Design

A 600-Square-Foot Family Home in Vancouver (With Murphy Beds!)

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Alison Mazurek lives in a 600-square-foot Vancouver apartment with her husband Trevor and their two children, Theo and Mae. “Playing hide-and-seek in our house is hilarious,” said Alison. “Theo always initiates the game, but there are literally four places you can hide.” Here, she shares her tips for small spaces, the magic of Murphy beds, and the $30 item that changed her life…

ENTRYWAY:

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Console: Ikea with a handmade top. Rug: from Mexico. Shelves: Ikea. Brackets: Bentwood. Calendar: Stendig. Coat Hooks: custom. Clock: Society6, similar. Planter: Urban Outfitters.

On finding a home: Trevor and I moved here nine years ago. We loved that it was a ground level apartment with big windows and high ceilings — they’re 11 feet tall in the main room. Even at that time, we were wondering if we should buy a bigger place, but we were like, ‘This is good for us!’ Then we had Theo and everyone we knew freaked out wanting us to move. But we didn’t listen. We were happy here.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Sideboard: custom by Precisionwerkz Millwork. Brass sconce: Cedar and Moss, similar.

On making things work: When Theo arrived five years ago, he slept in our living room in a mini crib. We would turn off all the lights, and just sit there in the darkness! After he started sleeping more, we realized that our setup wasn’t working, and we needed our life back. We researched ways to make it work, but building another bedroom was a lot of money. Finally, we decided to get a wall bed for the living room, and give Theo our bedroom. It felt like a big decision, but it worked right away.

KIDS’ BEDROOM:

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Table: Design Within Reach, similar. Chairs: Hay, vintage. Beds: Resource Furniture. Bedding: Ikea.

On a growing family: Now that we have two kids, they share a bedroom. It helps that Mae worships Theo! Their conversations are hilarious. They’ll be in their room together at night, and Mae will pass Theo stuffed animals. ‘Nother stuffie, Theo?’ she’ll ask in her raspy low voice, until she’s handed him all of them.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Beds: Resource Furniture. Bedding: Ikea. Shelf: Ikea. Bookshelves: Ikea. Gray storage bins: Ikea.

On Murphy bunk beds: We recently got these fold-down bunk beds. I like that they’re so sturdy. Our kids are monkeys and hang off things, but we never have to worry that they’ll break their beds — just themselves!

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Felt toys on bed: custom, by Collage Collage. Rug: Muji.

On creating room to play: We fold up the bunk beds when their friends are coming over, so we can use their whole room to play. One thing I’ve learned about small spaces is that as soon as we’re done with baby gear or toys they don’t play with anymore — sometimes even before — I’m looking for someone else who can use it. My friends and I rotate through things so we don’t have to store anything.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

On reading rituals: One thing we do make room for is children’s books. We have so few walls in our apartment, so our bookshelf becomes the art. Today by Julie Morstad is Mae’s absolute favorite. Her illustrations are dreamy and the kids love making the choices. And we’ve read Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat and We Found a Hat thousands of times. Little You is the book I give to new babies, and Julie Flett’s books are beautiful.

On holiday rules: We ask for no gifts from friends and family for birthdays, and very limited gifts at Christmas. Kids don’t have to open 20 gifts to feel joy. We do have a deal that Grandma can buy as many large toys as she wants, but they have to stay at her house. Needless to say, the kids love visiting her.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

On rolling with it: I used to think that in order to live in a small space with kids, they would have to be the type to draw quietly in the corner. Those are not my kids! Our house can be destroyed in five minutes, but thankfully it’s quick for us to put back together.

LIVING ROOM:

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Sofa: Scan Design. Rug: Rugs USA, similar. Side table: Menu. Floor lamp: Target. Pillows: Mae Woven, similar, Hay.

On finding alone time: Theo uses his top bunk for quiet solo play when he needs to escape from everyone. I’ll put on headphones and watch my shows in the sofa corner. I binge teen dramas I’m probably too old for, like Friday Night Lights.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Wall bed: Resource Furniture. Bedding: Last Light Collection. Pendant light: Herman Miller. Rug: Ikea.

On the joys of a fold-down bed: I put up our bed every morning. Theo and Mae eat breakfast at our dining table and the second they’re done, they are running over to jump on our bed with their peanut butter fingers and orange juice faces. So I have to get that bed up first thing! It’s basically just making the bed and pushing it up with the help of hydraulics. It is nice to crawl into a made bed at the end of the day.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Wall sconce: vintage, similar.

On minimal living: Trevor and I get our books from the library so we can return them after we read them. And, overall, we believe in fewer, quality things. Each person has one raincoat, one winter coat, that’s it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to last. We only have one set of sheets for each bed. (We just wash them during the day.) We don’t have space in the linen closet — I call it a linen closet but it’s an everything closet. If something is coming in, what’s going to go? But we still have our stuff. My husband has seven water bottles. And I have too many pillows.

On learning about yourself: In the past, if I was down, the best way I knew how to care for myself was to shop. But in this home, you are confronted with your possessions constantly, so if they’re wasteful or useless or don’t make you happy, it’s not a great feeling. It’s been a long lesson for me to learn how to look out for myself in other ways. In day-to-day life, this has meant things like taking a workout class, meeting up with a friend, or finding a magazine and the time to read it.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

On overnight guests: We’ll sometimes have house guests — like a friend or my mom — and they sleep on our big couch which is basically at the foot of our bed. It’s quite awkward and hilarious. No one usually stays more than one night, haha.

KITCHEN:

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

On easy entertaining: A couple times a month, we’ll have friends over for a 5:30 potluck dinner. Usually I’m just in charge of the wine or ice cream. It’s madness! The kids are piling on us trying to eat and the adults are trying to hold a conversation. Everyone is home and exhausted by 9:00! We recently got a portable projector to shine on our wall bed and we realized we can put on The Mighty Ducks, and all the adults can finally talk on the couch.

BATHROOM:

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Shelf: Ikea. Brackets: Bentwood. Bathmat: Urban Outfitters. Towels: Kontex. Stool: Ikea.

On genius inventions: I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of small living. I recently went to my friend’s house and she had this teeny tiny garbage can tucked between her toilet and cabinets, and I was like, ‘WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS.’ It was skinny enough to squeeze right in. Ours had been sitting in the middle of our bathroom for years. I ended up getting one, too, and it’s life changing.

OUTSIDE:

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

On taking breaks outside: I joke that we’ve raised our kids in coffee shops, because anytime we need to get out of the house, that’s where we go. But, really, it’s just getting outside that matters. When you’re a kid, any walk is an adventure. We take our time getting places. We’ll also go to parks or community centers — we have to get out or we will all lose our minds.

On weekend trips: We love Vancouver. We live 15 minutes away from the beach and 20 minutes from the mountains, so camping is a big part of our lives. And Tofino, on Vancouver Island, is a ferry ride away, and it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. The ocean is all around you and there are delicious places to eat.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

On knowing yourself: More than any other question I get asked about our life is, ‘When will you move out of a 600-square-foot apartment?’ We have taken a wait-and-see approach. I get the feeling we will know when our time is up. But right now, this makes sense for our family. We feel really lucky to be here.

A 600-Square-Foot Vancouver Family Home

Thanks so much, Alison!

P.S. More house tours, including an awesome spaceship building in Connecticut and a house in the Japanese countryside.

(Photos by Britney Gill for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Anna says...

    What a beautiful home! I love seeing how people work with tiny spaces :)

    I know this is an older post but would love if someone has had an experience similar to ours. We are in an 870sq.ft. 2bd/1 bath house with 3 daughters . It’s been wonderful for many of the reasons listed above, but I worry a little how things will change as they get older (they are now 4, 7 and 11). Does anyone have advice for living in such a small space with teenagers? I worry a little about them craving a space of their own. To live in a bigger home, we’d have to move much farther away and deal with an unpleasant commute.

    • Sasha L says...

      Anna, we raised two girls in 1000 sq ft, 3 bd, 2 bath. I think having two bedrooms would have been fine, maybe even better. But the two baths I wouldn’t have wanted to do without. Our girls played sports, so lots of showers. Lots of time doing hair and makeup when they were high schoolers too. And I’m a minimalist, so all of their beauty gear would have made me crazy in a shared space. But honestly, it’s a relatively short period and I’m sure we would have coped just fine. Having teens is hard in a lot of ways, an extra bath may be the least of your worries. And you necessity means you find solutions – like beauty supply crates that live in bedroom not shared bath. Now that our girls are grown, we’re so happy we never got a bigger house (and the bigger mortgage). Best of luck! I for one love small and simple living.

  2. Kelly P says...

    I loved reading this! My husband and I just bought a 550 sq ft flat in Cornwall, England, which we plan to live in full time starting next year. I was worried about being cramped in that space, but now I’m just excited. It will all work out!

  3. Sara says...

    Jo and fellow readers, Every time I feel disheartened about the state of our country, I pop over here. The people who gather and comment here are the kindest, warmest, most engaging folks and I can imagine enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine with each of them. Thank you for this dearly needed respite!

    Alison, your home is beautiful but I admire even moreso the life you’re creating with your family. As a mama of two in a small apartment in a major city, I always love seeking inspiration by learning how others are doing it. Braves and thank you for your candidness! Jazzed to go down the rabbit hole on your blog next.

    Xoxo

  4. I love this!!! In one week my husband and I are moving from our 300 sq ft apartment in Paris to a 400 sq ft one two floors up. I totally agree with loving the problem-solving aspect of small-living!

  5. shopgirl, eu says...

    And daddy’s cute too !!! ;-)

  6. Ann says...

    When you go to Tofino, do you swim in the ocean? If yes, do you wear wetsuits? If no, do you swim anywhere else?

  7. Anna says...

    This is wonderful! I believe there are a lot of families (mine included!) now days squeezing into smaller dwellings and making it work. We live in about 800 square feet (me, myself and our nearly teenage boy), but could do smaller if we didn’t have so many books. I love it – I really do – I love how living in such close quarters with each other helps us all learn how to navigate relationships and personal space and makes us feel emotionally closer to each other. It also means we keep only what we need or love and pass on the rest to others who are more in need.

    • This is exactly why I love small-space living. Growing up my 4-person family lived in a pretty large suburban home and sometimes it would take 15 minutes to find a family member – running up and down the stairs, searching all the rooms, going outside, to the garage…. we were so disconnected! We are upgrading from 300 to 400 sq ft in a week and I told my husband I’m going to miss always being able to see him and having him be one room over. <3

  8. Wow, I love the trash can idea! We have small bathrooms, and I need a teeny trash can solution! I love the idea that you are not letting kids force you into a bigger space than needed. It took me a long time to embrace minimalism, and I feel like we spent too much money along the way. Now we have a comfortable home with a whole lot less stuff. Entertaining is easier with less stuff, maintaining the house is easier, and life is just easier. We are also so much happier now that we embrace experiences over stuff.

    • Alix says...

      Muji also makes a similiarly sized narrow trash can that’s a bit cheaper (albeit plastic).

  9. Just goes to show that quality over quantity applies to a home, as well. We don’t need much to live well.

  10. Kim says...

    I think many people underestimate the value of a small home. I live in a 1200 sq. ft., 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with my daughter, husband and two dogs. A small home forces you not to over-buy, it’s easier to clean, but most importantly, I’ve found that I am much closer to my daughter because of our small home. She’s always in close proximity and we use every room together. Because we share a bathroom (and she’s a girl), I don’t do things behind closed doors that she might be curious about like plucking my eyebrows, shaving, or leaving the panty liners out. This has prompted many casual discussions between us that has led to great conversations about positive body image and puberty. Although my daughter has her own room, she’s rarely in it. She’s used to all of us sharing our small space together.

    • Karolyn Chamberlin says...

      THIS!!

  11. Elissa says...

    I can related to this post so much! My fiancé and I are doing some family planning of our own (in Toronto!) and the ink is just drying on a similarly sized condo unit! It was actually incredibly comforting / joy-inducing to see that other couples are building thriving families in small spaces :)

  12. Angela says...

    That photograph of their son jumping from the couch to the bed?? My gosh, what a capture!!!

    • ALI says...

      Agree! I just stopped and stared at the beauty of it for ages!

  13. Alix says...

    Wow – I could barely live in that much space myself, let alone with a husband and two kids! Kudos to them, but it’s not for me I’m afraid. Love their style.

  14. Justine Clark says...

    Squee! Fellow Vancouverite here! I love this apartment and the clever space design. We are a family of three in a 1200 square foot rental that we were so lucky to find when the rent was affordable. It houses us, and my husband’s home office. We are NEVER moving. Our 14 year old could use a bigger room, but hey, what better motivation for him to move out into the world quickly when he graduates from school :-)

  15. Jodi says...

    I saw the title and squealed with delight! I live in Vancouver and it is a delightful place to be. It was great learning about minimalistic living which is typical as housing in Vancouver is very expensive but we are minutes from the beach and the mountains!

  16. RLT says...

    Wow! This is great! We have a bit more space (3 kids in a two bedroom condo) and I really struggle with feeling like it’s “enough.” This is inspiring!

    And your kids are GORGEOUS.

  17. can you please please please list a proper link to the shelving brackets in your entry walkway? i cannot find them ANYWHERE

    • Cait says...

