Living Large in Under 2000′


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Continuing with another example of how minimalism in decor looks and functions, is a 1751′ condo that started out as a basic builder grade, new build.  Not unlike other areas in the country, communities are emerging everywhere that offer limited floorpans and selections.  If you view the concept of having “less” as minimalism,  these homes qualify because they  really have “nothing” in terms of architectural features.  Wasn’t that one of our must haves for making minimalism work?  Yes it was.



  As we’ve shared, my husband and I have been the caretakers of many homes over the years.  We have lived in multi level townhouses, 4 floor victorians, tiny lake houses, beach condos, suburban family homes, pool homes, industrial lofts, traditional Georgians, Brownstones and a Hansel and Grettle type house.  At times we have owned more than one, even three homes at a time.  We have lovingly furnished each home to suit us and our family to perfection.

Clients will often ask what has been my favorite house?  My answer is always the same….the one we are living in.  Seldom do either of us long for a house we have left. We make each house our home.  However, to say we were slow to the idea of living with less is an understatement.  This is our current home.  A 1751′ carriage house in a community where each building is a 4 plex. This is the smallest full time home we have lived in.  Let’s look at how we incorporated our 5 must haves for minimalism to work.

  • Comfort
  • Storage
  • Architecture and Lighting
  • Defined Use of Space
  • Ease of Maintenance

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Upgrades to the builder package would have included small crown moldings.  To add the missing architectural detail, we passed on this option and instead had our carpenter add wainscot in the entry and increase baseboard details and door casements.   To gain a bit more interest we added fixtures that are pieces of art in themselves.  This large cabinet is our bar.  We’ve got stuff, all useable and hidden, to keep clutter at bay.

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We have several pieces of furniture that we have toted from house to house.  At each place these pieces evolve to meet current needs.  The model of this floor plan showed a 2nd table in this space and stools at the elevated kitchen counter.  We chose to create a nook with our favorite reading chairs and use a pair of stools at our beloved alter piece.    This doubles as a food service area too.  Nearly every piece in this room can serve multiple functions.

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154 Bella Vista Terrace-print-027-47-154BellaVista 8626-2400x1590-300dpi.jpgThe kitchen is the open concept every couple on the HGTV shows must have.  Open can be a challenge to keep standard kitchen needs/mess from morphing into the other spaces.  We chose to have an elevated counter to create more definition.  In lieu of the bar stools here, we added more covered storage for all glass ware.  They tuck under the counter so the area is still great for walk up use.  Next issue with builder plan was there are only 9 cabinets  This includes the one over the refrigerator and one under the sink.  To offset this, we decided to convert a corner wire shelf pantry into a coffee bar, with open shelves for all beverage needs, pots and pans and bakeware.  We added a glass door as another architectural feature.  It is probably the most usable 15′ in the house. We cook a lot so all the surfaces have to stand up to wear and tear.  A luxury item is the motion control faucet.  Priceless.

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154 Bella Vista Terrace-large-066-65-154BellaVista 8700-1500x994-72dpi.jpgThe outdoor area is accessible from the master suite too.

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You can see we have plenty of stuff!  We take advantage of case goods and Ikea shelving units to max out the closets.  The small cabinet in the hall is used as a make-up vanity.  Covered storage is key for us.  As is the One In One Out rule for clothing.  154 Bella Vista Terrace-large-011-7-154BellaVista 8595-1500x994-72dpi.jpg154 Bella Vista Terrace-print-006-6-154BellaVista 8576-2400x1590-300dpi.jpg154 Bella Vista Terrace-print-015-13-154BellaVista 8604-2400x1590-300dpi.jpg154 Bella Vista Terrace-large-014-12-154BellaVista 8598-1500x994-72dpi.jpg

A Guest Room, Office and Second Full Bath finish off the spaces we use on a  regular basis.

You can see that our take on minimalism includes both color and texture in our art and furnishings.  We have all the things that are important to us in this home.  We have what we want…not only what we need.  What we don’t have are extra things that serve no purpose or things that have no meanings to us.  The things in our home are things we choose to keep and take care of.  Perhaps this is another criteria of how to be a minimalist. Our home now is smaller than ever before yet lives as large as any of the others.

Photos by Al Larson

Tomorrow Kristen will share her idea of minimalism in her home.

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