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.
“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.
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.