Bethany’s 385 sqft Garage Apt

 

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 14

 

Bethanys 385sqft Garage Apt Plans

Describe your place:

I live in a 1950’s, 1 bedroom garage apartment in north Durham. The garage is detached from the main house on the property with an unfinished workshop area downstairs and a one bedroom apartment on the second floor, accessible by an outdoor staircase. The neighborhood is a few miles north of downtown, near the intersection of Roxboro and Duke.

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 01

What do you love about your space?:

Everything! As soon as I saw the listing for this apartment online, I fell in love. Many of my favorite features are original elements like the wood floors, the bathroom fixtures, and the small, exposed shelves in the kitchen. There are also so many great touches added by the property owner. I love the stained glass “Welcome” sign in the front door, the small-scale stove and refrigerator and a beautiful painted metal bench outside. I love how much character the place has!

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How would you improve your space?:

Many of the issues I had when I first moved in concerned the age of the property rather than it’s size. Old-fashioned features like 2-prong outlets, plaster walls, no garbage disposal in the sink, no dishwasher, no bedroom closet and no place for a washer or dryer made getting settled in a little more difficult at first but now I rarely even miss those modern luxuries.

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I would also love to improve the outdoor areas. As a renter, I’m limited in what I’m allowed to change and what my budget can do. While the shared yard is meticulously maintained by the owner, I would love to freshen up the gravel driveway, repaint the siding and outdoor staircase and add a fence with some landscaping in the yard on the side of my house for my dog. But, despite the countless project ideas, I really am thrilled with the house overall and the very sweet, relaxed outdoor areas.

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What do you like best about small living?:

It may sound redundant given the name of this blog, but I love how living small makes every part of your life become very intentional. How many possessions you own, where everything is kept and the entire flow of your day is affected by the limited space. While large homes can feel spacious and open, I often find they lead the people living in them to fill space with more possessions, making things harder to find and, in a very real way, adding stress to regular routines. Running several small businesses out of such a small space can still lead to stress and chaos but I love being able to pay attention to every nook, cranny and detail which I could never do in a larger house.

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Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Storage and organization are key. As a housekeeper and home organizer, I made sure that everything in my little house has a place and that very little space gets wasted. This includes high up shelves and the space under the bed as well as my ottoman which I refinished to create storage space for blankets and linens. Leave no space unused, but keep it neat!

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I also think that its also very important to have at least one area that is clutter-free and always clean. In a small space, a small mess becomes a big mess quickly. Especially since I use my kitchen and living area as work spaces for sanding, painting, sewing, crafting and many other hobbies, having an area that is always neat goes a long way to feeling comfortable and sane. For me, it is the bedroom. No matter how chaotic the kitchen, living room and bathroom are, my bedroom has little more than my bed, some books, my records and record player and my clothes neatly hung on the wall. Escaping to this room is always a welcome relief from a busy week or messy house.

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More about Bethany:

I clean and organize houses for a living [www.YourHappyHomeSolutions.com], as well as making wood furniture and decor on the side [www.etsy.com/shop/aboveallgenuine]. Occasional jobs also include babysitting, pet sitting, seamstress work and home improvement projects. There’s always something to do!

I also have a booth at the Durham Craft Market across from the Farmer’s Market every Saturday between April and November from 8am to 12pm. Come out and see me!

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A note from Nicole:

It was a pleasure meeting Bethany (and Elle!) and visiting their lovely home. Bethany was ecstatic to point out special elements that she loves and different DIY projects she undertook to make her place function better. She installed shallow shelves at every window – creating a deeper sill for potted plants, or creating storage opportunities above windows. She transformed a simple closet in the living space into a well-organized craft zone with hidden dog crate below.  In making her own home more usable, she has been able to turn her skills into a business, helping others organize and clean their spaces, and even selling spice racks that she first made for her own home. I love how passionate Bethany is about her small home!

