Check out the November 2013 issue of Dwell magazine devoted to small-space living. I haven’t read all of the articles yet but did zero in on the story about Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser who lives in a 520 sq. ft. studio cottage. He bought the house pre-Mad Men but chose to renovate it in 2010, well after Mad Men fame (and fortune?). The article doesn’t make his motives clear so I’m curious what drives him to stay. (I assume he can afford a larger home!) But I love that he stays and lives according to his own priorities rather than the expectations of others. Go Vincent!
In my last post, I advocated for at least 400 square feet of living space for a healthy, reasonable life. After researching online, I might be willing to amend that theory for some people. (I’m not sure that includes me.)
Size seems to be less critical than the right layout and functionality. The article “8 Tips for Making Your Own Micro Apartment” validates my theory that odd-shaped rooms aren’t optimal for micro-living. It says that square or rectangular spaces work best.
The article also designates the size of micro-ness. For a single person, according to the article, it’s 250–400 square feet. Therefore, I am sub-micro, more in the nano zone.
I suspect a 300-sq ft apartment with the right layout and multi-functional features may be perfect for some people. The PBS NewsHour video “How to Live Micro: Apartments for the New Single World” demonstrates how it can work.
Let’s face it—my apartment is tiny by most standards. There are tinier apartments out there, but I find it curious that their inhabitants never complain about them—at least in front of the camera.
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?