How much space do you need to live comfortably? Five hundred square feet? A thousand? Two thousand? Everyone has their own requirements for a place to live, although we mostly agree on the basics: a roof over our heads, a place to cook, somewhere to sleep, and a bathroom. And if you had to make do in a home clocking in at a mere 362-square-feet, you’d expect just those basics and not much more, right?
Well, you’re wrong … oh so very, very wrong. Creative genius Whitney Leigh Morris has made a living transforming even the barest spaces into something beautiful. She can start from nothing and end up with something you’d never expect. Her general guiding principle? “We don’t need to ‘live large’ to live beautifully.” Once you see her tiny home, located in Venice, California, you’ll know she’s right.
When space is tight, you want to keep things open, not close them in. To make a kitchen and a living room out of a small space, a half-wall with a countertop of one side and comfy seating on the other is key. This barrier creates “zones” rather than tiny rooms. Each space has its own function and is separate, but without being closed off.
The living room itself is multifunctional. The L-shaped banquette seating can be used for lounging, with the wicker coffee table in the picture above to hold your coffee. But move in a larger folding table and, voilà, you’ve got a dining room!
If you look at the other side of the living room, you’ll see the desk that constitutes Morris’ home office. It provides just enough space to get work done, since looking for inspiration and stylish items around town for her design work keeps her out of the house often. The desk also functions as a buffet during parties and get-togethers, at which time the computer is simply stored in the bedroom for the night.
And what about the crowd of party-goers? Also not a problem! Two folding tables, a few folding chairs, and gorgeous decorations make having a dinner party in a small space a blast.
Make your way into the kitchen and you might be surprised by all the amenities it includes. No mini-fridge here! A dishwasher and an apartment-sized fridge mean the kitchen is just as functional as one in any larger house. Hanging things on the wall, combined with a good number of cabinets, means storage space isn’t a problem, either. Yes, you might have to get rid of that bread maker you got as a wedding gift and haven’t used in nearly a decade, but sacrifices must be made, am I right?
Head into the bedroom and you’ll see everything you need for a good night’s rest … plus Morris and her partner’s two adorable rescue pups! The built-in bookshelves around the bed could house even a committed bibliophile’s collection.
So, are you wondering how everything fits together in this tiny space? Here’s a photo that shows the living room, looking into the kitchen. The first door on the left leads to the bedroom and the second door provides entrance to the bathroom (yes, there’s indoor plumbing!).
And if that’s not quite enough to give you an idea of how the tiny garage conversion works, take a look at the floorplan below. Notice anything you haven’t seen yet? Like copious outdoor space maybe?
The main reason why the “tiny canal cottage” works so well is that almost every room is open to the outdoors, making the livable space much larger than the tiny square footage. Window-paned French doors and plenty of windows let light and breeze in and allow easy movement between the indoors and outdoors.
This super cute Dutch door also keeps the pups from running out, while still letting the fresh air in.
The cottage is surrounded on three sides by enviable outdoor space. This seating area is located on a deck between the garage-turned-cottage and the main house, which is located on the same plot of land.
The deck also holds a larger table that can be used for parties and sometimes a sofa for extra seating. Plants, flowers, and candles all give it the feel of paradise on Earth.
Finally, this well-lit, cozy garden is around back, with direct access via the French doors to the bedroom. It’s not hard to imagine that the couple and their two pups must spend many a pleasant night lounging in this space.
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