Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

The 600 Square Foot Family

Vancouver is one of North America’s densest cities with some of  its highest property values. When the city’s residents have kids, many travel the oft-tread path from city center to the burbs for more square footage. This was the situation that Alison and Trevor Mazurek faced when they started considering having a family. They loved where they lived with tons of restaurants, cafes and shops in easy walking distance, but their 600 sq ft one bedroom did not fit the conventional view of what constituted an adequate family home.

Fortunately, the Muzereks weren’t overly concerned with convention. “The Graham Hill TED talk started the conversation between my husband and I to stay in our small space with a kid,” Alison wrote to us in an email. They decided to stay and figure out how to make their space work with their son (now 1.5 years old), getting rid of lots of unnecessary stuff and adding the right stuff. They document their process in their blog 600SQFTANDABABY.

600sqftandbaby-baby

“When we decided to stay in our 600 square foot apartment with a baby I combed the internet looking for inspiration and proof that this could actually work,” Alison wrote.  Of her motivation she wrote, “I wanted to know the daily ins-and-outs of living in a small space with kids. The best sources I found were all in New York City (your blog of course!) which is endlessly inspiring but I couldn’t find anything local for us. The trend in Vancouver is that as soon as you are expecting you start looking for a townhouse or house in a surrounding suburb. We love living in the city and everything it has to offer, especially walking everywhere. I thought if I documented our journey others might think it was possible too.” The blog, which has been going since last September, covers topics from products, design and extracurricular activities.

She said that reaction to their choice has been mixed. Many find her accounts inspiring, while others think the couple “legit crazy”–though it’s easier for them to grasp once they get into the space.

600sqftandababy-living

The space itself is a high-ceilinged one bedroom/one bath condo. The bedroom has been given to their son, while they sleep in what’s effectively the dining room on a Ulysse wall bed by Resource Furniture. 

Asked if they’ll stay in their small space, Alison wasn’t sure. “Right now we are living in the moment, if there is anything I have learned from being a new mom, it is to live in the moment more…We hope to have another kid in the next couple of years. So far we have no plans to leave our little apartment, and we couldn’t be happier with our decision to stay here.” She says her husband dreams of adding the Resource Furniture bunk murphy beds when they have a second kid. Either way, she reports that they are committed to “living thoughtfully with less stuff.”

When asked if she had any suggestions, Alison said that people should know that they can live in a small space with children if they want to. “It just takes a little time to think about what is most important to you and what you could live without. The best part is when you give up a few things that don’t really matter like an extra closet, stationary bed or 15th pair of shoes you will be surprised what you gain.”

Head on over to 600SQFTANDABABY to see and read more. 

  • Stephanie McCombie

    Love it. Great post & beautiful space. Alison is an inspiration we love her Instagram too @600sqftandababy

  • JMCRAE_MUSIC

    So inspiring. Great read.

  • byefornowtinalau

    Thank you for sharing! What a great post and inspiration

  • Thanks so much for the feature @david_friedlander:disqus. Thrilled to be in such great company on your site.
    And thanks so much @stephaniemccombie:disqus @byefornowtinalau:disqus @JMCRAE_MUSIC:disqus !

  • WithheldName

    What is the local school district like?
    And no yard for the kid to play in?

    • Pam

      You don’t need a yard when there are so many parks within walking distance. Explore your neighbourhood, get out and meet new people!

      • Thanks Pam. That’s exactly what I was going to say 😉

  • Thibaut

    It’s kind of funny that in the US a 600 sqft apartment is considered too small for a 3 person family. It seems quite standard to me in Paris. Get down to 400 sqft and it begins to get interesting!

    • Exactly! Anytime our place feels small I look up apartments in France or Japan and our place feels huge. Always good to have another perspective.

  • carmellarayone

    Great decision! Kudos to you for finding the sweet spot of enough.

  • Felicity

    My husband and I share a 550sq ft house with our 4yo and 5mo old. It wasn’t our plan to stay in this house so long, but it’s our best option right now, so we’re making it work. Looking forward to checking out your blog!