Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thinking small!

Having just moved from a Mediterranean beach studio measuring 20m² (215 ft²) plus balcony to a slightly larger a mini-loft (29m²/312 ft²) in the nearby town I am always fascinated by how other people live, particularly when it involves 'downsizing' and occupying a small space. I believe in occuping the smallest area convenient for my needs and have a horror of paying any more than necessary in charges, taxes or heating bills.

If you too are a minimalist and prefer living in a small space, there are a number of sources I would recommend that have given me a great deal of inspiration over the years and a wealth of practical ideas on how to best use a small space. My two favourite websites are: - in English and Spanish and specialising in up to date case studies of small apartments, conversions, urban and rural living and all illustrated through short videos from 5 to 20 minutes in length.   Two recent examples include an apartment conversion in Barcelona, designed for sharing by two friends or couples (or a single family) and measuring just 65m² (700 ft²). The apartment shares a common living/kitchen area plus two separate sleeping/living areas each with its own bath, which can be closed off for privacy or left open.

Another case video study shows a former American shopping mall (arcade), with fashion boutiques and a coffee shop on the ground floor level, and above a series of min-studios (from 21 m² / 225 ft²) which are let mainly to singles at economic rents for this highly desirable city centre location. All the furnishing are built-in and include a kitchenette, double bed, a living/work area and storage. All the apartments were quickly let within a matter of days and all the occupants emphasised that they were exactly the sort of space they were actively seeking. On the ground floor, a number of the boutiques are shared by more than one occupier, with an average of six fashion designers coming to together to jointly promote their clothes.  The owner/developer hit on this idea of concentrating on fashion in order to attract more customers to the mall which had been left decaying for years. - As its name implies this website concentrates on all types of small living spaces, including apartments and houses from all over the world, both new and converted from older buildings. Another source of inspiration, with coloured photographs and floor plans.