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more pictures:

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Margaret and Brandon’s 485 sqft Brooklyn Apt

Margaret and Brandons 485 sqft Brooklyn Apt 14

  • size: 485 sqft
  • type:  2-bedroom apartment
  • location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
  • inhabitants: Margaret Mason and Brandon Dunham, and 2 fish
  • website and blog: heymargaret.com

Margaret and Brandons 485 sqft Brooklyn Apt Plans

Describe your place:

I love the neighborhood we live in and all the conveniences it offers. My commute into the city for work is super short and everything we need is within one block of home.

We live on the second floor of a three story walk up that was built in 1910. It’s tiny to our out-of-town visitor standards, but it works out perfectly for roommates. My roommate Brandon is a friend from NC who moved in about a year ago.

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What do you love about your space?:

I love the brick fireplace (nonfunctional) and the pressed tin ceilings. Although the apt is old, it has some of the original charm.

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Margaret and Brandons 485 sqft Brooklyn Apt 03

How would you improve your space?:

More closets – isn’t this on every New Yorker’s wish list ? And it would be nice to have direct access to our roof/the backyard.

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Margaret and Brandons 485 sqft Brooklyn Apt 08

What do you like best about small living?:

This apartment is actually the longest place I’ve lived in since I turned 18 and moved out of my parents’ house! I guess that means I like it!

Since I live in NYC and have a pretty busy schedule, it’s really important to me to have a peaceful place to come back to. Living in a small space creates that cozy comfort I need, plus it takes no time at all to clean it.

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Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Be creative in storage, stay organized, and toss out all that useless stuff.

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A note from Nicole:

Margaret is one of my best friends, going back to our freshman college dorms :). I was so happy to finally visit her little Brooklyn apartment.

What I love most about Margaret and Brandon’s place is how lively they have decorated it – quite literally if you consider all the plants. There are selective vibrant splashes of color that really activate the space, most of their decorations are functional (floating bookshelves, old trunks, colorful storage shelves), and there are fun random items that keep you exploring every corner (pictures, magnets, relics). It may be small, especially for two people, but it is loaded with awesomeness!

Margaret’s hand-painted accent wall of arrows is the coolest!:

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more pictures:

Window Frame Display

Here’s a super simple way to clear your desk, create a display space, and decorate!

Window Frame Display 01

This window frame is from the local flea market. It was in great shape, so I didn’t have to refinish it at all. I leaned it up against the wall, like a headboard for my desk, to add some interest to an otherwise blank wall. As a renter, I try to minimize the number of holes I add to the walls.

Window Frame Display 02

The window frame makes a great display board. This window has two horizontal panes of glass, making a perfect ledge for double-stacking postcards, cards, and family pictures. The collection can get cluttered, but will always appear organized since it’s captured behind the framed glass. I also add fun sticky notes to remind me of my long-term tasks.

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I would love to see pictures if you try it at your place!

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Espresso Cups: a storage and display solution for easy access

I love espresso, or as my Cuban family calls it, cafecito. I thank Abuela for showing me the ways of this social ritual!

When I added an espresso set to my collection of dishes, I had to find a way to store it in my small kitchen. The espresso cups weren’t as stackable as their saucer counterparts. Cabinet space was limited, and counter space was practically nonexistent. So I took the next obvious option… I hung them.

Small Space Solutions - Espresso Cup Storage and Display 01

The cups hang from individual hooks along the underside of my cabinets. Now they are easily accessible when I get that espresso urge, and it adds a nice texture to the kitchen – “functional decorating.”

Small Space Solutions - Espresso Cup Storage and Display 02

I used 3M Command cord organizers as hooks. They are cheap, and found in stores like Walmart, Target, or any office supply store. The adhesive is forgiving and easy to remove, a great temporary solution for a rental apartment. Also, since these hooks latch closed, they hold the espresso cups safely in place if I accidentally bump into them while washing dishes.

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So if you have an espresso set and need to reclaim some counter or cabinet storage in a small space, or just want to try some functional decorating, you should give this a try!