      According to their Apartment Therapy house tour they’re from Welland–the model they have isn’t on Amazon anymore but here is the company’s model page so at least you could try to track down another retail store that carried them! http://www.wellandwood.com/shelf-brackets.html

  18. Jaclyn DiMaggio says...

    I freakin love families that make this work. Nothing wasted. Our oversized country needs to see more of this.

  19. seafinch says...

    Beautiful place and wonderful family but I am totally perplexed, where are their clothes? We just put all three of our kids into a nursery with a custom built four bed/bunk bed and added drawers underneath. I am curious why that space isn’t utilized, maybe just not evident from photos? Is there a large hidden closet not profiled? I searched the blog but didn’t find anything.

  20. Lydia says...

    I really like their creative approach, the place looks very nice indeed and I love minimalistic way of life in general (that is, having as few things as possible). I especially love the garden space, I think even a small patio garden is wonderful for kids and gives them many ideas to entertain themselves. However, I lived in Vancouver for good 8 years and I know that people don’t live this way out of personal preference. It is simply impossible for a regular person to buy a single-family home within city limits and even a 2-bedroom flat costs a fortune.

    As someone who also happen to grow up in an apartment this size sharing room with my brother, I can attest that lack of privacy in a small place like this is very challenging from the very early age (for example I never slept well because because there were other people in my room, and I am a terrible insomniac now). So I am impressed that they made it work, but I would not glorify this way of living.

  21. Ah Vancouver. I truly hope they own that place – probably worth 4 million by now. Good for these people – making it work. So many (me included) had to get outta there. Miss the restaurants like crazy though (12 years later).

  22. Carrie says...

    My husband and I live alone in our 1700sqft house but even still I find this tour so inspiring! I’m a born minimalist, my house is not bare and stark but it’s always clean, fresh and holds just what I need. I live for that feeling and this whole tour has that lovely, fresh feeling to it. One of my favorites, for sure!

  23. Great house, great story and so well told and every nuance documented and source referenced. You are the best! You’re doing such excellent documentation and storytelling of the downsizing concept. Keep up the good work. Not sure if other people mentioned but the only thing I’m left wondering is what the neighborhood is like, the exterior and the locale. Sorry if I missed something. -dirk

  24. Calliope says...

    I loved everything about this home! The colors, the kids, the white, the windows, the minimalistic approach, the merphy beds (thank u! I just solved my basement’s problem!).

  25. Akc says...

    I love their buy less principal and their home. What a beautiful family.

  26. Steph says...

    Ha! We also joke that our kid is being raised in a coffee shop! Whenever we get stir crazy (most days), we head there. Our local shop stocks books and games and our daughter loves it. She calls it “the coffee store”.

    Your home is so gorgeous and inspiring!

    • Nadege says...

      Yes! Raised my first in a onebedroom, and we called our local coffeeshop “the living room”! The locals and the owner became extended family. We even held his birthday parties there!!

  27. I love this home and this series…

    It’s interesting as 600 sq feet isn’t really considered a small apartment in London! We just moved from 400sq ft to 630 and that’s considered a big enough apartment. We don’t have children yet, but there’s enough space to accommodate them! I think people are just used to smaller spaces in Europe!

  28. Michelle says...

    They love to camp. WHERE DO THEY KEEP THEIR CAMPING EQUIPMENT. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Kirsty says...

      I live in Greater Vancouver. Our apartment comes with a storage locker downstairs, which is pretty common, and there’s loads of cheapish (for here, where everything is disgustingly extortionate) storage units for rent. We have both, so though we have a 625ft apartment, we still have space for tools/camping equipment/Christmas decorations/winter tyres for our cars!

  29. As a grey-loving minimalist in Nelson, BC, who loves short trips to Van, adored this home! Thank you for sharing, Jo and Alison!

  30. Justine says...

    This is such an inspiring home tour and couldn’t have come at a better moment for us. We’re expecting baby #2 in a few weeks and I’ve wondered how we’ll manage in our 2 bdrm, 1 bath, 1,000 sq ft home and for how long. If the baby is a boy, the boys can shack up together, I rationalized. But reading this made me relax. It’s hard not to compare yourself to other people and question your lifestyle choices. Our friends have big, beautiful homes in the burbs and enough bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone. We have an old, small home in a quiet, leafy enclave just outside the downtown core, adjacent to the bike path, river, a five minute bike ride to my office, walking distance to parks, soccer fields, all the best restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, fitness studios and specialty grocery stores. It’s not like we can afford to eat out very much or buy memberships at said studios…. but the feeling of living here is just wonderful. And my commute makes me so happy. I think it’s natural to get anxious about a new baby’s arrival and how your life will change as a result, but the space in my home is something I will stop worrying about after reading this. Thanks so much for the perspective and inspiration. Your aesthetic is lovely. And thanks COJ – best house tour ever. PS: That picture of your son in flight – what a shot!

    • Mouse says...

      Justine: It is SO doable! I had 2 kids back to back, 18 mos apart, in a 980sf, 2 BR, 1 bath house. In the beginning it felt cramped with play pen, walker and toys in the living room; but it got better as they got older and I’m glad for the experience. My kids shared a room, we did things together and after they left home 10yrs ago, I didnt need to worry about down sizing from a large empty house. What was at one time cozy is now perfect for 2 with room for over night guests.

    • Carrie says...

      Your area of town sounds dreamy! Kids will remember those things you described more fondly than they would a huge house, especially since you see all the value and beauty in your surroundings, I’m sure they will too!

    • Rachael says...

      If it’s any consolation, when we were finishing grad school we lived in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that was 1600 square feet—with 6 kids. You just get creative and make it work! ? One thing that helped us was thinking about what we needed and then configuring the space to meet that need, rather than vice versa (for instance, we custom built a bed to fit in a walk-in closet so our oldest could have some privacy).

      Congratulations on your new baby!

    • This bring up a good point. We’re in a similar situation – living in downtown Paris in a tiny apt. It’s an amazing location but we have pretty much no money to shop, eat out, sit at cafes, etc. With the new finance series of posts, I would love if CoJ would post some stories of people with beautiful lives that aren’t perfectly made-up on the outside. That is to say, I’d love to see people living downtown (or in the suburbs – feel like the suburbs don’t get much love on CoJ!) and not wearing expensive clothing, frequenting coffee shops, etc. Just a thought! (Love these kinds of posts too though!!)

  31. Karin says...

    I don’t normally like houses this neutral in color, but this one is so lovely and restful. Love her comment about how a small space forces you to confront your shopping mistakes.

    My only question is doesn’t this setup cut into their sex life (even more than having 2 small children would normally do)?

    • m says...

      I was wondering the same thing!

    • Peggy says...

