Just hang on, hang on to the vine…*

*Lyrics from Hang On Little Tomato by Pink Martini off their second album. I heard this while cooking, or washing up, and it completely cheered me up. It’s a sweet little song about remaining optimistic. Lately that has felt difficult, likely in part due to the lack of sunlight (and never ending days of being trapped in our tiny home). But I’m hanging in there, not like a kitten on a branch, but like a little tomato on the vine, waiting until I’m fully ripened before I burst forth with heirloom flavor (I’m certainly NOT a regular tomato – probably I’m one of those weird colored heirloom ones that look awful but are the best tomatoes you’ve ever eaten). How long until summer again?

See my little office tucked into the living room?

See my little office tucked into the living room?

When we moved back to the city full-time, I had to lose my office. My glorious, large, occasional guest room, sunlit, breezy, private office. Enter one of my daily mantras: it’s only temporary, it’s only temporary. But, while we’re hunting for a more permanent place to settle, we’re still trying to make this one work for us as best it can.

Once we decided to take the pied-à-deux, we had some furniture rearranging to consider. The previous living room layout included a nearly 5′ long niche to the right of what was clearly an old chimney breast. In our prior space, this little nook happily housed our TV and assorted media accoutrements. In our current space, however, that single niche layout was replaced by two niches flanking the chimney breast: on the left, one about 20″ wide, and on the right, one just shy of 32″. Yeah, so, no TV nook here.

We utilized the space as best we could: closet closer to the bedroom; office closer to the natural light.

We utilized the space as best we could: closet closer to the bedroom; office closer to the natural light.

Since there is no proper closet in the apartment (it’s technically a studio apartment), and the giant storage unit in the kitchen was removed so we could re-install our dining room nook, we decided to turn one of the niches into a closet of sorts. It’s pretty basic: a rod, a hamper, and some not-so-glamorous odds and ends tucked and stacked behind a chair, but when you’ve got 320-ish sf to work with, you make do. We considered making the other niche, the larger one, into a closet, too, but then we realized that it was just big enough to house a tiny desk, and could therefore serve as my office.

The closet is delightfully dark. The left shows how it looks with a flash; the right how it looks normally. Good thing our winter clothes are mainly black and navy.

The closet is delightfully dark. The left shows how it looks with a flash; the right how it looks normally. Good thing our winter clothes are mainly black and navy.

This has since been re-styled, but you get the general idea. It's petite, but it works.

This has since been re-styled, but you get the general idea. It’s petite, but it works.

Not the enormous roughly 12′ x 14′ room that I had to myself before, but the 24″ x 31.5″ (that’s right, INCHES) space seems to be just big enough to store my computer, a lamp, some art supplies and books. Just the essentials, but a hell of a lot better than having to throw (or gently place) the laptop on the floor when we want to eat dinner at our table at night. Jeff had a leftover IKEA desk from a temporary employee at his office, so we just took it home one night and tried it out. It fit perfectly. Even fit with a little space leftover that is just big enough to hold a canvas so I can work on art projects at my own pace. What more could I want?

I culled my design books to what I thought would be my essentials. I need to open these from time to time for inspiration.

I culled my design books to what I thought would be my essentials, and they coexist with whatever fiction we’re reading (or hoping to read). I need to open these from time to time for inspiration.

BEFORE: When we arrived at The Deux the paint job, among other things, was lacking. AFTER: With some creative repurposing and some minor investment in shelves, we have a useful, efficient and attractive space. It's only temporary, but so is everything in life, right?

BEFORE: When we arrived at The Deux the paint job, among other things, was lacking. AFTER: With some creative repurposing and some minor investment in shelves, we have a useful, efficient and attractive space. It’s only temporary, but so is everything in life, right?

To make the space really work for us, we installed a few shelves made from some simple boards and brackets from Lowe’s. I wanted the space to recede, visually, since it’s really just a corner of the living room, so we painted the shelves the same color as the walls, and chose black brackets. The effect is especially helpful at night, when the dark corner just expands, and the room feels bigger than it really is.

I can’t really do any hand drafting in this mini-office, nor can I really go crazy with painting/drawing. But I can have a little space to call my own, and that ain’t bad.

xoxo

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2 comments...

  1. Heather@hawesphotography.com'Heather {AFirePoleintheDiningRoom}

    Aaron and I are still gasping at the revelation that you live in 320 sq ft. We don’t think we have a room that small… Should you ever want to spend time in St Louis in a luxurious 5,500 sq ft firehouse, the door is always open.

    We still miss our just over 1,000 sq ft condo – small for us/St Louis. Kudos on using your space to the fullest. I love the desk nook.

    Reply
    1. kati Post author

      It’s a good thing that we’re living in such a condensed way so we can prepare for our inevitable next place (which will be too small, too). This place was never meant to be a long-term solution, but we’re trying to make the best of it.

      You keep on enjoying your digs. If/when we get out your way, rest assured we’ll pop in. Better get your unrinals fixed. :)

      Reply

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