Friday, July 1, 2011

Bulky Pieces Can Still Have a Role In Small Spaces

I got the link to this cute DIY mobile children's reading nook, on wheels (featured on kojodesigns) from Apartment Therapy.  It is made largely from re-purposed materials, which I love.

It got me to thinking about small spaces and big pieces.  On one hand, my gut reaction to moving into a smaller space is "let's shrink all our furniture."  I have gotten rid of a large amount of furniture in order to truly downsize, and I still worry about the size of my furniture.  My kids have these bulky, chunky wood bunkbeds, for example, that we've decided eventually have to go in order to have a more slender alternative.  I just don't want to be bumping into furniture in the apartment, and I also think that too much furniture will make the place look much smaller than it is. In all spaces, the amount and size of the furniture should be appropriate to the space.  

But there is another risk, which is the risk of giving the place a stark look by over-minimalization.  I think having a few well-chosen, chunky pieces can balance out an otherwise fairly minimalist approach.  I also think that clutter is the bigger danger in a small space than bulk of furniture.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On Switchplates and Small Touches

The whole point of this blog, besides simply being my account of my family's experience in downsizing is this:

1. Whole families, with children, can downsize successfully.
2. Even when a whole family is doing it, downsizing can be done in style.

With regard to item #2, my feeling is that one of the issues in downsizing to a small space is that small, finishing touches make a much bigger difference.

I've been thinking about that lately because all of the sudden, I have begun to feel that switchplates are of utmost importance.  They simply finish off rooms.

Here are some of the fun switchplates I've been admiring on Etsy:

T-rex by Joel Nakamura

Lotteria Men by ShrineOn

Double Aqua by TurnMeOnArt

Guadalupe from exiconoclast

Day of the Dead from LuCrafts

Madrid by funkychickendesign

No Hydraulic Table Necessary

We went with the apartment that has the dining area.  Although I still want to make the dining area a reading nook and get the hydraulic table, but realistically, um, that's not going to happen.  I'm going to bloom where I am planted instead!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lessons From Small Space, Big Style #23 Part 4

The lesson for me in this one: Remote-controlled hydraulic tables paired with curved sofas are surely drool-material for years to come LOL.

Lessons From Small Spaces, Big Style #23 Part 1

Lesson 1: One unifying element makes a world of difference!

Lesson 2: One unifying element also allows more variety, which is so much more fun and livable than stark minimalism.

100 Square Feet of Bliss Video

I actually think that a bedroom designed to be just large enough to fit only the bed is a more comfy, dreamy space in many ways than one like we'll have that is designed to fit more. Manina and I had friends living in Albany, NY at one point who had a bedroom that could only fit a bed. It was a little awkward in terms of getting on the bed, but it also felt like entering a room of fluffy clouds. Lovely!

Lessons From the Nate Berkus 250 Square Foot Makeover

Here is a fun link to a re-designed apartment by Nate Berkus:

When I see stuff like that, sometimes I can't help but think, "yeah, well, try that kind of a challenge with a family!"  I'd love to challenge Nate Berkus with my own family's apartment.  But I guess in a way, I'm facing this challenge myself.  Too bad I am not nearly as capable as Nate Berkus.

Anyway, while the style of this particular apartment is not my own style, I really love the creativity and the nod to an antique method of room decoration.  It totally seems to fit the woman who actually lives in the apartment, which is the whole point of good design, I think.  Not to mention that the chandelier really is gorgeous (and I'm not even much of a chandelier person).  Even if nothing else had been done, that chandelier would have been lovely.

So lesson #1 is that one well-planned piece (like a chandelier) can really help transform a space.

The second thing that occurred to me as I watched the video is how much clothing this woman has.  You may recall that we have designed to take seven outfits each.  This move is about sustainable living for us too, and having seven outfits we like will be enough. 

Lesson #2 is perhaps the most important lesson I've learned yet in this journey.  The lesson is that the problem with moving into a smaller home isn't needing more space, it is needing less stuff.  The less stuff you have to store, the more room you have to live.  I am eager to start living!