      This was the ONLY thing I could think the whole time! I’m surprised people haven’t brought this up more in the comments… As someone with no kids, I’m genuinely curious about sex as parents anyway, but especially if you all live in the same room!

  32. I can’t wait to show this to my husband! He’ll surely love this!!!!

  33. Elizabeth says...

    Where do you store your clothes or your kid’s clothes or your husband’s in this apartment? I love it and am very curious how you make this work.

    • Isahrai says...

      My recommendations from our own downsizing and small living abundance:
      1. Far less clothes of better quality (I own 9 dresses – 3 casual + 3 fancy, 2 skirts with 4 shirt options, 3 cardigans of varying weights, 2 sets of workout clothes, 2 kaftans for lounging, 2 sets of pajamas) My daughter owns a bit more but she is rough and tumble and often needs a change of clothes midday after finding the only mud puddle in town to splash in. :)
      2. We use storage cubes that also function as seating/nightstands to keep my daughter’s leggings, underwear, stockings, tshirts – also use these for linens and guest bedding.

  34. Isahrai says...

    My 6-year-old and I lived in a giant crazy 4-bedroom+den+2 fireplaces+playroom gorgeous house for 3 years. We hosted huge parties, I worked from home and had friends call the house “the coworking space and deli” because they knew they were always welcome to work or grab a salad … and many had their own key in case I was out and about. But THEN, I just decided I was done. Done with the big clean up, done with the dust bunnies that always seemed to be somewhere, done with shouting up the winding staircase and my daughter not hearing me because she was 6 rooms away. So we sold 90% of our belongings. We literally just shoved everything we wanted to keep into the garage, locked the door, and then opened the house up to shoppers. We called it the “Don’t Go in the Garage!” Sale.

    We moved into a teeny tiny 2 bedroom townhouse with one closet. There is a weird entryway I turned into an office with a standing desk. We have no room for our large dining room table that we stubbornly kept — but it will set up nicely in our dead end street so we just had the legs turned into removable legs and we keep it behind the couch and pull it out for a few dinner parties a month out on the street with neighbors welcome to bring out their dinner and join in.

    We’ve never been happier, never had more time to just be together, never had more cat hair everywhere (4 cats!). I love almost always being in the same room with my daughter. I love that almost everyone has to sit on the floor when they come over (we have plenty of bolsters and pillows!). I love that if I turn music on in the living room, you can hear it everywhere and get your dance on. Small abundant living for the win.

    • Hannah says...

      I love this! We went from a small condo to a full on suburban colonial. I miss my manageable spaces and my finite number of belongings so much! Oh and don’t get me started on lawn care – what a waste of time and space in my life! We pay someone to mow our lawn every weekend, yet half the summer it’s too humid to be out there, the other half it’s thunderstorms, and in the off chance that it’s a nice day, I’ve got allergies.

      I am secretly plotting moving back to a townhouse! Can’t wait to have our own Don’t Go in the Garage sale!

    • suzieQ says...

      Thanks for sharing this. Even years post divorce, I am frozen in deciding whether to stay in a house that I love but is muuuch to big for two people. I fluctuate daily between stay or sell. This is inspiring!

    • Isahrai says...

      Thank you, Hannah and SuzieQ! I can’t recommend downsizing enough! It really has been a liberation in all sorts — cleaning ease, far less brain clutter, more time with my daughter, always ready to receive guests, rent cut by 80% which means an extra vacation every year, super easy to decorate and pull together, just an overall ease of life that I didn’t have before. My friends kept sighing over the loss of the “party house” when we packed up but we have actually entertained more since we moved! Smaller groups but far less taxing and far more personal and memorable. I’m writing this response now while my daughter sits under my standing desk and paints with watercolors. In the old house, my office was off limits – why would she go in my office when she had her own playroom? But now, we mix and mingle and really enjoy each other’s company in new, meaningful, sometimes silent but always intimate ways. Go for it!

  35. Patricia Mason says...

    What a lovely home. So perfect for this family and what a wonderful place to live – Vancouver ! An amazing city….. I am sure that they will know when it’s time to move – as soon as the lovely children become teenagers…..they will know all right !!

    • Trish O says...

      I have two teens, and I think they take less space now then when they were small. First, they are always out and about with friends. My husband shared a room with two siblings (3 in the bedroom) until he went to college. Dorm life was nothing for him. Really is dependent on the family. Not sure I could do a big house….and with my kids launching into the world soon, not sure I want to move

  36. Paige says...

    I. Love. This. So. Much! I live in Vancouver as well and there is a major ongoing discussion about affordable housing in the city. Alison’s attitude toward small-space living is amazing and her home is beautiful.

    • Bec says...

      Seconded. A fellow 600sqft dweller, I love following Allison’s insta and blog!

  37. Lo says...

    How beautiful and intentional. This makes me legitimately want a Murphy bed – something I never really considered as a viable option before. And oh, Tofino! My husband and I honeymooned there a few years ago. It was beyond dreamy – the landscape, the people, and the food were all just so lovely. We talk about going back for every 5th year anniversary.

  38. So cool to see Alison and her home featured here. She is also the coolest person you’ll ever meet, and I love how she and Trevor have made their life work with their family. They are a great example of how to approach life in so many ways.

  39. Kara says...

    I am a HUGE fan of Alison’s blog and basically read every single post when I discovered it. It’s the best out there for small space living, in my opinion. I’ve thought multiple times, “Cup of Jo should feature her apartment, maybe I should suggest it in a comment?” So this is so exciting to see! We just moved our 4 person, 2 cat family into a smaller space (about 850 sq ft), and I’ve been referencing 600sqft constantly. I’ve convinced my husband that we can live small indefinitely using it as an example (doesn’t hurt that he would love a camper van in the future). Anyway if you’re reading comments, Alison, thank you for sharing your life with the internet!

    Also I love that she knows EXACTLY how many water bottles her husband has, haha!

    • Kara says...

      Also raising your kids in coffee shops–that’s me, too, can we be friends?!?

  40. Deanna says...

    I wish more and more families living in small spaces in a big city are featured out there. Of course here in the US it’s about the big bad house that all “must have”. But it shouldn’t be that way. It takes courage to want to live like this. We are a family of three in a 850 sq ft condo here in Chicago with two bedrooms and we are walking distance to everything. My parents scoff at us when we tell them we do not want a house in the suburbs-they can’t seem to let it go-what do you say to your parents/family etc when they discuss this topic with you? I’m running out of comebacks haha.

    • Marte says...

      Since they are your parents, one single comeback “I am so happy here! My life is really great!” should do it, right? They are your parents, all they want is for you to be happy, I assume. And if they keep on it, try to figure out why they think you will be happier in a bigger house. Is it because of the Joneses, or have they seen something in your current life that they think is stressing you out, and that would be solved by a bigger house? Maybe talking about that explicitly will help them see that you are actually content with your life as it is, and that they needn’t worry.

