Mom, Dad and Baby Live Happily in 380 Square Feet

Mom, Dad and Baby Live Happily in 380 Square Feet

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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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