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.

Real World Micro Living

We are design wonks here at LifeEdited. We swoon at Parisian micro flats with experimental lighting schemes, lust over obtuse Japanese rental properties and dig all–well, “many”–varieties of experimental architecture and design. But we also know these things cost money to build; in fact, several of the most innovative small space designs we’ve seen are a rich client’s pied-à-terre. Concocting and consummating many of these designs also take time and attention some of us would rather direct elsewhere.

While furnishing, renovating and improving small spaces does take less money and attention because of their sizes, the fact is that for many of us, living in a simple unadorned, straightforward, un-renovated, inexpensive home is the essence of living an edited life.


To illustrate, we wanted to share reader Marya’s small Florida home. Here’s how she describes her it:

I live in one large room which serves as office, sleeping area, kitchen, and small sitting space. There’s a divider to separate off my bed from the rest of the room; it has bookshelves on one side and clothes closets on the other. My bathroom has a stall shower and a stacked washer/dryer. The kitchen area has under-counter fridge and freezer, 2-plate stove top, and a few built-in cupboards. I have a minimum of pots, pans, dishes but can entertain 4 people comfortably for dinner.

Marya’s home features virtually no architectural distinction excepting a screened-in porch. Most of the furniture was purchased at K Mart, she reports. Yet this is an edited home.

She occupies as much room as she, her two cats and one dog use. She lives with what she needs (the boxes and books are related to her work as a writer/publisher). She owns the place outright, paying only $350/month in condo fees, which include water, lawn, pool maintenance and any exterior structural maintenance. She describes this low financial and logistic overhead life as being “much simpler than when [she] had a ‘proper’ house,'” and that her current setup “gives [her] time to read and write and think.” As we read yesterday, isn’t that what most of us are striving for anyway?

The reason we say this is an edited home is because she lives an edited life–in other words, architecture and design didn’t strike her life simple.


It’s true that we appreciate high design. And we do believe design can solve some technical and–let’s face it–aesthetic challenges. But to suppose that design is the end of the story misses the mark. Doing more with less is something anyone can do, in any financial circumstance, with any furniture or aesthetic, in most any space (we’re not sure about this one). Thank you Marya for the reminder.

  • Marya

    I provide variety by changing rugs & bed coverings, moving paintings, replacing canvas chairs, for different seasons to give splashes of color, try to separate living spaces with different color focus.

    Nothing extravagant …just a variety in areas & seasons to keep it interesting.

    I would call it “minimalist living” except that I’m so busy writing books and with local volunteer work that I don’t have much time to think about it. My brother said it was like “living on a small boat” where space has to be planned.

    When I go shopping and wonder if I should buy a new gadget, I think “what do I already have that will do the same job and where will I keep it?” and realize I don’t need it. I try to make multiple use of everything I have in my small space.

    • Marrena

      Thank you for sharing your home with lifeedited. Not all of us can afford Graham Hill’s $10K Murphy bed! Your place is inspiring.

  • Ti

    Small but not so edited. Too much clutter. Though design does not seem to be a priority in this “micro apartment,” it has potential. Perhaps the owner is still in the process of working out what is essential. I would go nuts in a place with so much stuff packed in.

    • Marya

      Sorry, just followed up on website … yes, the “clutter” is annoying but I’m actually very neat, know where everything is … unfortunately, as a publisher of my own books I have to store them some place and this is it. Photos were taken before a good clearing up but not much I can throw out.
      And, as my only home I do have some memorabilia that I want to preserve and some interesting artwork on walls (not obvious in pics) that give me visual relief.

  • Great to see. It might not be very spacious but she’s made a good-enough minimalist living out of her house 🙂

    • Marya

      My biggest investment was in the “room divider” that has bookshelves on the living side and clothes closets on the sleeping side … that really defines the space.

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