The Real House Tour: Living and Working in 400 Square Feet

 
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I’m excited to finally publish my own house tour — and I’m warning you — it’s the real one. I’m showing you not-so-pretty parts like the closet, the drawers, and under the sinks. This is how we really live and work in 400 square feet.

I used to live in a 240 square foot studio. With a husband. Don’t worry, we’ve been married for 11 years and know how to get along. We both had intense startup jobs and weren’t home much, so we optimized that space for relaxing. That was in San Francisco and now we live in a palatial 400 square foot studio in Hell’s Kitchen.

Now that I have my own business we prioritized my home office, relaxing, and playing music. By day, our dining table becomes my workstation. In the evening, we arrange our modular couch to suit our mood. Guitars and keyboard are out and ready to play. For all other needs, we outsource to our neighborhood.

 

The Floor Plan(s)

All of our furniture is modular in some way and we rearrange the furniture to suit our needs. When the bed is down, the dining table is up against the window. In the morning we put the bed up and make coffee. Once the husband leaves for work, I get out my wooden box full of work supplies and get busy. If I’m dragging a bit a need some extra inspiration, I put the table kitty corner so I can look out our floor to ceiling windows. Similarly, if I have heavy reading to do, I put the couch in an L shape for lounging. If we have dinner guests (pretty rare) we will orient the table in the window and bring the other two chairs up from our storage closet.

 

Entryway Closet

With one closet in the entryway, this thing pulls a lot of weight. A 6-drawer dresser holds folded clothing. We removed the legs in order to have more clearance for hanging items. More wooden boxes and wire baskets help make the most of the shelf. The far left side of the closet stores bed and bath linens, laundry, and coats. Shoes are hung on a shoe rack over the bathroom door (not pictured, but I will add a photo soon).

Entryway Resources

Butler Stand — CB2

Whitmore Over the Door Shoe Rack — Amazon

 

Bathroom

I’m lucky enough to have natural light, a window that opens, and great water pressure. To make my bathroom feel a bit more like a spa, I added big tillandsia (air plant) that thrives in the humid environment, getting splashed when someone takes a shower. Other ways to make your bathroom something you love is to keep useful things (like personal wipes and post-poo drops) nearby and in beautiful containers.

Bathroom Resources

Hookless Waffle Fabric Shower Curtain — Amazon

Lateral teak bath mat—CB2

Bridgette Towel Hooks in Chrome — Anthropologie

Black Dip Platter — CB2

Pekoe Black and White Storage Box with Lid (wet wipe container) — CB2

Post-Poo Drops — Aesop

 

Living Room

This really is the everything room, but for organization sake, this is the living room-esque section. This room is where we work, sleep, relax, play music, and cook. So it had to be versatile and functional.

Living Room Resources

Bird paintings “Fresh Coat” and “Morph” by Jon Ching

ABC Flying Letters 18 Print — Fy

Naughty Garden Gnome — Amazon

Build Your Own Mid-Century Banquette in Twill, Stone — West Elm

Oxford Marble Side Tables — CB2 

Leather stool — Amara

Carlson ii white towers —CB2

Piano White Wall Shelf — CB2

Plants — The Sill

Pendant Plug-In Canopy in Antique Bronze — West Elm

Tala 3W Squirrel Cage Bulb — West Elm

18" Izel Black and White Fair Isle Pillow — CB2

 

Wall Bed

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Installing a wall bed (aka Murphy Bed) is the biggest impact you can make to your square footage. I’ve purchased and installed three wall beds in three different apartments with no issues. Because wall beds use a regular mattress (unlike a pull-out couch) it’s just as comfortable as a regular bed.

Our favorite so far is the Next Bed from Murphy Bed Depot . Use the code "bigtaste7" for 7% off!

bedroom Resources

The Green Mattress — Avocado

St Augustine Next Bed (wall bed) — Murphy Bed Depot

Leticia Knob — Anthropologie

36"X16" Forma Pillow — CB2

Emmerson Modern Reclaimed Wood Floor Mirror — West Elm

Swing Arm Black Wall Sconce — CB2

 

Modular Sofa

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I’ve owned a lot of couches in my days, but this one is by far the most versatile. The individual pieces clip together or stand alone to make up the perfect seating arrangement for your small space.

This Build-Your-Own Mid Century Banquet from West Elm can be configured into lots of different shapes! It’s technically a banquet, not a couch, and it’s shallow depth is great for small spaces (and good posture). Mine is comprised of one bench and two round corners with walnut legs and twill fabric in the color of birch. With tax and shipping it came in at $1,988 which is by no means cheap, but the high quality and flexibility made it worth it to me.

 

Kitchen

Our kitchen area is quote spacious, especially for a studio. That said, we steer clear of cooking elaborate meals that require obscure kitchen gadgets, and with only four forks, we can’t host big dinners.

Resources

Schmidt Brothers Acacia 18” Magnetic Wall Bar — Crate and Barrel

Matte Black Utensil Holder — Crate and Barrel

Bento Matte Black Mini Bowl (sponge holder) — CB2

Bento Matte Black Rectangular Platter — CB2

Prep Small White Canister (dish scrubby holder) — CB2

Magnetic Spice Tins — Container Store

Coup Line Dinnerware — Heath Ceramics

Chelsea Flatware — David Mellor (forks, knives, spoons)

 

Dining Table and Work Station

I have my own business and often work from home so setting up our home for work is something prioritized By day, our dining table becomes my workstation. One of my small space tips is to keep frequent activity items together in containers that are easy to move around. That way, when you’re ready to start something, you have everything you need in one bin. For example, my “home office”, which has things like my keyboard, mouse, and headphones, is stored in a wooden box. I set it up on the dining table when it’s time to work.

Dining / Office Resources

Go-Cart White Rolling Counter Stand Up Desk — CB2

Adjustable Industrial Stools — West Elm

 

As you can see, we packed a lot of function and versatility into our humble 400 square feet!

 

Related reading

Modular Sofa

This is The Most Versatile Sofa I’ve Ever Owned

12 Wall Bed.jpg

Everything There Is to Know About Wall Beds

Digital nomad daypack

The Quintessential Daypack for Digital Nomads

Few But Nice Dishes

The Joy of Having Very Few (But Very Nice) Dishes


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