Photo credit: with permission from Rita. Find her on Instagram at @smallspacedesigns or visit her blog http://www.smallspacedesigner.com/diy-faux-brick-wall/
Today, I'm hopping all the way across the pond to explore Rita's home (@smallspacedesigns). Rita and her partner live in Montreal, Canada, in what Rita tells me is a 530 square foot condo. Now, I'm not exactly sure what 530 foot looks or feels like, but I'm guessing it's not a whole lot of room. That's why I've been keen to catch up with Rita because here in the UK, we're often pretty challenged for the room too. More and more new-build homes are scaled down to fit the plots they sit on, and you need only spend a few minutes on Pinterest to realise that what Americans think a small bathroom is looks nothing like a downstairs loo here in the UK!
But anyway - it's Rita's incredible eye for detail, clever use of space and preference for industrial & modern interior design that made me ask her for a home tour. Check out Rita's gorgeous home below, and see what she had to say about making the most of a home that's small but perfectly formed...
Hi Rita! First, can you tell me where you live, who you live with, and how long you've been there?
I live in Montreal, Canada. I moved into my condo with my boyfriend in April, so we've been here for four months. Our condo is 530 sq.ft, and our style is a mix of industrial and modern.
I like the mix of industrial and modern - it looks easy to live with. In what ways is it difficult to live in a small space?
It's actually not difficult at all. When we first bought it, it wasn't even built yet and we just had a floor plan. We were worried that it might be a little too small, but once it was built and we moved in it was perfect for our needs. And, we love being together and doing things together, so we don't really crave personal space. I love how cozy our condo is and how everything is within reach. When I'm doing laundry, I don't need to run up and down any stairs. Cleaning takes 20 minutes total (we even have a robot vacuum that does most of the work!) The space we have is perfect for us and has taught us how to downsize and only keep what we need instead of hoarding things we'll never use.
That's so nice that you like living close to each other, in that sense. Have you implemented any small space tricks you're really proud of?
One of the biggest space savers in our condo is the drop-leaf kitchen table we built ourselves. It's perfect for when we have guests over for dinner, and it transforms into a 2-seater when it's just us. So I would definitely recommend a table like that for small spaces. Another trick is to mount furniture to the wall (floating) because it gives the illusion that your space is bigger than it actually is (like our giant TV unit that goes up to the ceiling). The empty space underneath makes the space feel open, and the height makes the ceiling seem very tall.
Yes! I love the 'floating' trick - it really does work, doesn't it? But where do you put all those 'bits' we all have - like a hoover or an ironing board etc..?
We hide most things in our entry closet, in our TV unit, and in the drawers under our bed (a necessity for small spaces). Suitcases go in the locker in the garage, but it's basically just a 4x4 cage.
I love the light that pours into your living area from the doors adjoining the balcony. Which is your favourite room in your house and why?
My favorite area is definitely the kitchen. Our kitchen island is huge (considering how little space we have) and that's where we spend most of our time since we love to cook. Those open shelves (which we built ourselves) turned out gorgeous and I love looking at them. Also, (my boyfriend would kill me if I didn't mention this), he automated all the lights, the TV, the AC and even the robot vacuum so everything in our house works with voice command now. "Alexa, turn on Netflix!" "Alexa, turn on vacuum" "Alexa, turn on AC." Yeah, we're that lazy.
Where do you buy your homewares from? Do you have any favourite stores?
My favorite store by far is Homesense. Almost all decorative items are bought from there. They have such unique pieces and a lot of their stuff is imported from India. Unfortunately, they don't have an online store because their inventory changes every day, so I need to go to the store periodically to see if they have anything new. It's ok though, I love going there. I also really like Bouclair, Ikea (of course), Maison Simons, and Zone Maison.
Finally, if you had all the money in the world, what would you do to your home?
If I had all the money in the world, I would buy a bunch of tiny houses all over the world and go travelling. In terms of adding or buying something for my condo, I honestly don't know what else I would add. Maybe an expensive rug or two, a jacuzzi on the balcony, an insane shower system with massage jets, and definitely one of those super high-tech toilets that have heated seats, water jets to clean your butt, self-cleaning options -- the works! Oh, and a really good integrated sound system.
Thank you so much for talking to me, Rita, and for letting us all into you home! I'd happily head over to Montreal to live in your apartment if I could - and in the meantime, I'll be making the most of your stylish space-saving tricks