For the past five months my husband and I have lived in a pocket-sized 130 square foot apartment in Paris. We rented it from an interior designer who designs luxury yachts in Italy and who is most definitely a master of small scale design. Living in this minuscule apartment has admittedly peaked my interest so much that I too am working to make it my expertise. What draws me to this niche is the higher level of creativity and customization it takes to pull off a functional small interior. I now know first hand that living in a small space can be enjoyable with the right design and I want to help others discover that too! Today I'm taking you on a grand tour of the space and sharing my experience living in one of the smallest apartments imaginable.
Here is the floor plan to give you a sense of the overall space!
On the left, we have our front entryway and closet! We came to Paris for the year with two large suitcases and a few small carry-ons. For two people, the closet space is limited so we pared our clothing and shoes down to the ones we were consistently wearing and left the rest in our suitcases. The smaller bags are also stored inside of our larger suitcases which are neatly tucked on the platform above the closet. Here you can see that the murphy-table is in the upright position and is secured to the wall with a slide bolt. The table's legs are on hinges so that they fold against the table when not in use. A small ledge underneath the table acts as a support system and as a small desk when the table is up. Most of our shoes fit under the closet space and a few of the taller ones sit under the table.
On the right, you can see that there is a rod to hang jackets from and a few additional shelves for storage. The rod is able to extend out so that it is easier to get items out of the closet. I am used to hanging most of my cloths at home so only being able to hang jackets was an adjustment. My wardrobe is much more casual here for that reason.
When the table is down we bring over the "living room furniture" and use it as both a shared desk and dining table. It is actually quite a spacious table and can easily support two work stations. We both work from home so having a good workspace is important to us.
Here we have the table back up and the murphy bed down for sleeping. It's a comfortable and simple bed with two white pillows and a duvet....What more could you need? When the bed is down it basically fills the room. As it only comes down right before we go to bed this isn't a problem. Murphy beds can transform any room into a bedroom in a flash! It's one of the best tools in the small design belt and is perfect for multi-functional rooms.
Here we have both our kitchenette and bathroom sink. This concept took a bit of an adjustment period but makes perfect sense in a space like this. The key is keeping it really clean so that there aren't dishes sitting in the sink when you want to brush your teeth at night. Small spaces tend to force good habits like that! Our kitchen consists of a two burner stove and mini fridge. I do miss having an oven because I love to cook and bake but it's still possible to whip up great meals in here. I even managed to pull off a half decent Thanksgiving dinner! I did have to buy a little rotisserie chicken but the rest was possible!
Under the sink we store toiletries, hand soap, dish soap and sponges. We attached a metal hook onto the existing rod to hang our dish towel up after drying dishes. Under the toiletries shelf we have a small garbage can that we take out daily. Each day we shop for groceries and then use our grocery bag to line the garbage can. Our small fridge is more than sufficient and I waste a lot less food when things can't hide in the back. I really enjoy the "daily shop" lifestyle and hope that I can continue with smaller shops at home. Luckily I live close to Granville Island Market in Vancouver!
This is the other corner of the room when the bed is down. We tuck the lounge chair in the corner and have a small side table and lamp for bedside reading. The small table can also be used with the lounge chair when the bed is up for a nice little reading nook.
On the left you can see our shower next to the kitchenette. We added a hanging shower caddy so that we can easily reach our bath products. Using a small shower means having one bottle of shampoo, one conditioner, and so on open at a time. If your shower is feeling cluttered at home and you are constantly picking bottles up off the shower floor, consider this idea.
Fresh flowers always bring natural life to a space. No space is too small for flowers and I like to keep them around! Instead of keeping a vase, jars like this one work well and are multi-functional for times when you don't have flowers.
Here we have our living room set up. The fireplace isn't functional but adds charm to the space and provides a nice shelf for the TV (even though I haven't turned it on) and some decorative mirrors. Mirrors help to make the space feel larger and I often do my makeup over here as there is better natural light. Behind the fireplace is a nook with shelving from floor to ceiling. We store books and some pantry items over there. Behind the chair is a cupboard with two shelves where we store our dishes and the rest of the pantry. We have a complete dish set for two and a few pots and pans! Sometimes I have to get creative when cooking but we make it work!
On the left you can see the shower and the toilet. This was the hardest part to get used to as it doesn't offer a lot of privacy. Not shown here is the make-shift curtain we threw up between the toilet and the shower. The barn style door is a smart solution in this case as fitting a regular door in here would be next to impossible. Not shown here are metal hooks that we hang our bath towels on to dry after a shower.
On the right the barn door slides open to reveal our little toilet room. I'm not going to say this couldn't be bigger. It's like human origami to fit in here with the door closed. There is a small storage space in here where we keep cleaning supplies for the apartment.
In warmer months, the balcony can be used as a little work station or breakfast spot! There is nothing like having your morning coffee in the rooftops of Paris! The table also folds down so that both of us can stand out there and watch the sunset. Having a balcony is a lovely thing. To step out in the fresh air and take in the view is something I have really cherished.
Here are some of the splendid views from the balcony. A nice view can make all the difference. Especially when it's a view of Paris!
So there you have it! My tiny Paris apartment. Do you think you could live here? It's definitely an extreme case but it has taught me a lot about design and about myself. This experience has taught me to live with less and that's something I would never change.