    • Trish O says...

      So funny. I have been at that place. I grew-up in Glen Ellyn, outside of Chicago. My dad once asked, “when are you going to get a normal house?” He loved living in his big huge suburban house. Not for me. My kids are now teens. We just told our family this was how we wanted to live our life. So glad we stuck to our gut and stayed in The Many of my friends I grew-up with did too. There are great schools in Chicago. Our kids are in high school now, it all works out. There are lovely neighbors and culture and the beach. Stick to your guts. After a while they stop asking. I respect my parents choices in life….they just are not mine.

  41. Em says...

    I am ridiculously sentimental, but after helping my mother move house I’ve realised (reluctantly) that something has to change because we just have too much stuff. Your beautiful house and your thoughtful and deliberate attitude to living actually make me excited to let go of some things, and see the mental and physical space we can have in our house. Looking forward to revisiting this post for new ideas, and I think I just saw in a comment that you have a blog!

  42. Heather says...

    Love her philosophy and lifestyle choices. And we also have a little Mae :)

  43. GJ says...

    This home seems full of love and fun.

    “Kids don’t have to open 20 gifts to feel joy.” – great reminder for kids AND adults. xo

  44. Al says...

    I lived in a studio alcove in NYC,I know small and you learn to be inventive,especially with storage.The galley on a 747 was larger than my kitchen(literally).Then I moved into a two story colonial with 4 bedrooms 2 hrs from NYC. EVERYTHING I owned from the apartment literally sat in the middle of my 24×24 family room ,everything. Time to go shopping…LOL.But now that I’m older,I did not become wiser,I moved again into a even bigger house.Perhaps I was expecting family to come visit here in Las Vegas.Though I have to say I love my space and living SMALL is good when you are one person.Kids grow up and now your apartment is far too small.Clearly I can’t go back to being “frugal”.

  45. What a wonderful post! Love the simplicity and thought put into this living space. Can I ask — where did they find the over-the-door double hook for the stroller? That’s a brilliant solution…thanks!

  46. Ashley B says...

    Love this!! What a beautiful, functional space. My husband, four year old and I live in a house double this size (1300 SF) in the suburbs outside Portland, OR and most people around here consider our home very small. We have felt internal and external pressure to move to a bigger home but we really love the area where we live. Seeing families living well in smaller spaces gives me hope that we can live happily in our current home for a while to come! We just need a touch of decluttering :)

  47. Paige says...

    I love how much IKEA there is in this beautiful home!! Trendy and quality doesn’t have to be expensive!

  48. Angela Thompson says...

    That was a breath of fresh air. Lovely. Thank you.

  49. S says...

    I’d love to see floor plans in these types of features!

  50. Leah says...

    Love this! My husband and I will be moving into our first home (a 728 sq ft condo!) at the end of this year. We’ve both lived in suburbia our whole lives so are scared/thrilled to experience small living in the city; this home is such an inspiration!

    I love the flooring! May I ask what kind of flooring it is? It’s the perfect shade – not too light, not too dark, not too ashy.

  51. Paige says...

    This is SO INSPIRING… My husband and I are currently in a 1 bedroom apartment with our 1 year old, it’s a neighbourhood we love in Toronto and enough space/storage for us but how to deal with sleep arrangements for the long term (and another kid?) has really had us puzzled. But now I’m off in hunt of a murphy bed!

  52. Hannah says...

    I looooove the floor in the bathroom. All of a sudden our 800 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment doesn’t seem so small. So inspiring to see more of this minimal living!

  53. This home is exquisite. How wonderful that the family lives beautifully and comfortably in a 600-square-foot space.

  54. Claire says...

    Very interesting! This place reminds me of a ship’s cabin- everything all stowed away, streamlined, scaled to size, and functional.
    Also- cute jeans! and her hair is beautiful.
    (I must testify: Friday Night Lights was one of the best shows ever on TV. )

    • FNL forever!!

      My teen drama love gets much lower… I think the team at COJ was just too kind to embarrass me with my other admissions!

    • Alex says...

      Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

    • Claire says...

      I am in no position to judge anyone on their TV shows. If my 16 year old son watches it then I will check it out too. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, any Marvel character series, 13 Reasons Why…. I can’t quite make up my mind about Riverdale…

  55. That picture of your son swan diving on the bed – I CAN’T. What a fantastic shot!

    • Sonja says...

      I know! I am going to see if I can recreate with my own kiddo.

    • Liz says...

      YES! I was coming here to comment the same thing and figured someone else must’ve thought that too :)

  56. michaela says...

    What a beautiful space. I feel inspired! My husband and I are discussing whether our current apartment is where we want to start a family. It’s a really dreamy little spot and I can’t see us leaving unless it’s to move into a home that we own—and the real estate market in our city is crazy. It’s getting to the point that I don’t see us putting off having kids until we can buy a house. The one question I have is, how do you do apartment living with kiddos without driving your neighbors totally insane? Obviously some level of noise in any apartment is expected, and kids will be kids, but my biggest concern is the idea of keeping my older gentleman neighbor across the narrow hall from us up at night with a wailing baby! Does anyone have experiences with this?

    • Lauren E. says...

      I’ve never been a huge fan of kids (sorry but it’s true) but we have tons of kids at various ages on the floor of our apartment building and honestly, the crying and screaming and laughing and pots-and-pans banging don’t bother me in the least. It’s just city noise, as far as I’m concerned. And when the toddler next door yells out “train!” every time the subway passes by, we just laugh. I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

    • Eve says...

      I worried about this a lot. We do loft living and there are NO other kids in the building. Sound travels up easily, but not across, due to the construction. Long story short, don’t worry about it. Kids are a natural part of life and most kids rarely wail for hours on end. And pacifiers help ;)

    • KL says...

      I’m so glad you asked this question, and I’m hoping we get some responses! I’m due in October with our first and live in a condo with someone to the front of us and someone above us (the woman above us will bear the brunt of it since the nursery will be directly under her bedroom…). I’ve become so anxious about being terrible neighbors that I literally considered attaching noise panels/ acoustic panels to the ceiling and calling it art! Help us everyone!

    • Kristina says...

      We brought twins home to our apartment and everything went fine : ) We told everyone in our building when I was due and when they would be coming home and let them prepare…whatever that meant to them. Our landlords actually asked us if we were planning on moving but that was really the last thing on my mind at that point ha! The only times I felt like I had to apologize for them was during sleep training or terrible teething bouts/sickness. Otherwise, babies be babies! And they are just a natural part of city life. You’ll do fine : )

    • C says...

