5 MORE REASONS TO THINK SMALL

I recently came across this headline while browsing through a magazine: 

‘THINK BIG’

My first thought was – “Oh no” – they’ve taken a similar message & have turned it around to say the exact opposite.

But then I read the smaller print, which said:

‘THESE STYLISH, ROOM-EXPANDING STRATEGIES WILL HAVE YOU LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES’

Yes!

I didn’t need to read any further.

You see, I’ve already come up with my own reasons why ‘Thinking Small’ can help you to ‘Live Large’.

Here they are:

 

1 – Smaller homes are more affordable and require less of everything.

Less maintenance. Less expense.

Need to paint the house top to bottom, or replace the carpet?  What about replacing the windows, in lieu of more energy efficient options?

Less square footage also means lower utility bills. You will even need less furniture!

And because you will need LESS of everything, you can spend MORE on higher quality, and still come out ahead.

Meaning you won’t have to break the budget to achieve an amazing result!

 

2 – Smaller homes are ideal for Custom design.

Yes, it may cost more, but remember you will ultimately need less of everything, so why not?

This is an opportunity for you to get super organized, so use it to your advantage.

Are you looking for an efficient, minimalist kitchen? Do you need better storage options overall?

By reducing the scale of your dream kitchen, you can reduce the total costs, and instead think bigger in terms of the overall design. You can re-purpose those funds into higher end cabinetry, quality appliances, and clever storage options.

A skilled craftsman can create customized storage that perfectly fits your needs, plus the size and the layout of your home. This includes kitchen cabinetry, and anything else you can think of.

Furnishings can also be customized.

The ideal sofa will not only be perfectly scaled to the size of the room, but it will also be scaled to fit you.  For the ultimate in comfort, luxury and organization, this is the way to go.

In a smaller home, the occasional splurge becomes more affordable. When properly orchestrated, small homes can live large!

 

3 – Smaller homes let you be more Creative.

The idea here, is to look outside the box.

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DESIGNING NOT SO BIG

“…of course, bigness isn’t the solution. It’s not quantity of space we need. It’s quality.” Sarah Susanka, architect & author of ‘The Not So Big House’

For those of you not familiar with Sarah Susanka and her inspirational series of books about “The Not So Big House” the above quote neatly sums up what it’s all about.                                           

According to Susanka, a Not So Big House is one that is “about you, and what makes you feel at home. Its scale isn’t its most important characteristic.”

For some, that might be a radical approach.

And yet, it makes perfect sense!

By placing a greater emphasis on the quality of your living space, versus the quantity of square footage  – not to mention all your stuff – the focus automatically shifts.

Suddenly, you are creating a home that truly speaks about you. Again, to borrow from Susanka, “what makes it better than other houses, is that it allows you to feel comfortable.”

Cause here’s the thing:

More space doesn’t necessarily mean more comfort.

In fact, the more overwhelming a room is in size, the less inviting it might be, which means the less likelihood the room will even be used.

Why?

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5 MORE REASONS TO THINK SMALL

On the heels of a recent post titled “Designing Not So Big”, I came across this headline while browsing through a magazine:

‘THINK BIG’                                                                                                    

My first thought was – “Oh no” – they’ve taken a similar message & have turned it around to say the exact opposite.

But then I read the smaller print, which said:

‘THESE STYLISH, ROOM-EXPANDING STRATEGIES WILL HAVE YOU LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES’

Yes!

I didn’t need to read any further.

You see, I’d already come up with my own reasons why ‘Thinking Small’ can help you to ‘Live Large’.

Here they are:

1 – Smaller homes are more affordable and require less of everything.

Less maintenance. Less expense.

Need to paint the house top to bottom, or replace the carpet?  What about replacing the windows, in lieu of more energy efficient options?

Less square footage also means lower utility bills. You will even need less furniture!

And because you will need LESS of everything, you can spend MORE on higher quality, and still come out ahead.

Meaning you won’t have to break the budget to achieve an amazing result!

(more…)

IS LESS REALLY MORE?

“Less is More”  Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe

A few years ago, a friend sent me this picture.  

The house, located in downtown Toronto, Canada, was about the size of a postage stamp. It was, at the time, for sale.

This immediately captured my attention. I was intrigued, wondering what it could possibly be like to live in such a tiny space. I found the challenge of maximizing the living space in a house this size, and creating a warm and inviting interior, to be exciting!

