The Questions about Sharing a Small Space You’ve Been Too Polite to Ask: Laine & Marni Tell All

published Jan 2, 2017
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Whether you’ve been contemplating moving in to a small space with a significant other, friend or roommate or are just curious about how two people can fit all of their stuff into so few square feet, you’ll want to check out Marni and Laine‘s illuminating answers to these small space sharing questions — you’ve probably been too polite to ask.

1. How do you settle co-habitating disagreements?

Marni: I think we’re good at talking it out. Communication is important in any relationship, but I think especially so when you live, and sometimes work together, in a small space.

Laine: It’s not all easy. There can be yelling (mostly me) and crying (again me). In the end, we always recognize we both mean well and are doing the best we can. We also give each other time-outs when we need it. When one or both of us gets upset, we don’t take it personally.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

2. How do you guys handle splitting the chores?

Laine: This is an easy one, because we’re both cleaners, and we each have our favorites. I love doing dishes and laundry. Marni loves cleaning floors and going on search-and-destroy missions for ants. Even in the bathroom — I like scrubbing the sink and toilet and Marni likes cleaning the shower. The only issue is when one of us “invades” the other’s favorites.

Marni: Agreed. It’s a pretty easy split for us. Laine’s got this whole patented laundry system he employs. I’ve learned you don’t mess with that kind of perfection. I just stand back and watch in amazement.

3. What’s the best thing about sharing this home?

Laine: It’s clean and good and full of love. Also the new appliances. The farmhouse sink. The backyard space with pea pebble and a firepit and seating area that Marni DIY-d. And it’s a short walk to the metro station!

Marni: This is also our first home together as a married couple, so that in and of itself makes it pretty special. It’s been fun to make a home together that’s really ours.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

4. What’s the worst thing?

Laine: I wish we had a parking place (for our shared car). You know, because of the LA street-cleaning at 4.30 am on different-sides-of-the-street-on-different-days thing. Also a den/office. That way we could put the TV in another room. Marni and I love good cable TV, but I’d like to have it away from the living area/kitchen.

Marni: Because this place was slightly smaller than our last, we had to say goodbye to this great 1950s record player console when we moved in. I got it for a song a few years back and fixed it up. I wish we had had the space to bring it along.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

5. Is there anything that surprised you about living in a small space with someone else?

Laine: I love small living spaces. But I had two challenges with this space. First, when we came to see it, I was 100% sure we would never, ever be able to fit our furniture or ourselves into this apartment. Marni brought me back two more times to see it. She was right. Second, before moving in here, I always had a bias against homes where the only bathroom was through the bedroom. I thought it would be difficult, for guests and overnight guests. My worry was misplaced. It’s never been a problem — mostly because our bedroom is always clean and the bed always made. That helps a lot.

Marni: It’s funny, when we started our home search we were actually looking for a two bedroom so we could have a home office. But because this place had virtually everything else we wanted in a home, what we ended up with was a one bedroom smaller than what we were previously in. I thought I might go a little stir crazy — especially working from home sometimes. That hasn’t been an issue, though. We’ve got our backyard which is essentially another giant room (particularly in southern California).

6. What have you’ve learned about each other — and sharing a home — after living together in this space?

Laine: In a small home, the path between two places (hallway, room, whatever) is barely one-person wide. I’ve learned to give my partner a clear path to their cup of coffee in the morning.

Marni: I’ve learned that Laine and I can pretty much live anywhere and make it feel like home. Also, I thought I had an understanding of how organized my husband was before we moved in here, but turns out, I had no idea. His packing and move prep was illuminating. I believe his favorite saying was, “However much you think you have to pack, there’s always more.” And so the organizing for our move was early and often. It made our actual moving day a breeze though.

(Image credit: Marni Epstein-Mervis )

7. What advice do you have to anyone considering sharing a small space with someone else?

Laine: Getting your own way is satisfying…but only so much. What’s more interesting is learning about the other person, and figuring out ways to satisfy both of us. That’s a fun puzzle, and worthy of the challenge.

Marni: Definitely invest in a bed with storage underneath.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

8. Which fictional character would be most at home in your place?

Laine: I’d like to think both Baloo the Bear and Rebecca Cunningham, the owner of Higher for Hire air delivery and the Sea Duck sea plane, both from Disney Afternoon’s TaleSpin, would equally be at home here. It’s warm and laid back and sometimes the pina coladas come out (for Baloo), and it also has the sophistication and class that a world-class entrepreneur and businessperson would feel comfortable here (for Rebecca Cunningham). You know, all the best of high and popular culture.

Marni: Well with about four different ways to make coffee in our house, I’d have to go with Rory Gilmore. I think our style — a mix of flea market chic and global inspiration — also makes it a good fit. Hmmm, we don’t have much room for book storage though…

(Image credit: Marni Epstein-Mervis )

See all of Marni and Laine’s home:

And take a walk around their neighborhood: A Well-Designed Day in LA’s Highland Park Neighborhood