I’ve had a lifelong fascination with tiny abodes. Tree houses, gypsy wagons, log cabins, and Airstream Bambis have all sparked my imagination over the years.
When we lived in London I discovered Ikea and was totally enthralled by the tiny “model flats” they’d set up throughout the store to showcase ingenious solutions for spaces ranging from 80 to 300 square feet. And today’s “Tiny House Movement” makes me smile with its creativity and contemplation of how much space we really need to live a comfortable life.
On our recent RTW we had a chance to live in lots of “petite apartments,” and our favorite was the very cool Athens studio. Measuring in at 26 square meters (280 square feet) it was a great example of stylish form and function.
So when we were planning our re-entry to the US, we brainstormed all the special cities we wanted to live in for a month. Savannah was at the top of the list. Our goal was to stay in an apartment in the Historic District, but that’s not a cheap proposition. I needed to find a small place to fit our modest budget.
And I found it! The handsome “Architect’s Cottage” is 309 square feet of bliss. The structure dates back to 1900 when the row of homes was built as lodging for railroad workers. The development later became apartments, and this unit was the office and laundry room! Not long ago the buildings were rescued from neglect and converted to condos.
You’d be surprised what you can squeeze into 300 square feet. The cottage features a great room with living, dining and kitchen together, and uses clever solutions like space-expanding mirrors, slim appliances, and a TV tucked in the fireplace! Add to that: heart pine floors, maritime accents, and African carvings and you’ve got the warmth of home.
A door opens to our favorite hangout spot – a space-expanding covered deck.
Not only is the cottage aesthetically pleasing with its eclectic mix of old and new – the space-smart solutions pack a punch. Not bad for such a small package.
Of course, living in small spaces is nothing new to New Yorkers, Europeans, Tokyo residents … and the list goes on and on. But after doing some research, it appears that 300 square feet is the magic number.
For example, the innovative “Katrina Cottages” were designed by talented architect Marianne Cusato as an appealing alternative to the dismal FEMA trailers provided as temporary housing for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. How big are the cottages? 308 square feet!
Then there’s the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company that provides plans and tools to build small houses that are so clever they’ll boggle your mind. One of their popular plans is called “The Harbinger” … and you guessed it – 310 square feet.
Last, but not least is one of my personal faves. The Austin American-Statesman reported on newlyweds Mike and Natalie Young who renovated a school bus as their love nest.
And I bet you know what the square footage adds up to. Yep! 300.
Although living in 300 square feet may not be everyone’s cup of tea, we have found it an interesting exercise in learning just how much space we really need. We’ve discovered that we love an outdoor space to sit and garden, and we need several different task areas inside (just like those Ikea “model flats”). As James likes to remind me, we camped for 5 months in a 9’ x 7’ tent … that’s just 63 square feet! But we did have the “great outdoors” as our playground.
What about you? Any experiences in small space living out there? We’d love to hear from you.
1. Evelyn Simak via Wikimedia Commons
7. Courtesy Ben Brown
8. Courtesy Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
9, 10. Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman