Spring Forward with Parachute’s Brushed Cotton Sheets

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About a year ago, we invested in the most laid-back, beautifully wrinkled, perfectly tossed linen sheets by Parachute Home. The color was a rich Terra Cotta that never faded despite frequent washing. The linen stayed intact in the face of a forever-kneading cat whose claws I may have forgotten to trim. And there was hardly any pilling involved. We loved our linen duvet cover, but since then I have turned over a new leaf.

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I know not why, but I go through phases like the ocean tide. I will be really into the easy look and low maintenance of linen, then get attracted to the crisp, coolness of cotton. We had switched to the latter for our duvet cover last Fall, trading in our cozy orange cover on Poshmark for a bit of cash that allowed us to buy Parachute’s clean-cut, double-sided brushed cotton duvet. It has been six months and I have yet to go back.

When they advertised the duvet cover as brushed cotton, I did not realize just how soft it would be. It feels buttery to the touch, and that’s not just baker-talk. It feels akin to sleeping in an old tee. I have slept soundly since making the switch, and my husband has commented that it keeps him quite cool in the evenings, even with a fluffy cat between our heads. Like Parachute’s other products, these are made in a 100% family-owned factory in Portugal. It is OEKO TEX certified which means it does not contain harmful chemicals or synthetics.

We were able to snag the double-sided duvet cover, which is ivory on one side and a dark, sage green on the other. It is low-key still available as a sheet set and duvet cover under the ever-so-secret Last Chance section of Parachute where you can find older products at up to 40% OFF. I had it on the dark side all winter and it really muted the room in a way that supported lattes in bed and hours of sleep. For Spring, I just recently gave it a good wash (which I recommend doing every other week) and flipped it over to it’s ivory side. It’s absolutely gorgeous, especially under this mood lighting that teases me with the possibility of rain.

The difference between the linen duvet cover and this one is that the linen cover looks good messy. This does not. Which isn’t so bad since it forces me to make my bed every morning, whereas the linen cover was left alone most of the time. The esthetics were improved after throwing a bright white quilt over it during the colder months. This quilt from Parachute looks like the ticket, although ours was purchased many moons ago when Mike and I had no dollars to our name and we were walking the aisles of Target in search of something to keep us from freezing in the garage we were calling a bedroom. Never mind that our quilt was meant for a Full/Queen bed instead of the California King we now sleep on. Either way, what the brushed duvet cover lacks in careless style, it makes up for in class and comfort.

For the best effect, I would recommend mixing and matching the two fabrics. I have seen photos of the terra linen sheets partnered with the ochre brushed cotton duvet on Parachute’s website, and it is heavenly. We actually kept these linen pillowcases that were gifted to me by my mom on my last birthday, and I find it keeps the room looking less stark. Coupled with the textures of our aforementioned quilt, and the marriage between textiles is pure unicorn magic. Any minimalist could agree that the secret to a barren room is texture.

In the end, it boils down to a matter of what vibe you want in your space. The trade happened around the same time we remodeled our couch with a white linen Bemz cover. It used to be a cotton navy blue color that the Soderhamn couch was sold with. At the same time, we sold our wooden West Elm Mid-Century modern media console on Offer Up and used the proceeds towards this minimalist Ikea one, which better suited our vibe (read also as: better fit our record player). The auburn linen duvet cover that sold out twice from Parachute perfectly matched the previous couch and console, but once we made both switches, the linen cover started to feel out of place.

To be honest, I knew nothing about my home style preferences prior to last-year’s stay-at-home mandate. Initially, I thought I was a bohemian, mid-century modern, Eichler-loving gal. I chose wood pieces in walnut, bright jewel tones for my textiles, and big leafy plants. But after having to actually stay at home for many months, I started to realize that both my space and myself were more aligned with clean lines and simple shapes in the neutral colors of white, beige, gray, and black. It isn’t what I envisioned a creative’s space would look like. But perhaps I need the blank walls to inspire my creations. I guess I feel more at peace when I have a structured space to live and work in.

The best thing I could have done last year to improve my lifestyle was to invest in my home. Little upgrades made big differences, both in my productivity, as well as the quality of my work. Add to that a sense of calm and serenity that helped me relax on my days off, and you’ve got the perfect equation for a well-balanced life. I truly enjoyed my quarantine life and that isn’t because I’m introverted. I believe it has something to do with finding my niche, and when one finds that perfect space where they are most themselves, well, that qualifies as finally being truly at home.

Why A Kitchen Reno Is Not Happening Any Time Soon

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Sometimes, this space is as much for my readers as it is for me – a place where I can store letters to myself or record the reasoning behind this experimental project which I call life. Today, it serves as the latter, although my readers may find the value in it too; A kind note to myself as to why a kitchen renovation is not in the cards in our near future, and why that is perfectly okay.

I toyed with the idea of re-doing our kitchen in December, after visiting a few friends who underwent just that. Their pretty white cabinets and shining appliances made an impression on me and had me stumbling down a rabbit hole of quartz countertops and custom-made wooden doors. In my musings, I mulled over all the flaws of our tiny kitchen space – the creaking faucet that is sure to break any minute now, the super thin metal sink banged up from carelessness, the water-logged floorboards caused by a leak every time we ran the dishwasher left undiagnosed until three plumbers later, the oven that clicks without a fan in the rear, the plastic microwave with its sticky hooded vents, the peeling panels stickered onto the laminated cabinet doors and the crusty chipboard slowly giving up underneath these fake countertops – all the things that my dream kitchen did not have.

My consideration even went so far as physically going to Ikea, planning a kitchen with a consultant, getting quotes from the third party counter-top company and the installation crew, and coming up with a game plan to ensue renovation at a moment’s notice. As usual, my husband gave me pause and we agreed to dog-ear the project and revisit at a later month.

During which, all the things I love about the kitchen re-surfaced. I had already written another note to myself about How to Fall In Love with a Kitchen but forgot it in the midst of celebrating all the newness of our friend’s “new” home. Which goes to show that sometimes, we need reminders of our love, such as that which I hold for my own space.

How it was my own bakery for a year of my life, how I know exactly the way my breads will turn out in this faithful oven of mine, how the light hits the fake-wood and adds a soft glow to my mornings and late afternoons, how the countertops never cause me worry and allow me to thoughtlessly spill sauce that would certainly stain marble and leave hot pans unattended which would certainly burn wood, how the kitchen fridge holds enough food for the three of us, how my dishwasher keeps my hands from drying out in the winter time, how we eat breakfast and prep meals around the free wooden island that came with the house and those fold-up-Ikea chairs, how there is just enough room to store all our belongings, how a cabinet in particular holds the exact dimensions needed for my beloved KitchenAid Mixer, how there is a very specific counterspace wide enough to house our espresso machine and coffee grinder, and how it brings me so much joy to stare at my kitchen from the couch, thanking my lucky stars that we get to call this abode our home.

With all of this recognition for our kitchen’s enoughness comes the flaws of doing a renovation. Redoing a kitchen would definitely put us behind on our loan repayment journey, which serves as our number one priority and biggest goal. Redoing a kitchen would take away time from our daily lives, as well as erase my bakery’s memories. Redoing a kitchen will unlikely bring us lasting happiness, as I continue to spill sauce on new countertops and drop things in a new sink while relearning the workings of a new oven. Lastly and most importantly, redoing a kitchen is not exactly what we are about.

In an effort to practice gratitude for what we already have, to live freely from working 9-5, and to live purposefully and to the fullest, I have decided after much consideration not to tackle the kitchen renovation. And while Instagram will feed me mementos as to why renovation is a must, I will be baking away in this darn kitchen, grateful for it supporting all my culinary endeavors, forgiving my experimental failures, and hosting my favorite people while learning and relearning the beauty in the aging of things and the growing of ourselves.

Other reminders and related posts:

Minimalist Holiday Decor with The Sill

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When it comes to holiday decor, I stray not far from my minimalist tendencies. In much the same way that I favor living plant life for my everyday house decor, I celebrate the holidays in good cheer by littering Norfolk Island Pine on every available surface. Under the impression that “plants make people merry”, I truly feel that there is no better way to deck the halls than placing greenery in nook and cranny.

While my pine trees are purchasable from The Sill, I am also a huge supporter of traipsing about your backyard or neighboring wood to gather acorn, cedar garland, or other berry and evergreen available to you. For city dwellers, a trip to your local farmer’s market to collect eucalyptus could substitute. Or perhaps haul in the olive tree from the patio for a month.

In my opinion, spending isn’t a pre-requisite to decorating with greenery and perhaps there is romance in the acquiring act itself. However, if you’ve found yourself mid-December with nary a moment to plan, The Sill’s holiday collection has a holiday wreath and tree that I dearly love.

I myself own two of the Norfolk Pine Trees and move them about the home regularly. Sometimes, they keep my company in the dining area and kitchen. They also look good on either side of the bed, and occasionally find themselves perched on our media console. Like all plants from The Sill, one can choose their preferred planter. I chose the Grant planter in Cream for that minimalist look, although there is a jolly Holiday Red available. There are also two limited edition colors which are equally beautiful – Forest Green and Pale Gray. The Grant planter has no saucer, unlike The Met planter that I previously wrote about here, so it takes a greener thumb to know when to water and how much. When in doubt, go with less (my running advice for everything). You can shop the rest of the holiday collection here.

My favorite The Sill Plants for the Holidays

How To Care For Norfolk Island Pine

The Norfolk Island Pine is a coniferous wood that would have been extinct if not for a few of their kind surviving the Cretaceous Extinction Event. These few are situated in Norfolk Island in the Pacific, and have evolved to prefer warmer temperatures and ocean spray. The Sill recommends watering every 1-2 weeks with plant placement near medium to bright light. I occasionally mist my two trees in order to mimic the ocean sea, which I’m sure they miss dearly.

This post was sponsored by The Sill, a company delivering joy to people’s doorsteps in the form of foliage. Think of a food delivery system, but for plants. Based in NYC and California, The Sill has a few storefronts for locals to shop at, but they mostly operate via their contact-less delivery service. All content and opinions in this post are mine own, although I do thank you for supporting the companies that support this space. Happy holidays!

Minimalist Decor with Houseplants

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

I am not one for house decor. My white walls speak for themselves. My furniture fills up what little space we have. My husband and cat are more than enough. My creative work takes up the rest of the room. So I find it absolutely ironic to be giving home decorating advice in this space. I do, however, try my best.

To be completely transparent, I find deciding on decor a stressful activity. Nothing ever seems right. I worry about the decor’s permanence. My likes and dislikes change with the weather, so I’m certain that a photo I want to frame today would look lame in a month’s time. I obsess about the lack of function. What good is a wall-hanging to me?? I fret about the white noise. I view most decor as distractions, subtracting from my life instead of adding value. I suppose that’s the minimalist in me. I worry about the cost. Not just the monetary cost, but the true cost, like “who made this?” and “which ocean will it end up in?”

However, when outfitting a home, there is one exception (isn’t there always?). If there is one form of decor that I happily allow into our tiny home, it’s going to be houseplants. Living, breathing things that bring me great happiness. Take me to a nursery and out the window goes minimalism, out the door goes my hard-earned dollars. There is no such thing as frugality in a greenhouse at Lowe’s. Still, I leave richer than when I entered, a new plant baby in my arms. Or perhaps two.

There are many reasons why I proclaim plant life as the optimal form of decoration. First, they have increasing permanence. For those arguing against this with anecdotes of black thumbs, this previous post I wrote on how to care for houseplants is a good place to start. Anyone who has ever taken in a chain of hearts or a Monsterra will attest to the fact that these tenacious plants are going to outlive even you one day.

Second, they have function. Plants liven up any space. More than referring to their rich, vibrant color (I prefer leafy greens over florals), I also speak of their ability to freshen the air which we breathe. The fact that they can detox our home environment is just as important as the way in which plants detox our minds, boost our moods, and speak to our spirit. We have a deep-rooted connection with plants, an unexplained symbiosis and harmony that is arguably stronger than that with animals.

Lastly, plants have the ability to teach us a thing or two about the art of introspection. Its growth depends on our awareness to its surroundings, our willingness to take time to listen and observe its needs, and our ability to care for something other than ourselves. I, myself, am still learning. It’s a process. In exchange, our reward: happiness. I have yet to outgrow that excited feeling … a skip of a heart-beat every time I see a brand new leaf unfurling.

Which leads me to my final point about home decor: adding value to human life.

This post was sponsored by The Sill, a company delivering joy to people’s doorsteps in the form of foliage. Think of a food delivery system, but for plants. Based in NYC and California, The Sill has a few storefronts for locals to shop at, but they mostly operate via their contact-less delivery service.

They recently collaborated with The Met, who celebrated their 150th Anniversary this summer. In the collaboration, The Sill joined a number of other companies (a line-up that includes Catbird, Allbirds, BAGGU, and more) to create products inspired by famous artwork found at the museum. They kindly sent me a Bird’s Fern nestled within one of the pots from The Met 150 collection. Inspired by ancient Precolombian vessels found in the museum, the matte, yellow pot with its tiny saucer (a MUST feature for plants needing well-draining soil and newbie plant owners alike) exudes a subdued elegance that adds character without overshadowing its plant’s beauty. Their collab also includes a smaller, brighter planter in Met Red with a smooth finish for those homes in need of a pop of color. You can shop the entire MET 150 Collection here. You can shop The Sill’s collection here.

I can’t recommend The Sill enough. If you have doubts about whether a plant can survive a shipping, rest assured knowing that The Sill packages the plants quite securely using cardboard housing and an innovative nest that prevents the soil from falling out. Of course, unwrapping the plant may result in stray dirt falling from the box, so do be mindful of where you choose to meet your new plant baby. And for those who question their abilities to parent a plant, The Sill hosts a number of online workshops walking newbie parents through different plant preferences and care. Plus, your order is shipped with a care guide for your greenery of choice. Still unsure? Opt for a faux plant so that you may still decorate a home with confidence.

Bird’s Nest Fern; Asplenium nidus

Origin: Southeast Asia, Polynesia

Plant Care:

  • Thrives in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light.
  • Water weekly; adjust frequency depending on the light levels provided. Allow potting mix to dry out at least two inches down between waterings.
  • Do not water directly into the center of your fern, but instead, water around it.
  • This plant is pet-friendly.

Sad Plant Signs:

  • Pale green leaves, dry potting mix: Thirsty plant, underwatered.
  • Yellowing lower leaves, wet potting mix: Overwatered.

A Laundry Bag Worthy of a Minimalist’s Home

While bloggers around me clamor relentlessly about 20 glamorous laundry room remodel ideas, I’ll be over here quietly boasting about one: a laundry hamper worthy of a minimalist’s home. Sometimes, one is all you need.

Let’s start from the beginning. Washable paper. That’s where this story begins. Stylish and practical, this laundry hamper is from UASHMAMA, a family business based in Tuscany. Born from a shoe-maker’s wish to create innovative, functional and sustainable house products, his Italian family came together to invent an entirely new fabric – “AGGO”. AGGO is made with materials from trees that have been cut in a controlled manner, with a little added vegetable wax. In the process of creating this unique fiber, unwanted chemicals are also removed during the washing process.

All UASHMAMA products are made from this innovative fiber via classic Italian design principles to ensure functionality in everyday living. The workforce consists of local artisans in the surrounding Tuscan area, wherein the manufacturing of their products is done. “We are proud to be Italian,” their About section reads. I am proud to own their products.

It may not seem glamorous, paper bags. I never said it would be. But, in reality, it is the nicest paper bag I have ever touched. With a sensation similar to leather, this bag is made of sturdy material meant to do the tough stuff. There is no delicacy required for the task. You can stuff its space full of clothes, yank on the handles, slam it down with a kerplop in front of your washer’s drum. It can take a beating, I can tell.

But I would never treat it so terribly. This bag is a beaut. It is the perfect solution to many of my storage problems. UASHMAMA bags come in a variety of sizes, and can be used in lieu of kids’ toy chests, pots and planters, food storage, trash bins, and of course, hampers.

