Tomorrow we begin the hunt for the smallest, coolest home in the world.
Are you ready?
Our contest page has all the info and gets much more interesting once we get rolling: The Contest Page.
This is GREAT. I'm so glad micro studios aren't competing with bigger places this year. Looking forward to seeing the talent in each category.
I have to object - here in New York 1200 square feet just isn't small. This contest seems skewed towards overgrown midwestern cities.
Homo - which is why there are different divisions...it is a nationwide contest, after all.
"I have to object - here in New York 1200 square feet just isn't small."This contest isn't about relative perception of a certain amount of space as large or small, it's about what one can do with a given amount of space. Humans are pretty much the same size and have the same daily needs, whether in "overgrown Midwestern cities" or in NYC. The things most people like or need in their daily lives are generally the same. Whether somebody regards particular square footage as "big" or "small" is beside the point.If anything, the contest is skewed toward New Yorkers, because we are more used to dealing with tiny spaces. We've had more practice in it and we see more great examples of small-space living in our friends' homes that we can learn from and draw on as sources of inspiration, than people in the Midwest do.
Drop everything over 600 square feet; places that big aren't generally in need of the kind of creativity and talent the smaller places require. The bigger ones are going to be house tours, not "smallest, coolest." Last year almost all of the larger homes were ungodly boring. Don't kill the original spirit of the contest.
my apt is 610 sq ft.....to group it with either 300-600 or 600 - 900 wouldn't seem right!
The size categories work well considering entrants will be coming from all different parts of North America (international has it's own category in this contest if memory serves).Looking forward to the creativity and uniqueness of all of the residences submitted.
I also maintain that 1200 is NOT small, regardless of where you live. The top limit should be 900 MAX !!!But yes, good idea on the categories.
1200 sq ft is small and can be full of creative ideas if a family of four lives in it.
Kathalal, that's just what I was going to say. We are a family of four in 850 square feet, and if you feel that doesn't require creativity and planning, then you've never tried it.
Maybe it's just me, but the "smallest, coolest" contest seems to bring out the absolute WORST qualities of the AT community. I think I will limit my viewing to the Kitchn for the duration...
Kathryn,Really? How so? I am always impressed and inspired at how contestants creatively transform small spaces. What is the negative side?
Sydney, tell that to Octomom...
I grew up in a house that was about 900sqft with 4 kids. Not much imagination needed there. 3 bedrooms. 1 for parents, 1 for girls, 1 for boys. Go outside to play, or play in your bedroom, 1 bathroom shared by all, bunk beds, do your homework at the kitchen table. That is pretty typical for the average person. I had a friend that grew up with 10 siblings in a 1 bedroom trailer. That would be a challenge. 1 or 2 kids in 1500 sqft. is luxury. Get real.The negative side of the contest is reading the comments and the bickering. I usually avoid it myself, but felt I had to speak up this time.
I happen to agree with both sousa609 and Kathalal. Every situation is different and with a family of four, that certainly qualifies @ 1200sf in my opinion and certainly worth a viewing. Sousa609 you may have to decide to call it 600sf and call it a day, that is if that is the class you'd like to compete with. I think AT actually has it down this year. Last year although a noble effort, just was a bit all over the place. What we all forget is that AT essentially monitors the submissions. It is essentially up to them to use good discretion when posting the submissions. I remain optimistic and although I have not been on this blog in sometime, I look forward to this every single year. Probably one of the better things 'interior design related' on the net that i've seen over the years. I'll admit, I always lean to voting or identifying the smaller (200sf-600sf) pre-war, character(bones)filled, modern places. I look at the complete integration of architecture and design. In my business I've seen some spectacular 400sf homes in NYC over the years. Perhaps it is the modesty involved in it...I live in an incredibly cool little, barely 300sf loft (yes it is a loft building - 3 large 7 foot windows and high ceilings) downtown that I just moved into, so I feel compelled to join this year again. Good luck!
