t2

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sneak Peak Into My Home Part 2- The "Half" Room and Hallway

When we downgraded from a 960 square foot apartment to a 485* square foot apartment to save a few hundred a month, I knew there would have to be some concessions. One of the biggest was needing to get rid of a lot of "stuff", and learning to live without all that junk and figuring out what to do with all the rest of our things, especially as we were moving to a home without any closets or built in storage space (other than the few cabinets in the kitchen, that is).
Packing up all our things, I kind of felt almost as if I was one of those pioneer moms, loading up the covered wagon for a trip across the Great Plains, keeping only what few possessions we could fit that would be imperative to have with us in our new life. It was a challenge, but it felt invogorating, refreshing, and freeing at the same time.

Once we moved into our new place, we had to make sure that we had a place to store everything, and without closets and only 485 square feet of space total, our choice was very limited. The kitchen/dining room/living room was only so big and would be storing all our kitchen stuff, and the bedroom would not have much extra space left over after moving in the beds... That left the little "Half a Room" for everything else.

The room I'm going to show you today is a tiny little room, not good for much of anything. There are no windows outside, making its already small 9 by 6 foot room feel even smaller, more cramped, and claustrophobic. With a few tricks, we managed to maximize the available space while making the room appear to be larger than it is. (And if after seeing the pictures, you think the room seems extremely small, just note that the room felt even smaller before I furnished it.)
This room, in addition to being very small in width and depth, also has the fortune of being an extremely low roofed ceiling, making it even more challenging to furnish, because I can't take advantage of vertical space as easily as I could in other rooms.

The "Half Room" now is basically a big storage room. My big boy Lee also likes to go up there to play and look at books away from the grasping hands of his little one year old brother.
For now, this room is used as an occasional guest room. Not the most luxurious conditions in any way, but it fits a mattress and that's all that counts. When a friend really needs a place to crash and doesn't mind sleeping in cramped (albeit private) quarters, this storage room becomes the "guest room".
For now, my two boys sleep in my room or on a mattress in the living room near my bedroom (depending how persuasive Mike and I are able to be with Lee). When we see that the boys either need to have a space of their own, or if we start feeling uncomfortable with the boys in the room, we have that little room that may eventually become the boys' room.

This half a room is on our "second floor". Our tiny little apartment, surprisingly, has 2 sets of stairs and is divided into three levels. When you walk into our apartment, you see in front of you this long hallway, mainly used for storing our three strollers, but who's floor also provides a baby free play space when the need arises.




















Then and now. To the left- the hallway when the apartment was uninhabited. To the right is how the hallway looks now.
This is the view you get as you walk into my apartment. The front door is to your back, the hallway is in front of you. To your right is the stairs going up to the "little room", to the left is a hallway and stairs going down to our kitchen.

When we first checked out the apartment, this is the view I got of the little half room.


Seriously, not much larger than a walk in closet. 6 feet by 9 feet total. That lack of window makes it seem even smaller!

I had the idea to see if our area rug would fit into that room, and lo and behold- perfect fit!


I am pretty sure that having the rug on the floor of the room automatically makes the room feel much bigger, because psychologically you think that if the room is big enough for an area rug, it can't be quite as small as you'd originally thought.

Once that rug was in the room, we had another problem. Because the rug was such a perfect fit, it kind of blocked the movement of the door, as the door doesn't move easily across the top of an area rug. We had the choice of having a door free room, no rug in the room, or to think of something else. We made do and built a curtain across the door to afford some privacy but not need to take out the rug.

To maximize the space in the room, we wanted to leave as much floor space available as possible. To do this while still taking advantage of the room, we used narrow storage solutions, as tall as could fit in our 6.5 foot ceilinged room.

Ignore the mattress on the floor. I took this picture when I had a guest over; the mattress is usually standing up against the unseen wall.
To the right, we have a wicker bookshelf filled with lots of books. The whole entire bottom shelf is children's books- I never get around to reading most of them, but I feel good knowing that they're available, should my children want to read them. (Most of the books are hand me downs.)

Against the far wall is a set of drawers that are used to hold office supplies, gardening supplies, tools, and much else. We still need to finish unpacking the boxes on top of the dresser, but as I've said, my home is a work in progress, and I chose to be proud of it even in its as yet uncompleted state. Hidden behind those boxes is a large framed mirror, that when visible, acts like a window to the room, as it reflects images from the outside into the room. Mirrors are a perfect way to make small spaces seem larger.


Along the other wall, we have a long, low wooden cabinet that we found by the dumpster and was previously in our kitchen. It now holds a wide assortment of things, all completely non kitchen related. I like it much better in its current incarnation.
On top of the wooden cabinet, we put 4 sets of plastic drawers. These are roll away drawers from which we removed the wheels. We wanted to take up less floor space and take advantage of wall space, and this seemed like the perfect solution. Those drawers contain such different things. One holds my craft supplies, another sewing supplies, another files and paperwork, and another still needs to be filled. 
(And on top we keep the seats of our double stroller. Shh, don't tell!)

So there you have it. A teeny tiny room, not of much use to anyone. But we made it work for us. It helps us keep the rest of the house less cluttered, affords some privacy to anyone who wants to sit and read in peace, and we even have a "guest bedroom" for the adventerous.

So there you have it- our little "half a room"!

Do you have any really small rooms or spaces in your house? How do you maximize their space and make that tiny space work for you?

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* If you've got a fine eye for detail, you may notice that I've written a few different numbers for the square footage for my apartment. I know my apartment is 45 square meters and I converted it into square feet. The square foot number got mixed up in my head a few times and I actually made the apartment seem bigger than it really is. My place is really 484 square feet- I just double checked now. So ignore the inconsistencies and just realize that the place is pretty darn small, no matter how you look at it.

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