Monday, April 23, 2012

Facebook Finds

Facebook finds 02

Sometimes I find links that are too good to let slip away; that's when they get posted to the Tiny-Ass Apartment Facebook page. Once a week they're collected in a post as a veritable marathon of small-space goodness. This week we've got space-saving frakkin' toasters, a way to store your knives up and out of sight, and a very cool app that can help you plan your space, no matter how tiny.

Incredible Things: The Crisp Toaster saves counter space

Lifehacker: Hide your knife rack by mounting it under the cabinet

TechCrunch: MagicPlan 2.0 arrives - Create instant floor plans using your iPhone or iPad's camera

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We're sinking!: Five sink combos that save space and water

When I was in elementary school, there was a commercial about recycling with a song that went, "Recycle, reduce, reuse, and close the loop!" Now, every time I think about recycling (which is often, given that I work for a company that publishes tons of kid's crafts with recycled materials, and with Earth Day coming up on Sunday), I hear that song in my head. Every. Goddamn. Time.

Still, even though that song makes me want to recycle its writers into compost, it did drive home the message of living a more eco-friendly life. And in fact, living in a tiny apartment is already a big step in the right direction. Even though people think of cities as being polluted and dirty, living in a small apartment is actually good for the environment! You're taking up less physical space, and therefore it takes less energy to heat or cool your home. By building up instead of out, less land has to be cleared for new housing. If you live in the city where you work, you're more likely to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the office. And with less room, you're more likely to have multi-use furniture, and to think twice about buying more stuff since you have no place to put it! You begin to train yourself to be less wasteful.

This collection of sink combos capture that thinking perfectly. Their design is 50% saving space, 50% saving water. By placing the sink on top of the toilet tank, you eliminate the need for a separate sink and its pedestal or cabinet taking up valuable floor space. And these all make your water go twice as far: first, clean water is pumped into the sink. The "gray water" (the "used" water) goes down the drain and is then used to flush the toilet. Instead of wasting clean water washing away your, erm, waste, the only-slightly-used water is given a second job. It's a win-win for both small space dwellers and the environment.

This concept sink and toilet combo from designer Jang Wooseok has two tanks; one fills with gray water and uses it for flushing once it's full, and the other fills with tap water just like a regular toilet, for flushing when there is no gray water to be used. From Coroflot.

Australian manufacturer Caroma created this "Profile Smart 305" sink/toilet model. Not only does it reuse the sink's water in the toilet, but it has two flush settings as well, so that you use only as much water as you need. As Smart Planet points out, not only does this setup save water, but it saves the extra energy you'd need to pump clean water separately into the toilet and the sink.

If you're worried about touching a tap handle on a sink that's attached to an icky toilet, this Sinkpositive by Environmental Designworks eliminates that problem by automatically running clean water out of the faucet during the flush cycle for touchless handwashing. (And of course all of the water is recycled, so there's no waste if you're a gross person and don't wash your hands after doing your business.) It's also an aftermarket attachment, so you don't have to replace your entire toilet to install it. From Toy Store Inc.

This sink, featured on House Logic, is a more stylish option. It's hard to believe it's a DIY project -- that's actually a recycled salad bowl as the basin! From Flickr.

As if I didn't already love Smeg for their gorgeous, colorful, retro-inspired refrigerators, they also have this clever sink and washing machine combo. While having a washer in an apartment is only a dream for most of us, squeezing your washer into your bathroom in place of the sink just might make it a reality. And it's so cute, too! Via DigsDigs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Russian nesting studio

We've seen some tiny studios before, but this one is moving into the lead to become one of the smallest fully-functional homes in the pack. Now, my Russian is a little rusty (that is, nonexistent), but this studio was found on StyleRoom, the website of Russian architect and designer Pavel Vasin (Note: thanks for finding his name, Irina!). Still, it's interesting to analyze this floor plan. The "wet" rooms (kitchen and bathroom) are on the left, with a tiled floor. The "dry" living and sleeping spaces are on the right. There don't appear to be many overly clever tricks for furniture and storage (no transforming tables and the like), with the exception of the swiveling TV that allows viewing from either the living room or the bed. Instead, everything's just teeny-tiny.

I think I'd be able to live in a place this small, but it would definitely need some work. It's not very homey as it is -- but then again, that makes it all the easier to make your own mark.

Via FresHome's Facebook.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Bed-And-Nightstand-Room: 14 tiny bedrooms

Some things are so simple and so obvious that when you stop to look at them, you realize they're actually kind of ridiculous. Case in point, this quote from one of my favorite comedians, Mitch Hedberg:

I want to get a job as someone who names kitchen appliances. Toaster, refrigerator, blender… All you do is say what the shit does, and add "er." I wanna work for the Kitchen Appliance Naming Institute. "Hey, what does that do?" "It keeps shit fresh." "Well, that's a fresher… I'm going on break.”

This same facepalmingly simple naming convention works for rooms, too. Just take what's in that room, then add the word "room." Living room, bathroom, bedroom. (You should have seen the look of realization on my face long ago in French class as I realized that "salle de bans" literally means "room of the bath." English isn't the only linguistic master of the obvious sometimes!)

Now, given everyday usage, these simple names can still get jumbled up. (What is the difference between a living room and a family room, by the way?) But in tiny apartments, often what you get is exactly what you're told. In this case, we're taking a look at bedrooms: rooms that contain a bed… and not much more! These rooms are more than a nook or alcove, and give your landlord the ability to call it a 1BR (and accordingly jack up the rent), but still can't fit much more than a queen-sized frame and maybe a nightstand. Huh, maybe they should call it the bed-and-nightstand-room…

We begin with Lauren's 400 square foot apartment in New York City, as featured on Apartment Therapy. With the apartment being only 12 feet wide at its widest, it was difficult to configure her furniture, especially her bed, especially especially in that teeny-tiny bedroom! Thankfully, Lauren has a background in architecture, and she was able to make it work. Her custom bed has storage for shoes and even a freakin' kayak. I also love the sliding barn door, which saves precious space as it tucks away instead of swinging inward.

The bed in this heavenly white-and-wood bedroom from Small Place Style takes up the entire far end of the room, fitting perfectly between the three walls. While it may be a little inconvenient to get in and out if there's more than one person sleeping in that bed, it frees up a lot of real estate. It looks to have a storage headboard with a task lamp for those late-night page-turners. There also appears to be a large wardrobe unit on the left for tons of hidden storage; the monochromatic white-on-white keeps the piece from overwhelming the room. On the opposite side, a homey wooden dresser breaks up the white and gives the room more character.

This warm bedroom in Brooklyn just goes to show that vibrantly-painted walls can work in even the smallest of rooms. The red far wall adds some punch, and coordinates nicely with the bed linens and lantern. Here, the bed is placed with the long side against the wall, and a woven screen is used as a kind of headboard. A teeny nightstand at the end of the bed holds a few necessities, and at the link you can see that the apartment's resident, Margaret, has created a closet by curtaining off the opposite side of the room. From Apartment Therapy.

Now this room looks like the perfect spot to curl up and read a book on a rainy day. That fireplace! Again, the bed takes up the entire end of the room, but unlike the white room above, this bed is styled as a daybed, facing inward into the rest of the room. I love the dark wood and traditional paintings here -- it's a very Old-World look. (Except of course the flatscreen TV on the wall…) From 1st Option via Pretty Stuff.

Read on for ten more bed-and-nightstand-rooms…
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