What Qualifies as Small?
I must point out that the apartment above is not small in size. So why am I using it as an example of good design for smaller spaces? Because many of the hallmarks of small home decorating on are display. The same color palette is used in all common areas creating a beautiful visual flow, the 'legs' show on all the sofas and chairs, floor coverings are simple and functional with subtle patterns, fresh flowers add bursts of color and accessorizing is not overdone - although I would have preferred fewer objects on the antique chest in the living room. The bronze bust is so lovely it deserves to be the center piece along with the yellow and orange tulips.
But I also mention the larger size of the apartment for another reason, it opens the door to discuss a comment I received just the other day on the March post 'Decorating a Smaller Home: The Traditional Look Done Right!'. In her comment, Omama said "Bo-ring. Correct, perhaps, but dull, dull, dull. And, 1500 sq ft isn't actually "smallhouse living".
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so too with interior design styles and looks. And I'm quite sure that Omamma is not alone in her opinion of the traditional look as a bit dull. But I raise her comment because of its reference to 1500 square feet falling outside the definition of a small house.
Since the small house movement began, what qualifies as a small residence has been discussed endlessly. Sarah Susanka, who arguably started the small revolution with her 'Not So Big House' books, was the architect of the original 'Not So Big House' which measures over 2440 square feet and the 2004 Showhouse totals 3476 square feet. In 'Not So Big' Ms. Susanka says, "While you might not be able to afford a 6,000-sq.-ft. house, you may find that building a 3,000-sq.-ft. house that fits your lifestyle actually gives you more space to live in." It appears that by Ms. Susanka's definition, any house under 3,000 square feet might be considered small.
The 2004 Show Case house by Susanka at 3476 square feet
On the other hand, Apartment Therapy which runs the annual Small Cool Contest has the following categories for living spaces:
TEENY-TINY 300 Square Feet and under
TINY 600 Square Feet and under (but over 300 Square Feet)
LITTLE 900 Square Feet and under (but over 600 Square Feet)
SMALL 1,200 Square Feet and under (but over 900 Square Feet)
INTERNATIONAL All non-US entries (under 1,200 Square Feet)
As defined by Apartment Therapy, anything over 1200 square feet is not small. Before going any further, I have to add that I do love the Apartment Therapy mission espoused by its founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan. "A calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world."
To cloud the issue further, the Small House Society, where Jewel Box is listed as a 'Resource for Life' has members with houses ranging in size from under 100 square feet to over 3000 square feet. What I like about the Small House Society is the open discussion it promotes that focuses not about people claiming to be “tinier than thou” but rather people making their own choices toward simpler and smaller living however they feel best fits their life.
Until next time!