Friday, May 13, 2011

Guest Post: Small Space Living

Today my dear friend Laura is doing a guest post for me on small space living. She and her husband, Simon, have done so much work on their little place, turning it into a functional and stylish family home.

My hubby and I are blessed to rent a 600 square foot home in Saskatoon that faces the South Saskatchewan River. People would pay a fortune for a view like ours (and some do!), but part of the blessing of this house is that we don’t. If there was an award for The Best Landlord EVAH, ours would win every single time. Hands down. This has a lot to do with why we live in such a small space with our two kids. Granted, the kids are small (2 years and 7 months), but small people seem to require lots of stuff! Anyway, an amazing view and that amazing landlord will keep us here until we feel positively squashed. Squished is okay, but squashed is just too much.

The first room I’ll show you is our kitchen. Lots has changed in here since we moved in, and it’s really too bad that I don’t have any before pictures for you. It started out with orange walls, brown tile floors that looked like brick, an extremely old stove whose oven door wouldn’t stay closed, and best of all, a full size water heater. Oh yeah. It was awesome. Two years and quite a bit of work later, this is what things look like. 
(Click on images to enlarge)

As you can see our kitchen acts as three rooms:  kitchen, dining room, and office. We’ve found that when living in a small space with four people, the bathroom is pretty much the only room that functions exactly as what it is and nothing more.

My dad made our table for us as we were having a hard time finding something narrow enough to fit well.  He decided to make it with cantilevered legs so that it would open things up a bit and we wouldn’t have problems with running into regular table legs.  Good thinking, Dad!  The chairs are from Ikea, and the highchair is from a restaurant supply store.  Having an apartment size fridge also frees up a little extra space. 

If you were wondering about the large black creature in the corner, that is our computer.  It seems even bigger in real life.  Trust me.  When we bought it, my husband was quite into gaming so it made sense to buy a gaming system since we needed a new computer anyway.  I wish we could have seen the looks on our faces when we pulled it out of the box.  (We ordered it online.) There was some shock and awe to be sure.  Anyway, he’s no longer much of a gamer, and next time we’re computer shopping, an all-in-one will be on our radar.

I’m a big fan of white, but I also love colour, so I try to add it with dishes and art.  The paintings were birthday presents purchased on Etsy, and there is a third one coming to round out the group.  My Mother’s Day gift. :)

I should also tell you that behind that curtain is a small lean-to that was built onto the house, so that is extra square footage on top of the original 600.  It’s another majorly multipurpose room where you’ll find a makeshift pantry area in addition to lots of shoes (the back door is there too), our washer and dryer, water heater, and furnace.  But you don’t get to see that!

The other room we’ll take a look at is the kids’ room, which is both their bedroom and playroom, although lots of playing takes place in the living room too.

Ava spent her first three months sleeping in a bassinet in our room but has been sleeping in her crib ever since.  Thankfully she slept through the night from that time on, and they each seem able to sleep through the other’s crying at night when it does happen.  Like our table, Liam’s bed and the bookshelf were made by his grandpa.  Thank God for grandpas!

I knew that I wanted their room to be colourful and not necessarily gender specific in style, so the walls are sky blue and there is lots of red and white around the room.  The art above the storage bins is actually clip art printed on card stock.  The frames were from Dollarama, and the four pictures completed cost me about $10.

Our space saving solutions in this room were the narrow bookshelf and the hanging shoe organizer and dresser in the closet area.  None of their clothes are long enough to use the full space, so this works well for now.  You’ll have to excuse the gray walls in the closet.  Ava was born earlier than we had expected and on the weekend we planned to paint the room no less, so my amazing hubby painted the main part of the room while I was still in the hospital.  It was a bit dicey with an almost two year old around, so the closet got put off until a later date.  It has become one of those “out of sight, out of mind” projects. :)

Thanks to Sarah for asking me to do a guest post!  It was fun taking pictures to show you...and my house got an extra good tidy up too! Just telling it like it is. :)

 And thank YOU, Laura, for sharing your lovely house with us!

 - Sarah

Sorry about that.  It seems as though things are up and running smoothly now.


  1. What a beautiful space. I am in awe of a family that can live in a small space happily. We have lived in both very small and very large spaces and I go small all the way. It makes the family so much closer to be physically close.

  2. beautiful home laura. i would love to see it in person sometime. :)


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