Hey folks, calm down and enjoy our new approach. We're all in this together and we continue to experiment with new ways of harnessing creativity and growing the idea base.1200 is definitely an upper end for small, but we want to see what comes in and know that there are many ways 1200 sf can be very heavily used and require a lot of creativity. And in some parts of the country, this IS on the small end, believe it or not.In the end, remember, you will be the judges and you will get to decide who has done the most with what they've got and we've always seen people do better when they've done the best with the least.I'm sure it will be the same this year; you'll just have more to choose from :-)
@ Vanessa,I agree that the contest itself is usually pretty inspiring. I was referring to the incessant bitchiness, complaining and pettiness that comes out in the comments.I am also really tired of hearing how only New Yorkers live in small spaces and how the contest is (or should be) just for them. It may be more common for New Yorkers to live in tiny apartments, but to say the contest is "skewed" towards them is just untrue.That said, I do think the introduction of size categories is a good idea, if only to allow more equal comparisons.
Great! I'll sign up
The constant complaints on this site never cease to amaze me.
I also think it depends mostly on how many people live in any given space. It's not the same if a family of 4 live in a home or only one person or a couple.But I also agree that 1200 isn't small (unless you are maybe a family of 6, but there are hardly and large families that live together). I would have put the maximum at 1000 or even below.
smaller the better! it's of course the most challenging to work with, and where you can see the most creativity.
Complain, complain, complain. Life's so tough.
Wow. I remember when the comments on this site used to remain fairly positive and people were able to say they disagreed or didn't care for something without being a-holes about it. You'd think people were being forced to visit this site or something. I think it's great that the site is constantly trying new things, and while I don't always agree with everything that's presented here, I think it's fun to see what other people out there are doing with their homes/lives. Isn't that the main point behind the site anyway?
I'm with Kathryn. I've seen this before, and if your place isn't the smallest and the coolest, all Hades breaks loose. I've read some really nasty posts here, posts that aren't about gathering good ideas, but about being as nasty as you can be to someone whose home -- say, an 800-square-foot apartment -- is inspirational because it's "huge" compared to your thrown-together 600-square-foot hovel. There's enough discontent in the real world today; don't need to tune in here for more.
I interested to see homes pitted against each other in their respective "weight classes" - like a martial arts sparring match.Lets not hate on the heavyweights. :)
Still, 1200 sq ft is NOT small... Come on.
Cut the sh*t, people. I think all these spaces are small, it depends on what you're used to. I grew up in a 4,500 sq ft house, so sometimes I feel our current 980-1000 is pretty damn small. I would still feel that 1200 is small if it were more than just my boyfriend and I and our dog. When my parents moved out of that house they moved into a space that's half the size, that's a lot of adjustment. It all depends on what you need the space for, 300, if you're single with your cat, is space enough. But 1200 is a very tight squeeze if you have a spouse and a few kids. It's all relative.
Well, the title of the contest is "Smallest Coolest *Home* Contest," not "Smallest Coolest *Apartments Only" Contest," so I looked up some home plan websites to see what they considered small.Generally they catagorize "small" homes as 2,000 square feet or less. And, in tallying up the number of plans, I found about 1/4 were 2,000 square feet or less and the other 3/4 were for larger than 2,000 square foot homes. Home plans are expensive, and the larger the house, the more expensive the plan. But, clearly the demand is for larger-than-2,000 square foot homes.So, sorry to all of you who think 600 square feet is ginormous. The American population, for better - or more likely worse - does not.
I like the idea of categories because it levels the playing field. I love seeing the smallest spaces most of all. I do hope that the judging criteria factors in the intensity of space use (e.g., sf/person, heavy-duty live/work spaces, no. of days in residence). It doesn't seem fair to treat a pied-a-terre or guesthouse the same as a space that handles a lot of living and working 24/7/365, whatever the size.
1200 sq ft is not small.
The size depends on the person and their needs. I live in about 400-500 sq feet which is just fine for me and my boyfriend who lives there about half the time. I do school work in a library or on my dining table and maximize my closet space.But, my house also stores a large book collection, all my sewing supplies and my sports gear.If I had a home office or a large pet or a hobby that takes up space then I could definitely see being more comfortable in a 600-700 sq foot place. I sacrifice things to live in my home and share my space with someone. Different people have different requirements and this contest is all about effectively using the space that you have to do the things that you need - and doing it with style.