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Holly’s 495 sqft Airbnb Baltimore Studio

  • size: 495 sqft
  • type: studio apartment
  • location: Mount Vernon, Baltimore, MD
  • inhabitants: Holly Jackson
  • pets: none, somday I’ll have many though…
  • Airbnb rental site: Adorable Studio-Loft

Describe your place:

I have a small studio located in Baltimore’s cultural district, Mount Vernon. I love it here. I’m in short walking distance from all the best bars and restaurants, multiple theatres, an art museum, an opera house, and my campus.

What do you love about your space?:

I love that everything I own has a very specific spot. When working with a small apartment, you have to learn to hide things. For example, my printer sits on the floor behind my couch. No one ever sees it though, since the back of my house faces a window. If you ask me where anything is, I can tell you instantly. For all the things I have, I also have so much simplicity in my space. I love the white walls. I love all the kitschiness against the white. I decided not to paint the space because I was really inspired by a lot of minimalist blogs.

I also love that nothing I own is new. I thrifted my desk, and my rug, as well as all my kitchen supplies including microwave, pots, and pans. My television, couch, chair, and kitchenette set were all FREE from friends. Almost all of the art on my walls is either my own, or by my friends. I took the photo above my mantle, and the photos of Iceland above my chair. I originally saw a beautiful black and white photo of roses on Etsy that was very expensive. My budget didn’t allow for it so instead I got a disposable camera and took a similar photo. I scanned it and had it printed at Kinko’s for a little over $3. The photos in the kitchen were taken by my best friend, Kelli, in Finland. The drawing was by my ex, Steven Riddle. I hear now his paintings are selling for quite a bit. The screen print of Mount Rainier was a thrift store present from a friend.

But mostly, I love my mantle, and the arched doorway at the entrance of my apartment and into the kitchenette.

How would you improve your space?:

I would first turn the parking lot that my room faces into a topiary garden. I would make all the windows more efficient so that it wasn’t always so hot or cold inside. I would add a closet door and a hook to hang my bicycle on.

What do you like best about small living?:

Everything! I have no interest in big living. Sustainability is a large part of my world view. I love reading about the tiny apartments in Sweden and Japan. I find it so tacky when someone buys a huge home, and fails to fill it up. All I can think about it their high utility bill and how bored they must feel inside. Not only is my apartment small, but I work hard to buy within my means. I don’t need a rice cooker because I already have a steamer, I don’t need a toaster because I have an oven.

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Small dwelling only looks intentional when you keep it tidy. Find a place for everything. I admire my other friends with small spaces, but when their rooms are cluttered, it feels like they aren’t embracing their apartment, but instead, they’re just stuck with a flat they can’t accommodate. If you are unable to declutter your apartment, then you should really consider letting go of some things. It’s liberating.

More about me:

I am a 24 year old student almost finished with my Masters in Conflict Management. I get cabin fever wherever I am, and I’m constantly finding ways to escape. I just got back from a week in Tulum, Mexico with my boyfriend, and in March I’ll be spending two weeks in Turkey. I’ve studied abroad in London, and worked as an au pair in France. I’ve been all over the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe including the west, the east, and Scandinavia. From living in a wealthy family’s historic rowhome in France, to staying in a traditional riad in Morocco, I try to pick up inspiration and tchotchkes – whatever will fit in my carry-on.

A note from Nicole:

When my boyfriend and I were headed to Baltimore for a visit, we immediately checked Airbnb for a place to stay. Airbnb lets inhabitants/owners rent out anywhere from a spare room to an entire house. What’s great for the visitor, you stay in an affordable place with local character. They also have unique listings, like an airstream or a container home. Even better, there is a collection of The Littlest Listings, hopefully my checklist! Renting places through Airbnb is my favorite way of traveling, and it leads to some amazing experiences!

If you’re lucky, you’ll have an amazing host, like Holly (see her Airbnb listing here)! Her small place was beautiful, and in a wonderful neighborhood of Baltimore. Holly’s fun and simple way of decorating enhanced the inherent features of the place – tall ceilings (12′-7″!), large bay window, clear plan, and original fireplace. The expansive closet was quite impressive for such a small place, and undoubtedly helped keep her studio feel open and uncluttered. I loved the unique furniture pieces – colorful couch and antique desk.

