The Tiny Apartment is so small that it must have slipped through some time warpage and came out at the end of it’s first-year lease (and, ahem, months without a blog post).

Hard to believe that it’s July again and a year after my first encounter with The Tiny Apartment. I know it’s time to gather the final data for a decision about staying or going, but other factors besides space size are in play: area rents, convenience, time considerations.

I’m deep in analytic thought as we speak but I will leave you with one overriding finding from my first year: space size is not the most crucial factor for successful micro-living. Room layout and certain essential features, such as a large closet, are much more important. Unfortunately, my tiny studio doesn’t measure up. Now if only a space warp could drop in a few architectural changes, my decision would be easier.

Better late than never, right? This project has been kicking my upcycling butt, but I finally made enough progress to report back.

We’re talking about the tattered dresser makeover project, which is now mid-cycle in the upcycle process. I’m liking the new design and modern look but color choice is, ah, remaining elusive.

For such a small dresser, it’s quite finicky. I brought home at least six paint samples that were all rejected. The dark colors and the light colors looked jarring in such a small room, so I looked for midtones. I finally found a contender, but now after a first coat the color isn’t living up to its swatchy promises.

See the dresser below trying on the interim color. I think it makes the wall look too yellow. The walls actually look browner away from the purple-toned dresser. When the project is finally done, with a different color I think, I’ll show before and after shots.

Dresser with new paint, legs, and knobs.

This dresser redo has added legs and new knobs but hasn’t settled on a final color yet.

Did I mention that painting and upcycling furniture is harder than it looks? The design blogs make it look so easy! But I’m certain that after I straighten out that nasty learning curve, it’ll get much easier. Stay tuned.

 

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where the cost of living goes up every second. I phoned a nearby store that sells unfinished pine dressers in various sizes and will even make them to order. They quoted about $400 for a small, unfinished pine dresser with three or four drawers. And I would still have to paint it myself! Needless to say, I continued looking for a used one.

Upcycling Challenges

I looked for weeks to find an old dresser to upcycle but wasn’t having any luck. I need a piece that is counter-height and as wide as the wall outside my kitchen, so my needs are pretty specific. My best-laid plans are to slide it over and use it as extra counter space for big cooking extravaganzas (hah!).

My persistence paid off. I finally found this old pine dresser on Craigslist that was the exact width I was looking for. The wall is 25 inches wide and the dresser is 3/4 of an inch smaller. I paid $15. The dresser is shorter in height than I need but that’s OK because I can add legs to raise and modernize it.

Photo of a small dresser in need of a makeover.

Upcycling dresser project—This small no-frills dresser needs repair and a makeover. It’ll be taller and snazzier but not too proud to act as extra work space for the kitchen.

Dressing Up the Dresser

The complete makeover will include painting, replacing knobs, repairing broken drawers, and adding legs. Oh and I might add a glass top to avoid scratching the surface.

Check back soon for the results.

 

OK, I’ll just say it: I adore solar energy. That’s strong language for an energy source, I know, but I just can’t help myself. I’m enamored by practical and peaceful solutions. (The sun shines everywhere—it’s renewable and we won’t have to wage war and drop bombs to get it.)

Given the sustainable nature of both micro-living and solar power, I think this blog has license enough to discuss one of my favorite topics. And with solar cells getting tinier and tinier, who knows, maybe The Tiny Apartment can someday have its very own solar collector—the extra small micro model.

Stay tuned and sunned (not tanned).