Come one guys, why all the complaining and whining? If you don't like that homes up to 1200 sq ft are included you could *gasp* just not look at that category. I'm personally looking forward to seeing entries from all of the different size categories.
um, if you dont like the rules, MAKE UP YOUR OWN CONTEST. sheesh.
I am a single person living in 1200 sf (1800 with the basement), and I agree that 1200 sf is not *that* small, especially if it's only for 1 or 2 people. However, I think that providing categories not only levels the playing field, but also increases the relevance of the site and the contest to people in a variety of cities and real estate markets. In Baltimore where I live, the primary (and often cheapest) housing style is the row house, which for most, is about 900-1800 sf. Other cities have a prevalence of small, detached or semi-detached homes. If this site isn't going to be all about NYC, then it makes sense to open up the categories.Really, size is only one factor in the need for ingenuity in one's living space. I think the inhabitant's access to cash and decorating or construction skill is much more determinative of what is possible in the home. Perhaps AT should consider (for a future contest or possibly for tours) differentiating homes based on the skill level of the inhabitant (i.e, amateur, skilled, expert) and monetary resources available for the design (i.e., impoverished, budget, well-funded). It is just as unfair to pit the space of an interior designer or someone with a construction background against a recent college graduate who's never picked up a hammer before, as it is to compare a 1200 sf house against a 300 sf one.So often I ooh and aah at the spaces presented here, only to realize that the inhabitants had a big budget and interior designers and could buy from any resource they wanted, or find that they are interior designers or architects themselves who know where to find materials cheaply, inherently know more than others about how spaces and furniture are constructed, and often have sewing or construction skills themselves.
less than 300 sq ft = tiny300 to 600 sq ft = very small600 to 900 sq ft = small900 to 1200 sq ft = medium
Wow...I never knew there would be so much negativity on a home interior website. It's broken up in categories so if your home is 500 sq than i guess the 600 - 1200 categories would be none of your concern - so why even comment about it.Plus, in southern states i know that $600/month could get you a 900 sq ft apt., but they still have to be creative in decor since they don't have the money to spend thousands of dollars to fill up ever space of their home. If this was just for New Yorkers, this would be a whole different scenario.I don't see anyone complaining about those living in NYC who can afford to spend thousands of of dollars just to have a 500 sq ft apartment in Manahattan and can still afford to spend even more on interior decorating - maybe those people should be banned from smallest coolest. In other cities, the cost of living is much lower, but they still struggle in ideas to decorate. Lets give them a chance to show off!If you don't like it, then just start another website called the Smallest Apartments Ever!*Stepping down my soapbox*
I live in an apartment that is 877 square feet (not including closets) Just to be clear - that 877 square feet incorporates two bedrooms, a roomy eat-in kitchen, a pantry, a living room, a dining room, a bathroom, and a foyer. (and 4 closets)Anyone declaring 1200sf to be small is delusional. Even a couple with a child would find this space to be adequate and liveable.The goal of the small/cool contest isnt to be inclusional - it is to showcase solutions to small living. If you live in 600sf in Ohio or in New York or in Paris - the size is still the same.
Sanctimony is not attractive.
My apartment is less than 250 sq ft and my wife and I live here with two dogs. It's very spacious.
Ok, seriously. Its all about perspective. I grew up in Houston, where land and labor is cheap. A 1200 sq. ft. home was an embarrassment. You only owned one if you were right out of college or living in the old part of town. Most houses were easily over 2000 st. ft., some in my neighborhood (overlooking golf courses) were 5000 . Yes, ridiculous, isn't it?Now I live in SF. My home is 850 sq. ft., which is perfectly reasonable for 2 people. (Although, please don't tell my mother it cost 4x as much as her 2000 sq. ft., 3 bedroom house with hot tub and huge yard.)Do I view my house as small? Not really. I would almost feel bad about entering it in the smallest coolest contest because I know a lot of people live in less - more successfully than I live in mine.Personally, I love the smallest coolest contest. I agree with the newest breakdowns - its evens the playing field. I always get new ideas or think "They're genius!" and learn something about design and efficiency.And as someone wise once told me... its not about the size its what you do with it.
