little paths so startled

living, decorating, and eating in hattiesburg, mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘small space solutions

new digs (hattiesburg edition)

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We’re finally settled in our new place, and after rearranging furniture, oh, about ten times, I seem to have found our feng shui.  Or at least for now.  The biggest challenge was transitioning from a 1,400-sq-ft open loft space to a 700 sq-ft 1920s-style bungalow – the back half of a duplex, to be precise.  My sweet parents are storing several pieces they and my grandmothers had lent us (two tables, two club chairs, and six dining chairs), but amazingly, everything else fit – including the pallet table.  And while there are certainly things I miss (a dishwasher, the other 700 square feet, and a washer and dryer), there’s a lot to love about the new place.  My favorite things: the lovely eastern and southern light, windows in every room, white walls, and craftsman details like bead board and built-in nooks.

The Living Room

This is my favorite room – it’s the largest, and it has the best light.



It’s Kyna and Buddy’s favorite room, too.


This is also the room I rearranged the most, because it does double-duty as my home office.  It took many configurations and, ultimately, a trip to the Calico Mall to get my little nook worked out.

Some of the early takes.

Some of the early takes.

As much as I love that sewing table (also a Calico Mall find), it’s really best as a console table.  So I was thrilled to find a little mid-century modern desk for super cheap, and while I hadn’t planned to buy a chair, I couldn’t leave without this little blue Eames-esque desk chair.  It needed a little DIY love, though, as someone thought it’d be nice to spray paint it with sparkles.  Daniel covered it with several coats of a slightly darker, non-sparkly blue.  Et voilà.


The Halls

I’d gotten so used to our open loft that hallways seemed like a waste of space to me, and I admit that the long hallway here felt claustrophobic to me at first.  Now that we’ve hung pictures and discovered some valuable storage opportunities, I’m feeling their charm again.

That's technically the breakfast room, but it's so tiny that we're using it as a hallway nook.

That’s technically the breakfast room, but it’s so tiny that we’re using it as a hallway nook.

Looking down the hall from the living room end...

Looking down the hall from the living room end…

...and back up.  (That's a tiny, unfinished closet that happens to be perfect for storing cleaning implements.)

…and back up. (That’s a tiny, unfinished closet that happens to be perfect for storing cleaning implements.)

The Study/Music Room

This room (amazingly) hosts the pallet table, which currently functions as Daniel’s desk and is perfect for spreading out plant specimens for identification.  The room also has a tiny closet we’re using as a coat closet (and everything else we can cram in there).  And since the room also houses Daniel’s tools, I hung a throw over an open shelf for storing tool-related odds and ends.


While most of the room is a working botany lab, there’s a little corner for music.  I’m especially happy about storing guitars on the walls.  In this place, it’s all about vertical storage.


The Kitchen

When I first saw the turquoise backsplash and floors in the kitchen, I could have freaked out a little.  But instead, I thought of all our red kitchen appliances, and I decided to embrace the quirkiness.  And I actually really love the turquoise and red.  I also love that there’s plentiful cabinet space (including that semi-awkward nook by the water heater).


And once again, vertical storage is the name of the game.  Daniel had some especially creative solutions: a pallet-wood spice rack, hooks for hanging pots on the wall, and a pallet-wood shelf for storing home-brewing bottles.



Fun fact #1: that’s a Murphy-style ironing board to the right of the doorway. Fun fact #2: we don’t iron. Ever.


It’s tiny, to be sure, but it’s actually not the smallest place we’ve ever squeezed this bed into.


And we even managed to recreate the windowsill succulent arrangement, though now they’re on the outside (and happier).


The closet situation is interesting (and currently not photograph-able).  I may have complained about having a small closet in our old place, but this one is truly tiny.  Fortunately, having grown up in a 1920s bungalow with small closets, I borrowed a trick from my parents to maximize storage: over-the-door racks.  There’s one on every door in this house (except the front and kitchen doors).



Last and least.  Or at least a work in progress.  All I’ve done in here (since I took this picture on move-in day) is hang a clear shower liner, stuff the tiny cabinet over the toilet, and stack more baskets on top of that cabinet.  Perhaps more on this soon.


So that’s it – all 700 square feet of it!  I have less than two more months here before I head up to Seattle, but this will continue to be home for me as long as my loves (Daniel, Kyna, and Buddy) live here.


Written by Ann

July 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm

small space solutions: the walk-through closet

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Yes, that’s right: walk-through. That’s how our landlord described the closet when he was showing us the condo, and if you’ve been here, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a little difficult to explain, so take a look at the floor plan I drew up (for furniture arranging purposes, as we awaited our move-in date) and you’ll see what I mean about the closet. (You’ll also note the paucity of closet/storage space in general.)

The closet, as well as the door to the bathroom, are on the stage level; you step down (some precariously steep stairs) into the bathroom.

According to the Craiglist ad for this condo, this space is “perfect for a single professional.” If a single professional can comfortably fit his or her wardrobe into just over 7.5 feet of closet space, s/he has my utmost respect. Getting two wardrobes in there is a real challenge, even though only one of us is a clothes horse. Because we didn’t want to subject our guests, on their unsuspecting way to the restroom, to the sight of our crammed clothes and shoes, we put up curtains (from the bedroom windows of our former apartment) across the space – à la my college dorm room. Admittedly, this closet wasn’t in horrible shape to begin with, or at least not compared to some closets I’ve been responsible for. But it wasn’t pretty, either.

Before. Bleh.

OK, I’ll admit it. I staged the before pic. I tried to resist, but my shoes (if you can believe it) were even more jumbled, and the brown cube containing my belts was overflowing with additional nonsense. And if it looks like there’s extra space on Daniel’s side, that’s because more than half of his shirts were in the laundry at the time. At any rate, my process for Operation Organization Jubilation was fairly simple. I’ve become pretty good in the last year or two about editing my wardrobe regularly, and I just took a bag to Goodwill last week. So the goal here was to put things in order, maximize space, and make the closet a little more aesthetically pleasing. No big deal. It just took forever.

The biggest investment was in new hangers. This felt, on the one hand, excessive and wasteful, and, on the other, like a necessary evil – and one that I’d been putting off. The other hand won in the end, and I got these slimline hangers. Not only do they do wonders for the aesthetics of hanging clothes, but they also really do maximize space. In an effort to contain the jumble, I got a shoe rack, a shelf organizer, and a double hang closet rod. One day and 10,000 hangers later, I have a much better looking closet. The change may not look dramatic, but it surely feels dramatic.


All in all, Operation Organization Jubilation was a success. And I discovered, among other things, that I need more pink in my life. Daniel has more pink shirts than I do.

Note: I hate hangers, especially the mismatched mess I had pre-makeover. My grandfather once said that if he ever fell off a cliff, his best hope for surviving the fall would be a handful of coat hangers to inevitably snag or tangle with something along the way. After the closet makeover I ended up with piles of old hangers, and as much as I wanted to throw them over a cliff, there’s no way I’m sending them straight to the landfill. I commit many consumerist sins, but even I can’t do that to Mother Earth. Instead, I’m going to trawl the local thrift stores for someone in need of 10,000 mismatched hangers.

UPDATE: The hangers found a new home at the Salvation Army Family Store.

Written by Ann

June 8, 2011 at 3:34 am