We got the laundry bag specifically. It is tall and narrow, which fits tricky spaces inside any minimalist’s home. The Avana is a rich color that blends so nicely with our wooden barn door. One is enough for our family of two, even with all the cat hair floating around. For larger families, adopt a few. The bags connect with each other to create a long system of laundry hampers. There are also attachable labels for each bag, which you can write on with chalk. You know, for the organized types such as myself. And if you have no laundry unit inside the home, then I would suggest the Positano bag, for easy closure during your trip from home to the laundromat.

I’ll leave it to the other bloggers to wax poetic about entire laundry rooms. I’ll let other audiences swoon over rugs and countertops and cupboards meant for laundry. I’ve only got a small space. And my UASHMAMA bag. I need nothing more.

This post was sponsored by UASHMAMA. The bag is gifted but my opinions are true and my own. To see other laundry hamper suggestions for small spaces, check out this post.

Laundry Hampers for Small Spaces

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Leave it to me to worry incessantly about finding the right laundry hamper. In the name of transparency, I will admit to having a small break-down over my own laundry bag conundrum. The most mundane thing has caused me to cry as we walked away from Ikea with a solution that was perfectly functional, but definitely not eco-conscious or beautiful.

I have owned the same hamper since I moved out of my parent’s home at the age of 22 years old. I have never upgraded, even after moving four times since. Even after getting married. Even after getting a job and earning a decent living. Because when you are indebted to a system, you have no time to hone in on hampers.

But with the recent events turning my focus inward on where I spend most of my days (home), I can’t help but notice these little details. How the old rattan basket that I proudly bought at Walmart as a symbol of my grown-up-ness is fraying at one end. How twigs have unraveled and fallen off, leaving a little opening at the right-most edge. How it has sat patiently in the middle of the bathroom floor, in between the toilet and the tub, underneath the old towel rod that’s no longer there, waiting for its turn to be noticed. Silently, it endured the slamming of its rickety lid, the careless tossing of dirty clothes into the deep abyss, the merciless plop of its entire being in front of the washing machine. It has weathered weekly abuse, without so much as a peep.

Finally, it was noticed. And thanked for its services. Its time to retire has come.

Its replacement, however, is no easy find. With its retirement came a long list of expectations for the one that would take its place. A few of my requirements, I share below:

I no longer wished to have something wedged between the toilet and tub.
I no longer wanted the laundry to be in plain sight. Which meant it had to somehow fit in the narrow corner next to the washer hidden by a barn door. This narrow space happened to be only 9″ wide.
I didn’t want a hamper that would attract used (but still reusable) clothing until laundry day.
I didn’t want something pricey.
But it had to be eco-conscious and beautiful to look at.
Let alone functional.

I strike hard bargains. I can attest to the fact that, for me, curation is emotionally draining work. Anything that falls short of perfect is painfully inadequate.

What’s the big deal?, you say. It’s just a hamper.

However, nothing in my life is “just” anything. Belittling decisions such as these reduce their importance, which then reduces the end-product of our dwellings. In order to avoid ending up with “less-than”, I need to do the work now. Assuming these things to be trivial would be a mistake. Perhaps that’s a personality thing, but to me, everything is embedded with meaning and purpose, so no, it’s not just a hamper.

The hamper is a symbol holding all hope that I can have my dream home with nothing more than a few pennies to my name. Every item I own is imbued with relentless reserve, discipline and hard work. A reward for my penny-pinching. A sign that it’ll all be okay.

So, yes, I had a break-down at Ikea. After much research, I arrived at the store to find that the one I didn’t want but had come to terms with was sold out. I watched as a customer took away the floor model, having reached it mere seconds before I did. I felt my heart sink, my hopes of a good home dwindle. I walked around for thirty minutes debating on buying the same laundry hamper in black, instead of white. I bought it, resisting the alternative which was to purchase the hamper of my dreams for five times the price. Silent tears fell as I walked to my car.

I’m not saying we should care so much about first world problems such as these. But I hope this post draws attention to the fact that we are human. There will be moments where we will be sad about laundry hampers. Where small space living limitations make life a little harder to live. When decisions have to be made and you need to make do with the one you don’t want. I go through it, too. Like all things, it ends up being okay.

