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.

Compact, Transforming Apartment on a Budget

When many of us see Graham Hill’s LifeEdited apartment, we see expensive custom cabinetry and moving walls and perhaps think, “I can’t afford that?” We at LifeEdited think we have some solid arguments for investing in transforming furniture and custom flourishes; and we’re trying out damnedest to help build larger developments where we can achieve the economies of scale that will make our design technology affordable to large swaths of the population. That said, we understand that many–perhaps most–people don’t have the kinda dough necessary to buy all of that stuff, much less put it in a rental apartment.

The question, “What does a renter on a limited budget do if he or she wants a LifeEdited apartment?” is a fine and vexing one. Southern Californian Nick Gebhardt has one of the better answers to this question that we’ve seen.

Gebhard put together an apartment that has much of the functionality of the LifeEdited apartment at a decidedly more affordable price-point. Moreover, all of his furniture can be transferred to future apartments.

The rental apartment that Gebhard shares with his spouse is actually a one bedroom, but he makes the living room into a second bedroom by using a murphy bed from Because of the high clearance of the bed, he can slip a low profile sofa on the frontside of the bed, making a sorta hacked version of the Resource Furniture Swing. Storage is handled by several IKEA Pax storage units. There is a smattering of other IKEA furniture such as the Laver chairs, which stow away when not in use.

The proper bedroom contains a trundle bed, which acts as a couch and provides sleeping accommodation for two more. That room also contains a large TV and entertainment system.

Gebhardt says the whole project set him back about $10K…slightly less expensive than the LifeEdited apartment. See his far more colorful description of the project called “Design an Easier Life” at his website

Major props to Gebhardt for taking on an edited life with such commitment and proving that a smart, compact home is accessible to anyone. And many thanks for sharing it with our readers.

  • gblock

    nice design. Would definitely work for something like a Condotel room.

  • diverdutch

    Instead of a Murphy in an old garage apartment/studio I once lived in, I used a pipe frame with canvas stretched, tanned with coffee and a map of Big Bend sketched on the bottom. When not is use, it folded to the wall showing the map above the ’50s leather couch I had at the time. It was very comfortable and I miss it a lot… Soon to come back with another drawing…

  • Joy_F

    IKEA in China had a lot of the same stuff as resource furniture – obviously for far cheaper, and not the same quality. My tiny apartment in Changsha, PRC was outfitted in it after I made a couple overnight trips to Guangzhou and had it shipped back. I loved it. I looked for the same stuff in IKEA in America and it just isn’t sold. I have wondered if there was anyway to get IKEA to market the tables etc that I had there in the States? Is there just not a market?

    • Zee

      I realise your post is a very long time ago, but here’s to taking a shot.
      I can’t find on IKEA China’s website the stuff you mentioned are similar to Resource Furniture’s.
      Could you be so kind to name the range please?
      Much appreciations!

  • di

    Try a daybed or sofa bed. Store a wardrobe in pull-out baskets beneath furniture. If something is wrinkled, iron and wear it as needed.

    Store a portable stove top, stackable pans and dishes beneath a kitchen sink. Or store dishes vertically on narrow shelving at the end of a counter top. With under-counter appliances, span windows across a kitchen counter for more daylight.

    In a bathroom, try a small, triangular, corner sink without a vanity. Store towels and cosmetic baskets on narrow shelving over a toilet.

    Excessive closets, cupboards and shelving may not be needed. Baskets are easy to transport when cleaning up, going to the laundry mat, when moving, etc.

  • di

    Try floor cushions or a hammock.

  • di

    Convert all media to a handheld computer.

    Rather than a table, dine with a plate in your lap.

    For a desk or to dine, try a folding shelf beneath a window sill to enjoy a view. For writing, try a clipboard.

  • di

    To measure in the kitchen, use an ordinary teaspoon or mug. Whisk with a fork, use a mug as a ladle, use a pot as a mixing bowl.

  • di

    Vertical and open storage can be claustrophobic.

    For easy access, cover storage areas with small sets of curtains. For spaciousness, choose colors the same shade of the basic colors of a room. Curtains are inexpensive, easy to clean and replace.

  • di

    As an elderly person, I cannot easily rearrange furniture.