

Despite my hardcore tactics towards the stuff brigade, my place is still in disarray. In the next few posts, I’ll show you my blank slate apartment (the “before” photos from move-in day).

For the record, my studio isn’t one of those fancy transformer apartments with “flexible features.” Those micro marvels hide or disguise amenities until you’re ready to use them.

Old radiator used as a plant stand.

The radiator in my vintage studio transforms into a plant stand for most of the year.

My studio is what you see is what you get. It’s big on vintage charm and character but tiny on amenities. I’m still looking for that magic button that reveals my oven and bathtub!

The vintage radiator/plant stand (right) looks cute now; I hope I still think so when it clocks in for work this winter. Vintage radiators often whine and protest vociferously if they have to do anything but sit there and look cute. (The noise might make for some nice sound art, but I’m a light sleeper).

This building was built early last century. It’s unusual I think, in that the majority of units are studio apartments. Most of the studios are small enough to qualify as micro, but a handful are junior studios (like mine), which are even smaller. I wonder if they were once larger and were later split into smaller units. More on that story later as updates come in.

Transformer Apartments
Here’s two apartments that do magic tricks:

  • It’s amazing what this Barcelona studio dweller has done with 237 square feet, although I think opening and closing the doors every day might drive me nuts.
  • I love this apartment in Paris where the bathtub is hidden under the dining room table! The veranda is a perfect extension of the living space.

Sourcing product for the home is no simple task. Besides a nice lunch break talking shop (writing and editing) with my friend Ann, I spent most of yesterday browsing, procuring, and working on items for my new apartment.

One might think that in such a small space, outfitting it would be quick and easy. But so far it seems the opposite. With such limited space, every item that enters the space must serve its intended purpose (there’s no room for loiterers) and also be pleasing to look at (most things will always be in my line of sight).

I am trying to reuse what I’ve already got if it works. In the coming days, I’ll share some of my old and new finds.

The apartment seems to have shrunk since the last time I saw it. It feels roughly 1/3 smaller than I remember it. Some of my plans for furniture items and placement were completely off the mark. Luckily I haven’t moved the big stuff yet. I think some of it won’t be joining me.

It’s funny how the memory can fail when wishful thinking is involved. It’s back to the drawing board for me.

Main Room of Studio Apartment

Besides the main room (shown here), there’s a tiny bathroom, a tiny closet, and a tiny kitchen, all attached to the right side of the main room.

On a positive note, aren’t the floors lovely? And it does get great light.

Tonight I have my first date with my new apartment. I pick up the keys this evening instead of having to wait till sometime tomorrow. I’ve been essentially camping out in my art studio for the past two weeks, so even a half day earlier than expected is awesome news.

Maybe I’ll suggest dinner together. And who knows what the night will bring—perhaps I’ll even sleep over.

I can’t help but visualize floor plans for my itty-bitty studio, even though it’s likely a futile effort. I previewed the studio three times before signing the lease, and the walls seemed to close in a bit each time. I’m afraid that when I finally move, the studio will have shrunk to breadbox size and nothing will fit like I thought it would.

But in the previews, the studio was filled with massive furniture and storage boxes. I’ve never understood why people put large furniture in small rooms! Once all the stuff is gone, I’m hoping the walls will move outward instead of in.

Welcome to my yearlong experiment in micro living. In this blog I’ll feature life in my new studio apartment—all 150 square feet of it!

I’ll focus on living small and making small bigger, but I suspect I may wander onto peripheral topics (perhaps claustrophobia).

The apartment is unquestionably tiny—some might say shockingly so. It’s tiny even by Tiny House standards.

My biggest challenge is how to make four comfortable spaces, or uses, out of a 12×12 foot room. The tiny kitchen and tiny bathroom are scary enough, but the thought of sleeping, living, working, and dressing in the one main room feels daunting.

When I get the keys to the studio, I’ll snap and post some photos. Stay tuned.