A Small Studio Above a Garage Is Perfect for a Minimalist Artist — House Call

Name: David Becker
Location: Ottawa — Ontario, Canada
Size: 420 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years in flat, 24 years in main house, owned

The original house is a 1,200-square-foot, one-and-a-half story house built in the early 1950s. When I found myself living there alone (widowed empty-nester), I decided that, though the house is not large, it was larger than I needed. I renovated the house and designed an addition that contains a studio apartment above an attached garage. I moved into the apartment and am renting the original house to a family. The apartment, though small, feels larger due to innovative, mostly built-in furniture, a cathedral ceiling, and generous windows. The rental income is paying for the cost of the addition and supplementing my retirement income.

What is your favorite room and why? The apartment only contains one room (plus a bathroom). The things I like about it are the Murphy bed system that incorporates a sofa, bookshelves, and storage for the bed linens under the sofa. The entire length of the apartment accommodates a 24-inch deep storage wall that houses a wardrobe, entertainment system, desk, office peripherals, pantry, fridge, recycling station, broom closet, and miscellaneous storage. This hides the clutter that would otherwise make the apartment feel claustrophobic. The high ceiling (9 feet up to 14 feet) adds to the spacious feeling.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? After living in the unit for four years, I can honestly say there is nothing I would change except for the direction of hinging of one of the cabinet doors, which has changed use from its original purpose. It will not require any magic to change that, though.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I bought a small cabinet from IKEA to hold drawing supplies.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I am a minimalist, so, in designing my apartment, I analyzed every room in my house and how much time I spent in each and what I did there. I designed the apartment accordingly, eliminating anything that was not useful (in a practical sense) or did not provide me with some enjoyment, or, preferably both. Everything else was jettisoned and I have not missed any of it. But I enjoy everything I have, so I enjoy my small home.

Thanks, David!

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