Modular living

Mal | Home,Simplicity | Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Wowie zowie. Check out this tiny apartment and all of its many possibilities.

Image is from the New York Times, and shows a library wall concealing washer/dryer, and a television wall concealing a kitchen.

The image is from the NY Times and shows a library wall concealing a washer/dryer and a television wall concealing a kitchen. It was designed by Gary Chang and reported in the New York Times, the 344-square-foot apartment allows him to live as though he had much more space.

Where I lived in grad school

I myself am no stranger to modular living in tiny spaces. During my first year in grad school, I lived in a studio apartment of about the same size as Mr. Chang’s in which I carefully¬†maximized space. It allowed me to have a live/work art studio for a fairly reasonable price. Sure, I had to fold the futon up and down every single day, did not have a table or other surface for eating, and could not entertain more than one visitor at a time, but there are certain things about it that I still miss.

I miss my singular purpose, my solitary focus of creating art and becoming an art therapist. I miss the spartan, slimmed-down set of furniture and belongings. There was no room in that apartment for anything that I wasn’t using or wouldn’t be using soon. I miss being forced outside — I walked the dog more, took in the neighborhood sights, and generally acted like more of a local when living there,¬†in part because I needed my world to be larger than those 350 square feet.

Neighborhood walk

But I made tons of art in that space, and mostly because it was a space designed to foster art-making. That’s a good reminder to me, as I go through my living space and attempt to make it meaningful. What behaviors do I want to foster? How can I use my space to foster them?

If I could get accustomed to the idea of maximizing a utilitarian, small space, maybe I could live in one of those tiny-footprint homes on some nice acreage. This would allow me to have more interaction with nature, live more simply, and perhaps be able to afford my dream of owning and cultivating a plot of land.

But, maybe not. I’m keenly aware that this sort of modular, small-space living probably only works if you are living by yourself. If I had been forced to coordinate the futon-folding hour with another person, it probably wouldn’t have worked.

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