After the results of the color and decor blog contests, I'd prefer there be no comments allowed and that there not be a grand prize competition that pits homes from different categories against each other.Let's just vote (or not) and get it over with.
jedigras, I hope you're entering the Small Cool contest, I want to see how you make 250sq ft spacious! My apartment is 280sq ft and only I (and my cat) live in it and it's not really all that spacious.
Since I will be soon be moving to an apartment that is less than 220 sq ft, I'd be interested in seeing the entries in the 0-300 sq ft category. Hopefully, I'll get some ideas! Not much on the web for these kind of spaces...
I love the Small is Cool contest, I entered last year and enjoyed all of the comments on my apt. The new categories are fine and are very fair. I usually vote based on the design and layout of the home, not the size of the home.
It is sad that so many people are being unkind. Maxwell and co. are supplying us with an excellent free resource. "Boycotting" it because something is not to your liking is juvenile at best.Now to the real problem. AT began with a NY-centric clientele and readership, focusing on small apartments of urbanites who have easy access to Ikea, craigslist, cheap good dining and other resources. Over time, the readership expanded to include people who live in other urban centers, as well as in the middle of nowhere.For example, I live in a place where square footage is quite cheap, but there's no Ikea, craigslist pickings are poor, and people tend to shop for oversize furniture. The result - a spacious place with no way to furnish it on a tight budget except wait forever to purchase new pieces online (which is against my green policy).It would be very nice if we could agree what AT is about - whether small NY apartments, or people facing and overcoming challenges in their homes - whatever those challenges may be.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this year's entries!On the size: The categories are clear enough. I'll still be interested in seeing the bigger spaces as well as the tiny ones. Good design can happen anywhere.Elizabethhttp://emblemorstain.blogspot.com
Nothing against 1200 sq ft apartments, in fact I recently moved from big hovel of an apartment into an officially "tiny" palace that I designed every inch of. It really is about the creativity aspect for me. I learned tons about how to make a tiny footprint feel spacious from the smallest coolest contests and other sources on really small apartments - not just relatively small ones. Sourcing or making furniture and appliances that fit into a >600 sq ft space is a lot more difficult than just picking out the standard sized stuff and arranging it to look pretty. A space that *everyone* can agree is small is a totally different project.
Until today, I thought I lived in a small place.Even though my total square footage is relatively generous, my storage space and kitchen are ridiculously poor. No closet is wider or deeper than 3 feet. My kitchen is a *JOKE*-- tiny, no counter space, poor layout (technically not even to code), and ugly. Size issues are not limited to those with larger square footage, so I look forward to seeing design solutions in all categories.
er, limited to those with *smaller* square footage . . .
Heather C~I totally agree! I'm looking forward to this years entries!
It's such an interesting argument here about size, and so .. ahem... passionate. I think that sq.-ft-per-capita (in other words, square feet per actual person living there) might be what ends up making something seem small.I'm glad to see that my old place, which seemed teeny-tiny to me (284 sq. ft.) is considered that here. However, my new place (550 sq. ft.) feels quite spacious, even though it's a still a studio. But part of what makes it feel spacious IS what I've done with it (like put in a Murphy bed, etc.), so I don't feel deprived.Now that my better half is with me part-time, it still doesn't feel teeny-tiny.
I'm very happy about the categories, since I agree that it levels the playing field. It would also be nice to be able to level it too as far as professional design/construction ability of the submitter, and amount spent, but I suppose that it would be impossible to enforce those.I'll be competing in the Teeny Tiny category, and I'll probably be the only one in competition in that category who is also operating a home brewery in the residence.
I like the categories- I think there are a lot of people with 1200 sq ft homes that really might need that space (kids, roomates, etc).Me...713 sq ft. Which seems big to me, even though I run a business from my home. BUT I could see my space being difficult to live in with another person.