Silver linings still reside in the daydreams.

Below are some of my favorite laundry hampers for small spaces, including the Ikea one that ended up making the cut and entering our home.

  1. Canvas Laundry Bin on Wheels.
  2. A Hanging Linen Laundry Bag.
  3. A Japanese Foldable Hamper.
  4. A Washable Paper Laundry Bag.
  5. A Narrow Ikea Hamper.
  6. A Laundry Station and Hamper.

How to Fall In Love with a Kitchen

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

When we first moved in, I used to hate our kitchen. I never said it out loud because I didn’t want it to be true. I took feeling this way to be a sign of failure. Oh goodness, I chose a home with a kitchen I didn’t love. Woe is me. It was as if the kitchen negated all the other good decisions we made about buying a home. For months, I couldn’t separate myself from the idea of wanting to replace everything in that space. “One day”, I kept telling myself.

If you told me to make a list of all the things I disliked about the kitchen, I’d tell you “Easy.”

  • The kitchen faced the alleyway where the garages went, an alleyway leading up to a community trash bin followed by a weekend club called La Santa, from whence loud music always came.
  • The location of the kitchen was tucked away from direct sunlight during most of the day, with a small glimmer of hope shining through a lone window in the wee hours of the morning. If you happened to miss waking up early enough to catch it, then all you get for the day is indirect sun.
  • The counter-tops were of the v. cheap variety (with a capital V.). You know the kind, made of chipboard material covered by a plastic stickered surface in this dark gray speckled color. I disliked it’s darkness, plus the undeniable evidences where the counters have gotten wet (especially around the sink area). Pieces of soaked chipboard are, well, chipping away.
  • The cheap, peeling (also stickered) cabinet fronts with their secondary handles. The previous handles had different screw hole locations, which are accentuated by the white plaster material that the previous owners tried to hide them with.
  • The leak underneath the sink every time we ran the dishwasher, which caused flooding in our cabinets creating soaked cabinets floors. My constant worry over mold growth and wood rot. Oh the joy when we finally solved the issue, after having three handimen look at it.
  • The appliances which are black and silver in color. They looked bulky, outdated, and old. The stove and oven were of the cheaper variety, and the fridge jutted past the counter’s edge.
  • Lastly, the previous owner left a kitchen island that was obviously from Ikea, along with two Ikea stools.

I could have rattled this list out in seconds. But sometime between then and now, I have come to love this kitchen. I love it so much that when my friend offered to have her dad renovate the counter-tops that I “hated” for us this week, I started to fear losing them. Which got me to thinking, when did that transition happen? And I realized that sometime between then and now, I simply stopped focusing on all the bad things and started letting the kitchen be what it was meant to be.

After all, I operated an entire bakery in that kitchen. It was where I spent my days for an entire year. I woke up early every morning to mix bread and that’s when I learned of that precious morning light. I put away dishes from a dishwasher that finally worked and as the dough soaked up the water, I made myself a cup of coffee every day. If I set up the pour over to the right of the sink, the light hits the coffee just right to make it look ruby red. I slaved away over that oven, even in the summer’s heat, trusting it to always make my bread rise. I stood around the island, where I shaped thousands of loaves of dough. I settled into those Ikea stools waiting for the next bread turn, sipping hot coffee and writing on this blog. The kitchen and I became best friends, and now I could spew a list of all the things I love, such as:

