Minimal, Small-Space Living for A Growing Family

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In Alison and Trevor’s home, there is only room for what’s truly important — literally. The couple, who welcomed their first child Theo into the world in 2013, live within 600 humble square feet. Their condo in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood has been home for over six years, and although many urged them to find a place that offered more space when they became pregnant with their son, Alison and Trevor couldn’t imagine leaving. “Instead, we decided to stay and make our small space that we love work for us,” Alison explains; a journey which she documented on her blog, 600 Square Feet and a Baby.

Knowing they were welcoming a third family member was a bit daunting, but what began as a trial turned into the shift in perspective that forever changed their outlook. “I was so nervous to try…” Alison begins, “[but] to our surprise, what began as an experiment has changed into a way of life and we are loving living small in the city with a toddler.” Instead of focusing on what they don’t have, they instead view the entire city as their backyard. Steps from cute shops, restaurants, great coffee, breweries and parks, their space boasts high ceilings, large windows and an open floor plan. Although they couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, the family did undergo some renovations to make the home more livable as Theo grows. Alison shares, “When [he] was about 6 months old, we invested in a Wall Bed that we installed in a nook in our living room and gave up our bedroom to him.” The couple also removed the butcher block kitchen island and replaced it with an extendable dining table to function better at regular meal times and when hosting friends and family. These changes — combined with Alison’s heavily-curated furniture pieces — keep the apartment feeling spacious, bright, comfortable and uncluttered. “A benefit of owning less things is that we can make sure we really love the things we do have,” Alison says. “Every chair, lamp or book takes on a special meaning when you only have a little space.”

Their space continues to be a work in progress and they are constantly evaluating their belongings and asking questions such as “Do I love this piece?”, “Do I find it useful and beautiful?”, “If I was shopping for this today, would I still buy this same one?” Despite furniture and things being called into question constantly, there are some permanent changes they wish they could make, namely the addition of clothing storage. With 11-foot ceilings and four seasons in Vancouver, Alison says, “I would love to extend our closets with custom doors to take advantage of all the overhead storage space [as] we end up with a lot of coats, shoes and gear.”

For the family, it’s all about being happy with less. “Living in our home keeps our priorities in check,” Alison shares. “We love that there is only room for what’s most important,” and at the heart of that is family which, as it turns out, is growing. The couple is happy and excited to announce that they are expecting their second child this summer, and when asked if they plan to stay in their humble abode, Alison replied, “Yes… I am excited for the challenge of changing our home again to accommodate two little ones. I hope it will be an [exercise] in what is really important, and l hope we can do it with beauty and grace!” –Sabrina

Photography by Mary and Joel of Blue Window Creative

  1. melissa says:

    Love the sectional. Can you please provide the web address for ScanDesign? No luck locating it online.

    1. Lisa says:

      Looks like scandesign dot com works… but they don’t have that exact couch listed.

  2. Wow – this is a beautiful and peaceful space for this young family. The white keeps things very cohesive, and I love that there are plenty of nooks for books!

  3. Justina says:

    This is so inspiring! We have been tackling a similar goal but this gives me hope it can be done. Would love any suggestions for companies or websites for businesses you have found which help aid living small!

  4. Kendra says:

    What a charming home! I love all of the efficient uses of space. “There is only space for what’s important” is one of my favourite reasons to love a home. :)

  5. Naomi says:

    Love the wall bed, where is it from?

  6. Chance says:

    Where is this growth chart from? I love it!!

  7. Alison says:

    Thank you so much for sharing our home!

    To answer some of the questions… the Wall Bed is from Resource Furniture http://resourcefurniture.com/. Our couch was purchased over 6 years ago and is no longer in production unfortunately. Though I do think the secret to its comfort is that it is partially down-filled. The growth chart was a handmade gift from a friend.

    1. Erinorea says:

      I love your home! Would you mind telling me where the dining table is from? It’s perfect!

  8. Kaitlin says:

    So love your apartment and have been following you on Instagram for a bit! My husband and I live in a one-bedroom, 700 square foot apartment in DC and LOVE our neighborhood. We’re expecting our first child this year and I’ve already been rethinking our furniture and storage as we get ready for our little one. Thanks for sharing your home and providing a beautiful example of how you can live an urban life with a family!

  9. Rascher says:

    This is such a lovely home that shows creative ways to live in a small space with a family. Thank you for sharing it and inspiring other people to do the same.
    Rascher

    1. Alison says:

      Thank you so much! I’m always a bit nervous sharing as some people thing we are crazy! Really appreciate the encouragement and support.

  10. Jacky Maltby says:

    It’s in our nature to want more and more, but that way we just clutter our homes. Alison’s apartments is a real evidence that a happy family can live in a small space with having all essential things. I really loved your home! Congratulations!

  11. Laura says:

    Congratulations Alison on the newest addition to your family! And your home is so inspirational. I can’t wait to see your creativity with adding another baby to the mix!

    1. Alison says:

      Thanks so much Laura! We are nervous to add another in the mix but hope we can make it work. Appreciate the encouragement more than you know!

  12. Cate says:

    Such a beautiful space, Alison! I’ve loved following 600sqft.com for well over a year now. Congratulations on adding another little one to your family!

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