      We live in an 800sqft 2 bedroom with two kids under 5 and there are quite a few other babies in our building. We can hear faint crying every so often but I’ve never spoken to a neighbor who is really bothered by it. The worst is the running around because that makes a big pound on our downstairs neighbors ceiling and we’ve recently gotten a complaint about it. Obviously management was gracious and suggested a few more rugs and I’ve been better about taking the kids outside at the first hint if running laps… I think kid noises rank up there with street noises. Sometimes they’re worse than others, sometimes you don’t notice at all but they’re a part of the package when you live in an apartment for both parties. Childless neighbors have kept my kids awake with their loud drunk friends in the hallway negotiating who will call the taxi and I bite my tongue because grace goes both ways. I love our place and I don’t want to leave even though we’re expecting our third and I’m anticipating feeling cramped quite soon.

    • Lauren says...

      We live in a a giant old mansion in San Francisco, that was long ago turned in to seven apartment units. We live in the back of the building on the third floor (it’s a walk up), and I worried and worried myself sick when I was pregnant, that our neighbors were all going to hate our guts for the noise our kid was going to bring. But, guess what? They don’t… or you know what, they might, but, either way, they let us live + we let them live, and v. v. rarely do we throw each other shade for their 3 am occasional parties, nor they to us for our moms-need-coffee-before-life-can-be-lived 6am Moana viewings. Children are allowed to live and make noise, city or no city, as they are whole people too. I feel it’s one of my many jobs as one of my son’s mothers, to remember (and remind others if necessary) that while he’s “only” two, he has lots of things to share with the world, and so much to process and explore. Does he have loads of meltdowns in our shared walkway because he just. can’t. even. carry. his. -insert rock or other found treasure here. the rest of the way up to our apartment, YES. Does it likely annoy our neighbors at times… probably, but guess what! They don’t have to deal with the meltdown, his parents do, and then we all move on with our day.

    • Caroline says...

      I would definitely not worry about crying. Running, jumping, and banging everything in sight on the other hand…my kids get considerably louder as they get older.

    • Emily says...

      We live in an apartment in NYC with a 1.5 year old daughter. The elderly woman who lives next door to us is in poor health. She’s also known throughout the building as being grouchy, difficult, and sometimes plain old mean.
      And yet she LOVES our daughter. She lights up when she sees her in the hall, she gives me unsolicited advice, and she tells me the noise has never bothered her. My baby even likes to help her push her walker.
      So my advice is (a) you have to live your life, (b) city living comes with noise no matter what, and (c) you never know what your neighbor’s response will be! Maybe he’ll delight in having a little one nearby.

    • Alex says...

      We live in the middle apartment of a 3-floor building in a dense urban city with a 2.5 year old and another on the way. Our kid is loud like all other kids – jumping and stomping and running around on wood floors. But no-one has ever complained to us about the noise. I think you just accept it as part of city living. I will say it helps to be not just polite, but friendly with your neighbors. We know everyone’s name in our building (only 6 apartments so not hard…) and we taught our daughter to say hello to everyone and address them by their name as soon as she was capable. All of our neighbors of a variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds just adore her – she literally runs to them on the sidewalk to hug them all. So I think people will forgive banging and crying if the kid is mostly friendly and entertaining. Good luck!

    • michaela says...

      Wow, thank you all for these stories. I’m feeling much more reassured. You all said it wonderfully—kids are a beautiful, if sometimes noisy, addition to a community.

    • M says...

      My advice is not to sweat it. Be kind and considerate when you can but babies cry and yours will too. It is life. I had an unhappy neighbor (her window was across from the nursery window in our separate house), who sent anonymous postcards about our baby crying. Our daughter was born two months early (seven days after we moved into our house!) and was admittedly colicky. But there was nothing more we could do about it than what we were already doing. None of us wanted her to cry. The complaints (and the anonymous nature of the complaints) were really upsetting at the time, and I felt terrible. Now I wish I hadn’t cared about it at all.

    • michele says...

      on the other side of the coin, the one neighbor you share a wall with may leave you an “anonymous” note, with a lengthy rant about how babies crying at 3am isn’t “healthy”…and you might cry over it for a day. but then you’ll shove the note in your baby book, find it when you decide to assemble said baby book a year later, and laugh about the almost-forgotten memory and remember it as a season of life that is a part of your family’s story.

      ps: becoming a mama sometimes just makes you not give so many f’s about what other people think anyway, it’s glorious

    • These comments are so good! How about a post on city-living with children??

  57. Anna Azvolinsky says...

    Today by Julie Morstad is my daughter’s favorite book too!! We bought it last year when she was 2.5 and a year later, it still gets pulled out several times a week. Now, she puts herself in the story and makes all of the decision. Love this light, sparse space, the apt is great! I lived in a 500 sq ft. space with a roommate in grad school–it’s amazing what you can do with small spaces.

  58. CJ says...

    I love this feature! That console in the hallway is coming home with me. I love these ideas, even though we just bought a home that is large and has plenty of space. Sometimes you don’t want huge furniture everywhere and simplicity wins.

    • This is how I feel. I think there are so many smart “space saving” options that make sense regardless of square footage. I’m certainly not a minimalist, but I *hate* big bulky furniture; I love having open space and with a toddler running around, she loves it too!

  59. Denise says...

    I’m thinking that a little wall paper on the interior of that murphy bed wouldn’t go amiss. How fun to have a colorful “headboard” when the bed is down and then it disappears when the bed goes up. I also love the economy of organization in a tiny space. My own apt is 640 sq feet and it’s just me and my cat & it’s cluttered! Well, me and the cat and 40 houseplants. Can’t forget them.

    • I love that idea! Thank you. Will start researching….

  60. Nadya says...

    I love the mounted bookshelves to the left of the bunk beds. Could you share the source?
    Thank you!!

  61. Jill says...

    Loved this. Home tours are some of my favourite Cup of Jo posts! My husband and I both enjoy weeding out and donating items in our house, but we’re also secret pack-rats. Every time someone says “oh, you’re so good – there’s no junk on your floors!” I think “please don’t look in our attic!” Even with four people in a small space, Alison’s home looks so inviting and calm. Inspiring :)

  62. Michaela says...

    I love living in our small 850 square foot home. So much less to clean! This house tour is making me feel like our cottage is simply palatial ✨love it!

  63. Irina says...

    The way this family lives sounds like the way most people in my generation and my parents’ generation grew up in Russia! City apartments were mostly very small, and some people were actually crammed several families to an apartment, although in my generation, raised in the 80s, there was less of that.