Since our stay in Baltimore was brief, Holly’s recommendations truly made our stay memorable. She gave us the best recommendations including places to eat and drink (Milk & HoneyBrewer’s ArtGolden WestClub Charles, and Sofi’s Crepes), areas and sites to explore (the original Washington Monument, the Inner Harbor, and Hampden), and shops to get lost in (TROHV and Double Dutch).

Thanks Holly!

Marie’s 525 sqft Home in the Mountains

  • size: 525 sqft
  • type: 1-bedroom apartment
  • location: Spruce Pine, NC
  • inhabitants: Marie Fornaro
  • pets: 2 cats – Miru and Veeshy

Describe your place:

I live in a tiny little house nestled on the side of a mountain in the sleepy town of Spruce Pine, NC. My house includes a small kitchen, living room, bedroom, and miniscule bathroom. But it’s just the right size for me. I also have a pretty spacious backyard, where i can string up a hammock or grow delicious strawberries.

What do you love about your space?:

I love that my landlord chose to paint my living room with a bold orange stripe and a stenciled wall that looks like wallpaper. The house was built in the 1960s (I think), and there are some charming vintage touches that I just love, like the light fixtures and kitchen floor. But my favorite feature by far is the front door- the richly carved dark wood feels so romantic. I also love that I can walk downtown to go to the grocery store, coffee shop, or meet friends for pizza.

How would you improve your space?:

I wish there was a laundry room. I have no washer/dryer. And I would absolutely add a working chimney with a wood-burning stove. There is nothing better than a cozy fire in the winter.

What do you like best about small living?:

It only takes me an afternoon at the most to clean every inch of my house!

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Less space = less stuff, which is such a good thing! It is imperative that every item have a home. Fill your home with meaningful objects and artwork that put a smile on your face. Life is too short, and your house is too small, for one more piece of junk from Target.

A note from Nicole:

Marie is my best friend. I absolutely love her home – it’s cozy and perfectly personal. She does a wonderful job decorating this small space with bright colors, unique furniture items, and special works of art. Marie is the Executive Assistant at Penland School of Crafts in the NC mountains, and is a talented artist herself. She has a growing collection of pottery, prints, and glassware made by her friends at Penland, and also uses her own artwork to adorn the walls. Marie’s home has an impressively efficient plan that both combines and defines living spaces. We were able to fit 6 friends in this home for a weekend trip – impressive for such a small space and fun! I especially like the entry sequence from her driveway to her door with thoughtful landscape and hardscape on the way up. The view of Spruce Pine and the mountains beyond is stunning.

Cork Accessory Organizer

In addition to studying small spaces near and far, I am taking on a variety of projects here in my own studio apartment to help organize, decorate, and better live in a small space. Consider my studio a testing ground.

First assignment: organize my necklaces! They were always in a tangled mess, so on my way to work in the morning, I’d have to forfeit a fight of pulling one from the bunch. The solution: a cork strip where I could hang each necklace separately.

It works great! Not only are my necklaces kept free of tangles, but now I can easily see all my options and make a proper selection. I had more than I remembered, so it also became an editing project, setting some aside to give away.

It gets even better. I wasn’t expecting to be able to organize all my accessories: necklaces, bracelets, watches, earrings (hanging and studs), and rings! Hanging the earrings was my favorite – studs were like pushpins and hanging earrings hover over the surface.

This was a fun project that really made a difference! All you need is 1/4″ cork glued to a backing (I used chipboard), and a bunch of little wire nails. You can get creative with where you install the cork organizer. I fit mine between the trim of my closet and bathroom doors – perfectly next to my clothes and mirror for easy decision-making. Another great thing about this project is you won’t have to patch a bunch of holes in your wall – #rentalapartment!

If you make your own, please share pictures and enjoy!