I never thought I would be saying this, but I love living small.
In recent years, tiny homes have been popular for individuals, travelers or small families. Many home design shows feature tiny/small homes that have a lot of options to choose from when designing them yourself.
In most large urban areas, apartment living spaces are smaller – some as small as 150 square feet. I don't mind small but that might be pushing it. Recently I've down-sized from 1,500 square feet to 450 square feet which freaked me out at the beginning, but now I can't imagine having that much space for one person at this time in my life.
I learned that purging is number one on the list – get rid of it if you don't need it. A rule of thumb is, if you haven't worn it or used it in six months, pass it on to others. Essentials should be your main focus. Keep it simple.
I'm an interior designer by trade, so I know that space planning and organization are key factors to living small. I researched and found great ideas for storage options: hanging shelves, pots, carts, stacking tables and chairs, door and wall hooks and movable furniture. I've spent many years traveling throughout Scandinavia, so many of my ideas come from staying in hotels, hostels or friend's homes.
I love entertaining so that was another challenge. My days hosting 12-15 people are over as I can only fit 2-6 people tops and they have to like each other. My cooking has shrunk as well, so most of my entertaining consists of one pot/dish meals and platters.
My final thoughts on small living: be kind to yourself and stay super organized.
Twelve Things I Can't Live Without (right now)
- Eames Molded Plastic Armchairs by Herman Miller. I love these chairs at my work stations at home and my art studio, and they come in cool colors. www.dwr.com
- Nest 7 Plus bowl set, by Joseph Joseph. This an entire baking set in one measuring cups, sifter and two mixing bowls. I have a very small kitchen and this helps me with clutter. www.amazon.com
- Eames Lounge and Ottoman by Herman Miller. I always wanted this set but it was never the right time until now. It's my favorite seat in the house and my senior cat Socks loves the ottoman. www.dwr.com
- My favorite small dining room table that seats four people perfectly. This little jewel was designed by Eero Saarinen the architect of the TWA Flight Center at JFK airport. This is fits great in small places. www.dwr.com
- Evian water, I keep a Britta at home but these individual waters are great for clients in my art studio. www.amazon.com
- Harry's Shaving Products. I love the five blade razors and everything about the experience www.harrys.com
- Crane stationary note cards. It's nothing like sending a dear friend a nice note snail mail. www.amazon.com
- Lavazza Qualita Oro Italian, ground coffee. Excellent for pour overs or French press in the morning. www.amazon.com
My French fishing shirts these are my new go to when I'm at home or in the art studio. www.amazon.com
- Terra by Hermes is one of my favorite go to fragrance. www.hermes.com
- I would not be writing this with confidence if it wasn't for my Seattle family of support. Thank you for helping me deal with a tragic loss.
When boarding the flight from Seattle to Toronto, I had no idea what to expect besides meeting a large group of people to celebrate a friend's birthday. Before my trip, I read and followed users on Instagram related to Toronto. I reached out to friends and asked if they had traveled there - some said yes, others were inquisitive.
I've been to many places in British Columbia because it borders Washington State, but I wasn't familiar with the east coast of Canada at all. I've met people from Ontario, the most populated province and everyone has been very nice and super enthusiastic.
As my flight started to descend into Toronto, I got more and more excited seeing the urban sprawl come into view. I've always heard if you love New York City, Toronto is its Canadian sister. I wouldn't say they are exactly alike, but there are similarities. For me, it has a little flavor of London and a big dose of cozy Canadian hospitality.
The city is one of North Americas safest cities: low on crime, high on personality and charm. The shopping is world class and the food is international on steroids. I had the opportunity to chat with many locals and the consensus is that Toronto is for people all around the world and that speaks volumes.
Think "picnic" since we are in the middle of a pandemic and our world is turned upside and down. It's not been in our best interest to entertain or gather in groups aside from family members that stay in your immediate household due to Covid-19. Things for the moment are going through phases and we will be practicing social distancing for a while, our new normal for now. The summer is just around the corner and I miss my family and friends so much. When the time is right and health officials deem it safe I would love to see picnics throughout our beautiful parks.
Everyone loves being outdoors in the summer and a picnic can be shared or individual. I am going to choose the individual option; I like to think of it as "Lunchbox" style.
On the plus side, "Lunchbox" style offers the added safely of self-contained utensils and water. "Dinnerbox" would clearly be served with wine...okay, one thing at a time. Back to our "Lunchbox" style outing. Keep in mind when putting together your menu that you'll want items that travel well. I would suggest baguette and a variety of sandwiches, empanadas, cold chicken fried or grilled, fruit, cookie or cup cakes and a bottle of cold water. Don't forget the hand sanitizer or wipes! Stay Safe!
Liberal Libations — Kim Newton Arprise
My lovely friend Kim makes mixology and entertaining a breeze with her splendid book.
Ottolenghi Simple — Yotam Ottolenghi
This is a cookbook that should be in your collection. Many vegetarian recipes of course. Have fun with it and don't be afraid of adding protein if you like!
The New Paris — Lindsey Tramuta
I love everything about Paris and this is a book of style that keeps this stunning city recreating itself for generations to come.