    All the Russian apartments I’ve lived in or visited had 2-4 rooms but all the rooms were very small and often served multiple purposes. The living room often doubled as the parents’ bedroom, with the parents sleeping on a sofa bed. The kids shared one bedroom where they slept, played, entertained their friends, and did their homework. Kids might have real beds or couches that also served as beds.

    Many families had lots of books so bookshelves were everywhere – parents’ room, kids’ room, grandma’s room, hallway, etc. There was often a sort of storage closet under the ceiling, usually in a hallway, called “entresol,” where you could keep infrequently used items conveniently out of the way. Most apartments had balconies which provided additional storage space for large items like skis and bikes. During the cold months of the year, balconies were also used to store food that required refrigeration or freezing but couldn’t fit in the small apartment-sized fridges that everyone had.

    • Yulia says...

      This is so interesting!

  64. Jacq says...

    I want to know where they keep the camping gear! My little, growing family is also doing the small-apartment-in-a-big-(Canadian!)-city thing, but we struggle with finding room to store our tents, sleeping bags, expedition backpacks, climbing gear… camping stove, tarps… bear canister, snowshoes, canoe paddles… (The canoe is currently being stored at the grandparents’ cottage. :))

    • Hi! We have a VW Westfalia (camper van) that stores all our camping gear. We use it for adventuring mostly and not as an everyday vehicle. It’s parked in our parkade and we just hope it doesn’t get broken into (ah city life!)

    • Quinn says...

      Have you considered getting a storage unit somewhere nearby? My husband, two kids and I are in 850 sq ft (in Vancouver) and keep all of our seasonal stuff in a storage unit a couple of blocks away. The cost of renting the storage unit is WAY less than the premium we’d pay to rent/buy a bigger place and, as long as everything stays organized/well-labeled, it’s pretty quick to pop there and get what we need.

  65. Cooper says...

    I’m preparing to move into a tiny apartment with a baby this fall, and this post was so encouraging and inspiring! One small-space tip I’ve picked up is to use an air-purifier as a sound machine at night – ours (the $50 Holmes egg from Target) generates soothing but loud white noise that drowns out the traffic just outside our bedroom window and also keeps the dust levels way down.

    • Genius!!!! The dust/lint/fur (from our long-haired cat) buildup is INSANE in a tiny apt! (Ours is 300 sq ft).

  66. Jessica S says...

    Inspirational! My husband and I live in a 900 sq. ft. apartment with our soon-to-be 1 year old. We converted our sun room to our son’s room (and use a curtain as the door). I often dream of having more space but he reminds me that living in small quarters forces us to use the city as our ‘play space’, and that we really should only ever keep what we need. Thank you for sharing this — it’s a good (great!) reminder that family = love and time together and creativity and adventure, not basements and playrooms (although they may sometimes help ;) )

  67. Loved this home tour! I grew up in Vancouver, and now that my parents have moved away, I haven’t been back for 7 years. But in less than 2 weeks I am finally going back with my husband and 3 kids. We’ll be visiting Tofino and then spending a few weeks in Vancouver, so I am so happy to find Alisons corner of the internet with great Vancouver-with-kids tips. Thanks!

  68. Miranda F. says...

    I love how organized and function is in this home! But where are all the clothes stored?! Is there a washer and dryer?

    • KRISTI L says...

      That was my question too! Where are the clothes and shoes???

    • CJ says...

      Shoes in the Ikea console! It’s so brilliant.

    • Hi!
      Yes, they just didn’t make it in the photos :).
      – the opposite wall in the kid’s bedroom is our master closet, concealed with floor to ceiling curtains to save space.
      – The kid’s clothes are in a small closet in the dining area.
      – a stacked washer and dryer are to the right of the front door

  69. Erin M. says...

    Such a beautiful home tour!! Love the color palette and the family seems so lovely. So curious about clothes storage?! And we need an outfit post for Alison I think : )

  70. Christine says...

    Beautiful space!
    I’m in love with their philosophy on minimal gift giving to their children…There’s so much more to life than materialism, and it’s wonderful to see parents instill that in their kids at a young age.

  71. rachel says...

    love love love alison’s approach to living small in the city with small kids and really appreciate her honesty and irreverence about parenthood. her blog is one of my all time faves because she always keeps it real and has the best taste!

  72. diana says...

    where is that wall hanging from?!

  73. I love this apt. So many great ideas!

  74. Haley says...

    I really love this space. So light and bright and functional. One suggestion that I would love to see on these posts is maybe at the end of the post have all the places we can find the person featured online. Like links to their instagram/blog/etc in one place. I noticed that if I click on Alison’s name at the top it takes me to her blog then at the bottom it takes me to her instagram, it would be nice to have them all in the same place clearly labeled. I love the women you feature and I’d love follow them!

  75. Carol says...

    What a beautiful home! I love the neutral color scheme.
    Mostly, though, I love how their lives are pared down and made simpler (better) because of the space they inhabit.

  76. Love this house tour! Thank you for sharing! I LOL’d at the “overnight guests” part because I thought it was be awkward before reading your honesty on the awkwardness.

  77. Jenny says...

    The details in this home are so beautiful and practical, like the vertical storage wood shelves in the kids’ room that show their books! The effect of this space is light and air, not chaos and a tight squeeze.

    Sometimes I feel like COJ is reading my diary! I just moved to a tiny cabin on a farm about 30 mins away from my school and I’m struggling to reconcile my possessions with the tiny loft. I love the part about shopping and also being constantly confronted with your possessions. I thought I had it figured out when I lived in a tiny studio, but this is harder. Layout matters. I have to think that if this beautiful, lively, young family can make it work with elegance, so can I!

  78. Jen says...

    This apartment was featured on apartment therapy two years ago interesting to see the updates now with two kids but it’s surprising the update is on a different blog

  79. Alyssa says...

    This is probably my favorite home tour yet. Feels the most like my style. I am curious though – with access to the beach and the mountains, do they have equipment for those types of adventures? Where do they keep a tent and all the other necessary(?) items for those!

    • We invested in an 82 Westfalia. It’s like our cabin on wheels :) and holds all our gear. We could never fit all our gear in 600sqft unless we created some sort of pulley system, ha!

  80. Kim G says...

    I loved this space. I’ve lived in places great and small, and I have to say the urge to constantly purge is hard to subdue.

    Is the $30 thing that changed her life the $40 trashcan? I know I’m being picky! There’s also another small editing error towards the end. “It’s forced us to simply our life…” should be simplify.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hi Kim! Thank you so much for your comment! Just updated :) There are a couple price options for the trash can, but there is a $30 version! I ordered it Friday and LOVE it, haha.

  81. Emma says...

    I love this so very much- making use of small space, buying less and making a city like Vancouver work for you, even with kids. It inspires me to see solutions to living in this city!