Sparkle, I think we will enter this year's contest. We had to be quite creative with a lot of our apartment, and everything is transformer-ish / dual purpose, or small. We have lots of electronic gadgets and all of our toys (snowboards, rollerblades, tennis rackets, fishing poles, rockband guitars, etc) all tucked away. A lot of the special appliances / electronic gadgets we use are fairly new or at least unusually small. Example, wireless router from Cradlepoint instead of a linksys router..it's the size of a pack of cards and has more functionality, such as load balancing, GPRS capability, and failover. Another example is the Substage 100 subwoofer I hid under our folding table that integrates with our Yamaha YSP 4000 media center for nice sound and A/V switching in a small wall mounted package. Everything from our murphy bed and couch down to the latest generation of 24"x24"x80" refrigerator/freezer combo direct from the manufacturer was researched ahead of time. We had to search for about 3 months before finding a tub/shower combo to fit in our space, and then spent another 3 months importing it from China. I'm really excited about this contest and might even make a website to feature the appliances which make our apartment possible. I don't think we are missing anything really....we have a full kitchen too because my wife is a chef.
It will be interesting to see what entries will be placed this year - i've recently bought an apartment - 400 sq ft and my first apartment - i like to get my inspiration through others and their ideas ... Not not always about the size but how u utilize the space and make it into your home ... :-))
Hi, long time reader, first time commentator.Wow, I’m so excited about this year’s contest. I started reading AT just after the competition started last year and found the entrants homes to be inspiring and full of creative ideas.Also, I find that even if a home is not to my personal taste, it’s still interesting to see how people live their lives. Their homes tell the story of who they are, whether they have kids, play sports, work from home, have creative hobbies and more often than not, I discover there is at least one idea I can take away and interpret in my own home.I don’t really have an issue with the size limit, although I do like the idea of size categories (easier to compare people’s thoughtful use of space when a similar size).Looking forward to more inspiring homes.
jedigrasEven if you don't enter, please do a house tour or post pictures! It sounds like you've put a lot of time and effort into your house. We're always interested in the newest smallest appliances (that actually work)!Looking forward to seeing your pad...
My house is 1300 sq. ft. plus a 500 sq. ft. basement. It's the largest house I've ever lived in, but I still have to be creative about furniture placement, etc. It's all relative, I guess.
I do have to say that I miss the NY urban focus of Apartment Therapy, though I do enjoy seeing what's going on in other parts of the country as well. When I hear someone mention that... 'A 1200 sq. ft. home was an embarrassment.', I feel that maybe I've come to the wrong website!
s_boston, I don't think she was saying that 1200 *is* an embarrassment. She was just making the point that the size issue is all relative, and where she grew up, living in 1200 would have been considered a hovel.
heather c, we've received lots of interest in our space and will enter the contest so we can share our ideas with others.
Obviously Apartment Therapy considers 1200 sq. ft to be small by Texan standards.
Again, 1200 is not small - that's the size of a normal houses. I wish this site would go back to having contest upon apartments or condos - not everything...I'm planning to not visit anything about this contest when it's published unless they can admit anything over a 1000 sq feet is an extravagance. That being said, unless there is more than a couple or a couple with a small child, they shouldn't need more than 800-900 sq feet unless they absolutely never leave their home.
Wow... I thought this site was for "renters" living in apartments. Have to come up with neat ideas to fix them up to look great. And not spend a lot of money. Gosh we have lot of magazines on those kind of places. And if Maxwell and Co. want to do this for us folks under 1,000 how nice .... Maj
Why can't everyone just look at the pretty pictures and be done with it? Interior design is a serious love of mine, but I still know its not *serious*. Honestly, it really doesn't warrant the nastiness.
well i for one am excited about seeing houses/apartments roughly the same size as mine. maybe i will even throw my lovely little 875 sq. ft house into the mix, even though we have only lived here for 2 weeks! sometimes the square footage isn't the issue that makes a place small. i live in a rowhouse and i have two words for you: long, thin. it is a bit of a challenge!
