Two East Coasters Share a 380-Square-Feet “Teeny Tiny Casa” in San Fran

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Name: Kathryn and her husband Derek
Location: San Francisco, California
The basics: 9 months, rented | 381 Square Feet

Kathryn and Derek not only make this small space work for them, they thrive in it. Choosing to look at their apartment not as a burden but as an opportunity, they’ve embraced living small and all of the ways it can bring them closer together.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Our home is a 381-square-foot studio located steps away from the San Francisco Bay. While it is tiny in space, this apartment is overflowing with architectural charm. With large bay windows, old glass doorknobs, and the coolest retro oven I’ve ever seen, my husband, Derek, and I were sold the minute we walked in, which is ironic since this was the first apartment we toured on our hunt when we first moved to the city.

Originally from North Carolina, most of our friends back east are now buying houses. When we tell them how small of square footage we live in, we always get the same jaw-dropping expression. But, when you magically stumble upon an apartment that has a view of the Golden Gate Bridge — and one that is in your budget — you HAVE to take it, no matter the size!

For us, the size is quite perfect. Since getting married three years ago, we have always lived in a small space. And, we couldn’t imagine anything different. See, living in such tight quarters forces us to compromise. It saves us money, and of course, the inevitable accumulation of clutter. And, most importantly, it encourages communication.

While we’ve only been in this apartment for a little under nine months, it has really begun to feel like home. Moving in, we didn’t need to buy much due to the lack of space, but we took our time with decorating.

One of our biggest passions in life is traveling, so we wanted this space to be a living memory of our previous adventures. A lot of our decor comes from those trips and experiences, combined with family photos from our loved ones 3,000 miles away on the east coast.

We joke all the time how one day we’ll live in a space where our bed doesn’t pull double-duty as our couch, and how we’ll have a ceiling fan, dishwasher, and washer & dryer.

But, for now, this is home. Our teeny-tiny casa.

And, while I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to live in such an incredible, vibrant city as San Francisco, I cannot help but feel even more blessed to have this little space to come home to every day.

What is your favorite room and why? I absolutely love our kitchen. While it’s probably the tiniest kitchen in the world, the itty-bitty breakfast nook brings me so much happiness. From the gorgeous views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge outside, to the warm natural light shining in, I can’t think of a lovelier way to spend a new morning.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? If an outdoor balcony magically appeared outside our window, I don’t think we’d ever leave!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Derek is a big collector of books, so anytime we’re out exploring around the city, he somehow manages to sniff out quite a few bookstores and always comes home with several new paperbacks to add to his collection.

Since we don’t have the room — literally! — for any more furniture or larger items, books are the perfect souvenir for any of our excursions.

Kathryn’s words of wisdom: Take your time!

Don’t feel rushed to buy everything needed for your new space right at once. Instead, take your time gathering inspiration from all sources. And, don’t just rely on social media for decor ideas. Get out and comb through flea markets and thrift shops. There, you will find your best hidden gems!

Thanks, Kathryn!

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