My apartment is a whopping 500 square feet. Alone, it feels just right. With people over, my place transforms into a cramped box, making it difficult for me to feel comfortable in for a few hours, let alone longer. So when I see spaces smaller than mine sustaining two people, I want to know how it works. I asked Kyle and Alex, who share a 450 square foot San Francisco home in style, how they pull it off.
Be honest: Do you guys work together to control the influx of "stuff" into the house...or is one person sneaking stuff in or out when the other isn't looking?
Kyle: I'd say we're both conscientious about the stuff that comes into our space. I'm definitely guilty of buying more of the stuff around the house, but I try to be very considerate about what I buy—from both a design and functionality perspective.
Alex: Kyle tends to buy more of the "stuff" and I'm usually sneaking it into Goodwill donation bags.
How do you settle co-habitating disagreements?
Kyle: I usually have the final say around the house. I tend to be more particular than Alex when it comes to the domestic world.
Alex: Kyle usually gets the final say with anything domestic. Since I'm more the planner outside of the home, what he says goes in his domain.
What's the best thing about sharing this home with your partner?
Kyle: With our busy schedules, it feels special to have a quiet moment to chat about our days over dinner.
Alex: Waking up every morning to find Kyle sipping coffee at his desk in the early light. We both travel a lot and I always miss that moment when I'm away.
What's the worst thing?
Kyle: The lack of counter space in the kitchen is a bit of a bummer. Eventually it'd be nice to be able to cook together in the kitchen.
Alex: Not having my own sink.
Is there anything that surprised you about living in a small space with someone else?
Kyle: Even in a small space, it's possible to create many zones for different purposes. Though it is small, it doesn't have to feel small.
Alex: I'm surprised by how quickly you can accumulate "stuff" in a small space and how often we run to the donation center.
So, what's the secret to harmoniously sharing a small space with someone?
Kyle: My answer has a lot to do with what I think makes a successful relationship: a lot of shared beliefs/activities/goals, but enough differences to keep it interesting.
Alex: Knowing and respecting when your roommate/partner needs space. Making sure you're both represented in the design aesthetic of the space. But mostly, successfully coordinating bathroom time.
Thanks Kyle and Alex!
See their whole home (all 450 square feet!) → A Pared-Down Pad for a Stylish Pair