I always love these things. Isn't "Small Cool" how we got to see that cool blue kitchen with the crazy pull out wall-and-counter?Can't wait to see the tiny and teeny tiny places."Teeny Tiny." Aww. :D
Apt. Therapy: Please keep in mind that the name of the contest is "Small Cool". I don't care where you live, anything over 600 square feet is "average" sized at best, not small. Unless you are living with at least 4 other people in that space and then, well, yikes! I lived in 1,000 square feet in Nashville and it was HUGE and now I live in 300 square feet. Waaaay more creativity has been required. House tours pay homage to the larger homes. Please keep the Small Cool contest just for us folks in truly small spaces. It's really the only time we get to show off what we've done without competition from everyone else with more space!
I love the smallest coolest contest - my favorite AT even of the year! And what a posting brawl.
Okay, there's no doubt that 1200 sq ft is not really small. HOWEVER, I really like the shift of category divisions away from geographic region, and embracing categories of size, instead. New York will be overrepresented in the smallest, teeny-tiniest and tiny categories, and that's as it should be. I'm very interested, even actually excited, to see how and whether this shift to divisions of size will improve the contest from the past couple of years!
Apartment therapy guys, thx for all you do. I love that you don't exclude those of us that some AT readers would like to. Can't wait. thx again guys!
The annual Smallest Coolest contest is the best thing about this site, and I for one welcome the mix up in the rules. If it's the disaster to post the larger apartments and small houses that some people here are making it out to be, then I'm sure that next year, in their infinite wisdom, AT will mix it up again.The rules have already been posted! In the words of every other person's home ever featured on AT:KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
Well, I think the is-1200-small thing has been talked to death, so I've got a question at the other end of the spectrum:The Teeny-Tiny category is zero to three hundred. Who will get closest to the zero? What will be the smallest home?Anyone else up for starting a betting pool? I'm going with between 190 and 210.
CALM DOWN.Lets just have fun? Don't hate on other people, don't judge, don't be mean. Most of this contest is just about how fun it is to see other people's homes. Also, for those who are so angry about the inclusion of homes above 600sqft - you might notice that the smaller ones usually win the big prizes anyway.Lets all be nice ok? People put a lot of effort into their houses/apartments/studios/condos/tents and we don't have to look if we don't want to. (I do!)
1200 is not small by ANY std, even midwestern cities. May be more of a pain, but I propose the following:NY city, San Fran must be 700 square ft and underBoston, LA, DC, Chicago 900 sq ft and underEverywhere else, 1000 square ft and under
Also, any apartments that come in at 500 sq ft no matter where its located and shows thoughtful design should receive special consideration. Not going to put my apt in, just my two cents.
Hate to keep this conversation going but I (a woman) live in 1300sf with 2 male friends. Because we all work a similar schedule, we needed 2 bathrooms or there was no easy way to facilitate showering and bathroom duties and privacy. Each of them also has a lot of music and computer equipment. Additionally each of our significant others are over fairly frequently and spend the night thus often bringing the total number of people, in the apartment, sitting, sleeping, cooking, and using the facilities to 6 adults. That being said, I completely think that "small" is relative to the number of people in the home and how the home is used.
Sorry, Mr. Dangerous, but the new comment policy will make the AT community you seek impossible to find. (Don't worry though, if I hate something, I'll say so.)That said, I do think it makes complete sense to have size categories for the entries and that a space being "small" is truly subjective based upon use, occupancy, etc., but saying 1200sq. ft. is small is definitely pushing it.
They could create categories based on square footage per inhabitant instead - teeny = 0-200 sq ft per being, small = 300-600, etc. Of course then everyone would complain about what constitutes an "inhabitant"! Great danes count, but chiuahuas don't. 3 cats= 1 inhabitant, but it takes 4 birds in separate cages who get to fly around on weekends to = 1 inhabitant. ;)I look forward to all the creative ideas - no matter what size!
Yay! I love the Small Cool Contest! So happy it's back!
My boyfriend just recently introduced me to this website, and I am completely and totally in love! I live in Oakland, CA, and have been in my 200 sq foot circa 1906, pre-San Francisco earthquake studio for a little less than 6 months. Although I'm still struggling to get it together (and hope for more inspiration from this website), I love my tiny space and hope that it is my last rental ever.I am looking forward to the contest and seeing the entries. Good luck!
Got a tip, home tour, or other story our readers should see?