Mom, Dad and Baby Live Happily in 380 Square Feet

Mom, Dad and Baby Live Happily in 380 Square Feet

Tammy Everts
Nov 16, 2009

"People tell you that you need all this stuff for a baby," says Kelly Breslin. "All you really need is diapers, a place to change him and boobs." It's a good thing, because Breslin and her partner Ryan Conder live with their 9-month-old son Thurston AND their dog in a 1950s house that, by any definition, would be considered tiny. How do they do it, and with impressive low-key style? Keep reading to find out.

On paper, 380 square feet sounds tiny, but Breslin and Conder manage to gracefully fit in all the necessary elements: two tables, a sofa, bed, chairs, and wall-size shelving. The space also houses an impressive collection of pottery and artwork.

Conder is a knowledgeable collector of midcentury, Danish and Italian designs, and he has a keen ability to hunt out great finds. Many of the pieces in this family's home have respectable pedigrees: the dining table is by Piet Hein and Arne Jacobsen, the sofa is by Tobia Scarpa, the chairs are from Borge Mogensen, and the vintage 1960s Cocoon light -- which we SERIOUSLY covet -- is by Achille Castiglioni. But the space doesn't have the contrived feel of a design showroom; instead, it's eminently cozy and livable.

This design-savvy couple has made the choice to live small for several reasons. Money is obviously a big one. Because of their lower rent, Breslin was able to make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom. And the couple touts their small space as being important to their relationship, as well. "When you get in a fight there is nowhere to go," Conder says. "You have to deal with stuff head on."

A few of the family's space-saving practices:

  • Co-sleeping. They share their low-slung queen-size bed, which, no surprise, features storage drawers for baby gear.
  • Having furniture serve double duty. A Danish dresser also serves as Thurston's dressing table. The iron-legged wooden work table (the aforementioned Jacobsen piece) is also used for dining when guests come over.
  • Using a mirror to visually enlarge the space. (We have to admit that we're occasionally skeptical about this trick, but in this instance it actually works.)
  • Putting all clothing storage in one space, then concealing the space behind a large curtain -- in this case a lavish swath of antique Japanese textiles.
  • Opting out of having a TV. The family spends as much time as possible outside, either on the porch or in the yard.

View the extensive photo slideshow here.

Photo credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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