  82. Such a thrill to be featured on my all-time absolute favourite blog. Thank you Joanna and Stella for the kind and thoughtful post and always sharing how different families live!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, alison!!!

  83. Jeanne says...

    That photo of Theo leaping is to die for. It evokes such joy and exuberance. And I love that I can see his feet imprints remaining on the couch backing. It feels very symbolic. You must frame it!!

    • I love that you noticed the footprints, I missed that. Thank you!!!

  84. Rita says...

    Err, Tofino is not a tiny island a ferry ride away. It’s a small town on a very large island (the size of Belgium) and is a two hour ferry and a three hour drive away from vancouver!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you, Rita! Just updated.

  85. Sonja says...

    Yes! I am so pleased that Alison was featured. She has been a guiding light in living small and intentionally with kiddos. I’m a shopper by nature but often find myself with buyer’s remorse, guilt, etc. Using her self-care model of read a magazine, workout class, quick pedicure – still luxuries but they give you a lot more than a sweater you shouldn’t have purchased in the first place and donate with tags still on. I also really appreciate how real her blog is about saving for purchases and travel. It’s a great reminder that good things come to those who wait.

    • Trish O says...

      I also found that advice very inspirational. I need that shift in thinking.

  86. Nat says...

    Love this! Especially the genius hook on the front door for the Bugaboo – where is that from?

    • Angela says...

      Ditto this question!! This space gives me hope for your small house with two kids.

  87. diana k says...

    NO ONE IS TOO OLD FOR FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!!!!!!

    • Jody says...

      So true!! Best ever!

    • Em says...

      YES! Hahaha!

    • Amanda says...

      Haha. I’m closer to Coach’s age and I agree…

    • Claire says...

      Word!

  88. Anju says...

    I loved reading this! What a beautiful home. We live in a European capital where square footage is expensive, in an apartment exactly the same size – although we are a family of three, which makes it easier I suppose. Our floor plan is very different though: we have two separate bedrooms, an eat-in-kitchen and a separate living/family room, plus a glazed balcony (outdoor space not included in the sq footage). So we can actually close a door for privacy if needed! Still, simplifying is key in small family homes. Everything is small and cosy, and that’s why we have mostly mid-century furniture, designed for smaller homes and maximum functionality.

  89. Amy says...

    This is my favorite one ever, coming from someone sharing a 740-sq ft home with two kids and a husband!

  90. AJ says...

    I’m all for the minimalism, but laughed out loud at the two coat theory. I live just a few provinces away in Saskatchewan and if you only had two coats you’d either spend your time soaked, freezing, or melting. Things that might work in Vancouver won’t work everywhere.

    I wish we spent more time talking about embracing the minimalism we can achieve in our circumstances.

  91. Simone says...

    Love it! I have a Theo too :)

  92. Becky says...

    Wow!! So many things about this tour!!! My husband and I live in a 550 square foot space. With a horrific layout. The layout is everything in a small space. We have two bedrooms but its a waste. It would be better as an open concept with a diy room divider.
    Love the Murphy bed!!!
    Love Vancouver!
    Love the idea of raising kids in a small manageable space and promoting books over fad toys.
    I’m a big fan of readingmytealeaves.com because of the living tiny/simple concept.

  93. Bridget says...

    I LOVE this- my favorite. I love “the best way I knew how to care for myself was to shop…” I too live in smaller quarters for a family of 6 and my kids have always shared a room. Paring down is so underrated. I don’t enjoy shopping unless I really need something- my self care is a workout class or meeting up with friends or going on a walk. Thank you!

  94. Eve says...

    What a stunningly beautiful family! Love the potluck idea. One question – where do you store your camping things? We love (car) camping and our gear has taken over too much space in our apartment.

    • I came down here to ask the same question! I live in 1000 square feet with a family of five, and we love to camp but struggle with where to store everything!

    • Emily B says...

      I was wondering the same thing!

    • Irina says...

      You don’t really need that much gear to camp. All you need is a tent, a couple of sleeping bags and camping mats, and a couple of flashlights. Maybe a camp stove if you can’t or prefer not to have a fire to cook on. If you’re car-camping, you don’t even really need sleeping bags, you can just bring regular blankets from home. If you have enough blankets to put underneath you, then you can do without camping mats. And, with car-camping, you can use your regular dishes and pots/pans, no need for anything special/lightweight etc.

    • Cooper says...

      We live in a tiny apartment and currently keep all of our camping gear in the trunk of our car year-round but I’d love another idea!

  95. Helen says...

    This place is incredible.

    Tofino isn’t an island though, it’s a tiny town on Vancouver Island, which is quite a big island. It is an absolutely beautiful place.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you, Helen!

  96. Lesley says...

    The Murphy beds…….!! I have never seen anything like that. Very cool. This family seems like a sweet one indeed. And I would like to thank the cup of jo team for their continual effort to portray varying types of families and lifestyles.

  97. Natasha says...

    Alison, your family is beautiful! Where is Mae’s outfit (in the last photo) from?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ll ask her!

  98. Ellie says...

    Love this story! Especially liked the idea of the projector on the wall bed (genius!) and the urban outfitters bath mat (I have one that gets so many compliments, and is also so practical because it dries so quickly).

    Small note: Tofino is not a tiny island – it’s a town on a very large island (Vancouver Island), but it could be called a “tiny island town” or a “tiny coastal town”. But it’s growing quickly!

  99. Barbara says...

    There is so much joy in this home! Love it!

  100. Sarah says...

    Yay! I love Alison and her blog is amazing-so many good tips! TY!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      her blog is so amazing, i love it so much :) xoxoxo

  101. Sasha says...

    As a fellow Canadian who lived in Vancouver for 6 years, it makes me so sad that families need to live in tiny places due to exorbitant rents and real estate prices.

    I’m glad you are making this work, but we have friends there who have 2 kids who have missed the real estate boat, and it is depressing that people who were born and raised there have been priced out of their own city.

    • Sasha says...

      sorry, I did not mean to sound negative, just the first thing that came to mind when I read this. Thanks for all the affordable Ikea storage solutions! I also love the wall bed, I slept on a rather uncomfortable futon when I lived in my tiny Vancouver studio, and wish I had something like that.

    • Hi Sasha,

      Agreed, Vancouver real estate is so difficult and many of our friends are moving away and it breaks our hearts. We are just making the best of a difficult situation and have found a lot of unexpected joy in living small.

      xx Alison

  102. Laura C. says...

    Wow. This is so- Gosh, in three weeks time I’ll be moving to a flat that is half the one I live now. The thing is, You have to make it work for you. I’m more displeased by the fact that we are changing neighbourhood and where are we going to stuck all of our stuff. The rule about toys is a lovely idea.
    Thank you for this, it is what I needed right now.