WHO: Michael Finger and Joanne Kennedy, plus kids Jonah and Esther

WHERE: New York, New York, in Manhattan’s East Village

WHAT: A family home fit for the sea

SIZE: 640 square feet

Smart storage, ahoy!

Michael Finger and Joanne Kennedy, plus their two kids (ages 9 and 1), make very merry in a small family home done up with multifunctional furnishings and seaworthy storage (think closets under the floorboards, desks that morph into Murphy beds). With the help of noroof architects and some nods to son Jonah’s pirate obsession, Finger and Kennedy carved out a family-friendly space in just 640 square feet.

See for yourself, matey. Check out the slideshow.


Reuse alert, via my pal The Choir’s house: old cans and containers, rinsed and repurposed as craft-supply corrals. Doesn’t get much Smaller than that, and it gives his art room a distinctly Warholian flair. Nice job, friend-o.

WHO: Cyril Aouizerate and family (that’s three more, folks), plus Scott the Labrador

WHERE: Paris

WHAT: Space-age design in a small family space

SIZE: 431 square feet

C’est magnifique!

Would you believe a family of four, plus their big-boned Labrador, live in this 431-square-foot Paris apartment? The key is clever storage, including a murphy bed for the parents and a hidden fridge behind one of those ubiquitous white panels.

Check out the full slideshow at Côté Maison, en français.

(ps. Hearts afire for that kids’ room. Wonkavision meets 2001. Holy HAL.)

Via Apartment Therapy.


July 2, 2008

Perhaps it is because I’m enamored of rigging and frock coats and piratical vernacular. Perhaps it is because I am a little (okay, a lot) Type A. Or perhaps it is simply because I live in a tiny house. Whatever the reason, I love compartments, cubbies, tins, trays, stowaways.

boxesIn short, I love storage.

The term “smart storage” ricochets around small space living blogs like that little pixel-ball in Pong. (Remember Pong, you guys? Yeah. Pong.) While I agree that clever storage is key to keeping a small space clutter-free — see those boxes at left? Inside: cat toys, receipts, and our unused, parking lot gate clicker — I’m also keenly aware that, if storage is too clever, it can either a) allow you to keep clutter you don’t need (read: approximately 34 Bic pens and two piccolo cleaning rods), or b) allow you to hide clutter you do need (read: tax forms and your favorite pair of velveteen, paisley-print winter gloves). What’s to do?

First, assess the situation. This means that you have to go through the clutter (junk drawer included), but you’ll feel lighter once you’ve divested yourself of the piccolo cleaning rods. I sure did.

Second, take stock. How much stuff remains? How much can you hide? How much can you display? If you’re supercrafty, take a tip from the folks at de-JUNKed, who transform bread bag ties and kewpie dolls into art, and then turn a tidy profit.

Third, categorize. I make piles of like items. These alikes are then ranked by use; that is, I determine how much access I need. This helps me decide how to contain each “set” of stuff. For example: my 2008 electric bills need to be accessible, but not as accessible as earrings. You get me?

Fourth, box it in cool containers. Grab your piles and start stuffing. I’ve found that it’s easier to organize when I’m Zen with my storage containers. Every decorative box and basket in my house contains something that doesn’t belong in the open (the aforementioned feline funsies, for instance); but, because I like the storage piece, I’m down with displaying it. This way, too, I’m not taking up precious space in the closet with eyesore storage. Everybody wins!

Fifth, admire your awesomeness. Enough said.

Book Bust

March 24, 2008


So. We’ve been in our tiny house for a while now, and we still haven’t got hold of that gratifying-if-dust-collecting pile of knowledge: our books. These days, we get most of our reads from the library, but a lucky few have traveled the wine-dark seas with us for years.

They’ve had several homes since our teenyhome occupation. A couple different shelves, with books typically double-parked for lack of space and largesse of number (agreed: impractical and ugly).

But, now that I’ve got spring cleaning on the brain, I’m reconsidering both my storage and my selection. For example: Husbear and I have two different sets — two! different! sets! — of Beginning Attic Greek language textbooks. These have struggled past our biannual book-cutting for years. Why? Because we might want to refresh our ancient Greek someday. Using two methods.

This is bonkers. This is. Bonkers. And that’s just the nib. I was finally persuaded to pare down to a single copy of The Great Gatsby (I had three) just last year. What is it about books that generates such tenacity? Hoarding instinct? Do they flatter us? Do we honestly think we will one day want to read through a glossy physics textbook again? Just because?

Whatever the case, I’ve decided it’s time for another book-cut. Space is at issue here. Space and aesthetics. Space and aesthetics and irrationality (two! different! sets!, I say again). This time, I need to be ruthless. Heartless.

Of course, surely I’ll want to reread My Life with Barbra. Right?

I need help. How do you store your books?