Re: very small/ compact housing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006 07:40:05 -0800 (PST)

On Feb 2, 2006, at 10:06 AM, Maggi Rohde wrote:

At Touchstone in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we have two very small units that are one floor finished (about 475 sqft) and one floor unfinished (either a walk-up attic or a basement). We finished our basement and now have about 800 sqft of living space for myself, my partner and our baby. The other very small unit is occupied by a single man and, sometimes, his two sons.

In my short time living here, the things that make our space work are:
- an open floor plan (sitting room attached to kitchen
- high ceilings (9' -- makes it much more spacious, plus we can get extra-tall cabinets in the kitchen and bath)
- closets and other storage in every possible nook and cranny

I have approx 850 sq ft. It was planned as a two bedroom. I took out the walls for the bedrooms and now have essentially two large rooms connected by a hall about 10 feet wide. A walk-in closet and the W/D closet are on one side and the bathroom on the other to divide the space. Light goes through the whole apartment from dawn to dusk.

The openness makes it look very spacious and it's hard to believe it is the same floor plan as other two bedroom flats here. I work at home so that space includes my home office (computer stuff and a million books) and a crafts area as well -- large worktable, sewing machine, ironing board and storage. I have frequent grandchildren visit so I have bookcases of toys and books, highchair and a Silver Cross pram in that space as well.

The most frequent reason people say they couldn't live this way is that they have to have to have a door to close. I habitually make my bed as I get out of it so that isn't a problem. Having no permanent walls means I can change the space as necessary using book shelves, screens, etc.

I would love taller ceilings, however. Another foot would make a huge difference. It is also the most common wish that others here have as well -- higher ceilings. Our ceilings are 8 ft. I would say go up before you go out. I feel like the people upstairs are walking on my head sometimes.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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