Now, I realize that a miniature dwelling of this scale just doesn’t cut it for most of us, including myself.

If nothing else, it certainly puts things in perspective, especially if you’ve ever felt you don’t have enough room and need a bigger house.

You’re not alone.

The thing is, you can move to a larger home, but if won’t be long before you’ve once again run out of room.

Because the problem isn’t lack of room, it’s that you have too much stuff.

The bigger the house, the more things you can accumulate, and the more you accumulate, well, sooner or later there might not be room to store it all.

So the problem, or challenge, is simply to get by with less in the first place.

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THE WELL DESIGNED ROOM ENCOUNTERS ‘NEGATIVE SPACE’

“Negative space is a powerful drawing tool. It’s one of the secrets to learning how to draw.” Brian Bomeisler

To paraphrase Brian Bomeisler, negative space is a powerful tool.    

Plus, it’s one of the secrets to a well-designed room!

That’s because the negative space in a room is just as important as the positive space.

Hence the message:   “Less Is More”.

Negative space can be defined as the area in and around an object.

Positive space is the object itself.

Let’s look at your typical living room. The sofa, chairs, coffee and end tables, carpet and accessories all comprise the Positive space.

The empty space around all these pieces is your Negative space.

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7 PENNIES

My husband and I recently celebrated our 7th anniversary, which meant gifts of copper – if you follow the charts that tell you which material, or substance, represents your anniversary year.             

Even so, when I sat down to breakfast on the morning of our big day, I was surprised to find seven pennies on my placemat.

I was completely puzzled.

It took me a moment before I ‘got’ it. In the next instant, I was totally impressed by my husband’s cleverness.

In all my searching for an appropriate gift, I had never noticed the pennies in my wallet.

No worries, those pennies weren’t my actual gift.

But it did make me think about the many, obvious things we overlook everyday that are a little like those pennies.

I decided to turn those hypothetical pennies into some everyday hints for updating your décor – ideas that require little time or expense.

They’re simply there at your fingertips, ready for the picking. (more…)

Less Is More

The quote ‘Less is More’, attributed to Mies Van der Rohe, continues to be relevant in our everyday lives.

In our homes, for example, more space does not necessarily mean more comfort. In fact, the more overwhelming the rooms, the less comfortable they feel and the less likely they are to be used. Why? When you are ‘drowning’ in a space, you will not feel comfortable. Everyone needs a corner to curl up in, whether with a good book or to watch TV. We like a sense of snuggness, of cocooning. If a room is too large we feel lost.

Sarah Susanka promoted this in her series of books on the Not So Big House. Remember, too, that when we say ‘Less is More’ it doesn’t apply just to square footage. In terms of dollars, if you spend less in one area you can spend more in another. In other words, build a smaller house and focus on the details that will make it a home. Seek quality. Well-made products will always outlast their less expensive counterparts, meaning less waste in the long term. (Which is also kinder to the environment). You can also offset reasonable choices with the occasional splurge; this, too, is more affordable in the smaller home. Small homes can live large.

Smaller homes seemed connected to a simpler time. Simplify, simplify is a common refrain we hear today. Slow down, take time to smell the roses, to cook a wholesome meal for your family and sit down together to enjoy it. In our fast-food society, a Slo Food movement has emerged that endorses slowing down to enjoy your food and partake of meals.

Other ways to simplify have to do with cutting back in general. Like reducing clutter. Have you ever noticed how an organized space, free of clutter, can literally free up your mind? The theory behind this is that a cluttered home (substitute life, schedule, desk, etc) usually reveals a much deeper problem. Recent studies have even proven a conncection between clutter and excess weight. In other words, excess of any kind literally weighs us down.

By removing clutter are we promoting stark, minimalistic rooms without a hint of life? No, not at all. We all need to feel some connectedness with our earthly possessions, especially the items that make a statement about who you are, that lend a sense of history to the rooms you inhabit. Who among us doesn’t keep an object, be it an heirloom or otherwise, for sentimental value? The goal here is that everything has it’s place, that you restore order to your life, and that your treasures don’t get lost among the clutter.

Does this in turn lead to a stress-free life? It can certainly help to reduce stress, which in turn will lead to a greater quality of life.   It may not be possible to remove stress entirely (there is even such a thing as good stress), but there are many things you can do to reduce the toll on your mind and body. Exercise, eat right, meditate. Listen to your body. Try to find balance in your life. Make time for the little things. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.