The Real House Tour: Living and Working in 400 Square Feet
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.
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).
Butler Stand — CB2
Whitmore Over the Door Shoe Rack — Amazon
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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!
Did you enjoy this article? Leave me a comment below and share on social.