This week the New York Post ran an article about a couple that lives in the city’s smallest apartment. Their “microstudio” measures a wee 175 square feet—only 10 feet wide, and just under 15 feet long. The kitchen is equipped with a mini-fridge and hot plate, but the couple never cooks; they use their cupboards for clothes storage instead of pots and pans.
[See the photo gallery of the couple’s apartment here.]
Of course, such an extreme example of minimalism made me wonder if my husband and I could do the same. My first reaction was to laugh at the thought. But then I realized that this is exactly how we lived for six weeks last summer (see My Minimalist Story, Part 3: My Life in a Duffel Bag). Most of our hotel rooms were no larger than this, and we were perfectly comfortable.
Yet that begs the question…even though we could do it, would we want to?
And to that, I must answer: No.
Why not? Because I have a confession to make: I’m Miss Minimalist, and I’m an empty space junkie. I love empty space. Lots and lots and lots of it. The more, the better.
If you’d like to know what my dream home looks like, take a gander at this renovated cement factory. (Actually, I wouldn’t want the whole house, just the room with the blue carpet and white sofas–scroll down to see the pics.)
I know that many minimalists, and proponents of the voluntary simplicity movement, dream of tiny houses and cozy spaces. Do you know what I dream of? A living room the size of a gymnasium. With nothing but our mattress, two chairs, and coffee table—and tons of gorgeous, magnificent, empty space.
I look around at our 800 square foot apartment, and know it’s too big for the paltry amount of stuff we have in it. But if you offered me a 2000 square foot loft for the same rent, I’d take it in a heartbeat.
My empty space obsession isn’t new; I’ve been enamored with enormous rooms for as long as I can remember. When I was in college, I worked in a contemporary art gallery. Now I understand why I always felt so comfortable in that space. It wasn’t the cutting edge art to which I was attracted (as I thought at the time); it was the gallery space itself. High ceilings, white walls, more empty space than you could shake a stick at. And I particularly loved it between exhibitions, when the walls were completely blank.
In the UK, I’ve found a new way to feed my addiction: touring the majestic interiors of castles and estates. Last weekend, I visited Windsor Castle, which has some of the grandest rooms I’ve ever seen. Tragically, they were covered head to toe in paintings, tapestries, gold gilt decor, and furniture that looked as if it might come to life and attack (I have an irrational phobia of chairs and tables with animal feet). I couldn’t help but fantasize about how beautiful those rooms would look if they were stripped bare—and under what circumstances I might come to live in one.
I fear this disclosure may make me unpopular among other simple livers, as my penchant for oversized spaces seems antithetical to the movement’s values. But hey—we all have our quirks. And as of yet, I haven’t actually purchased a gigantic abandoned factory to renovate into a home (though I’m sure my husband fears that someday I might).
In reality, I try to live as lightly, simply, and “green-ly” as possible; I dream, however, on a much larger scale. So while I love a good tiny house site as much as the next person, I’m not really yearning for a pint-sized pad. Instead, I’m drooling over outsized lofts and warehouse conversions—and (no longer so secretly) plotting minimalist makeovers of certain royal palaces.