  • The little corner specifically for our espresso machine, Fellow Stagg Kettle, coffee pour over options, mugs, and coffee grinder. Essentially, a shrine for my coffee making rituals.
  • The way the light enters through that lone window and hits the fronts of the cabinets, giving them a soft dayglow.
  • The reliability of our oven and the largeness of our fridge, both of which have helped me to host gatherings for twelve or more people throughout the year.
  • The cement floors and their coolness on the feet, plus the ease with which I can clean them.
  • The island, which we all use as a common space to meal prep together. And the fact that it’s mobile and contains plenty of storage space.
  • The stove, with enough burners to allow three of us roomies to cook in the kitchen space at the same time.
  • The corner for toasting our sourdough, and the corner for milling our grain.
  • The sink made of steel, which has saved me from shattering my porcelain wares many times over.
  • The fact that the kitchen now exudes Japanese style elements, as well as vintage vibes. Seems silly to put those two in the same sentence, but from some angles, it looks like it’s made from all bamboo wood. And from other angles, it reminds me of a 1950’s progressive Eichler.
  • The fact that the gloominess in the space actually lends a romantic mood all year long. I just want to make coffee or tea and write all day in a sweater.
  • Lastly, the open layout which makes the kitchen center-stage in our home.

With small spaces, I mean, yeah, there are shortcomings. It’s part of the territory. But if we focus on only the bad parts of our lives and homes, then we tend to miss all the good things that, when considered, could lead to love. Because now, I love the kitchen dearly. It is my favorite part of my home.

Finding joy in small spaces requires embracing what you have to work with. Actively searching for beauty in what you already have is more promising than passively pining for what you don’t have. Where will the latter lead you? Most likely, excess consumption of things that give you brief moments of happiness and eventually leave you back at square one.

Once I realized that the kitchen was “good enough”, I stopped saying to myself, “One day.” I started looking forward to saying “Today”. I started to finally live my life.

Today we decided to buy Mike’s dream espresso machine. Since he got rid of his daily work commute, he sold his motorcycle and de-cluttered a few things in order to make up 85% of the machine’s costs. We hadn’t pulled the trigger prior because we kept saying, “Well, if we are getting an espresso machine then we need nicer counter-tops and if we’re getting new counter-tops we might as well address the cabinets and if we’re sizing cabinets then why don’t we make sure we get appliances that lie flush with the new measurements?” After learning to love the kitchen for all its imperfections (wabi sabi and all that), we were able to move on. We’ll just put the espresso machine in our existing coffee corner. It fits just so with the current counter top actually, even though the white will contrast with the gray. I know we will love it either way.

Small Space Living

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Tip 14: Forgo the coffee table.

We have yet to corral a coffee table into our living room. Erm, what we designated in our minds as the living room. In reality, I’m referring to a corner of our small space that our neighbors decided would better fit as a bedroom for them. Regardless of the designation, the room where we have a couch and a projector has yet to hold a coffee table.

I just haven’t  come into agreement with one.

DSC02049

I used to own a coffee table. It was a big and bulky thing that I came across at a consignment store when I was first (and finally!) moving out of my parents home – at the ripe age of twenty-three. I rationalized to myself its bulkiness, saying that the solid wood meant that it would last. “Heavy-duty” was the word I used, when explaining the table to Mike that evening. I convinced him to accompany me the next day to “look at it”, but really I meant “pick it up and take it home”.

It had drawers (two in fact) for storing things. The upper drawer was topped with glass, so that you could look in on the display. It always felt cluttered though, so all it did was collect dust. The bottom drawer was worse. It collected junk. If things disappeared, that would be the first place I would look.

What’s more, when we moved into our small space, a 900-square-foot loft without any doors, the coffee table we owned took up what felt like half of the living room. Since it was a solid wood table, without legs or airiness beneath, it made our space seem divided and small(er). Plus the dark colored wood – an almost black-grey kind of brown – absorbed much of the natural light.

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We ended up donating it to a family in need, which was its only saving grace. But I’ve been hesitant to add a coffee table again since the trauma of criss-crossing between the guilt I felt for getting rid of it and the hatred I felt for its unbecoming qualities.

I suppose today’s post about forgoing a coffee table originates from negative experiences with mine. We have been making do with a tiny side-table, which I also have half a mind to donate. At least it’s easily movable to the corner of the room, allowing both of us to lay out a yoga mat in front of the couch.

I do prefer the flexibility of a side table. In fact, I’ve considered multiple flexible options in lieu of a coffee table, such as ottomans and foot stools in the form of tree stumps.

Below are a few contenders, in case you are also searching.

+ A camp stool – for the sole purpose of putting tired feet up onto something. I love this stool because you can fold it up and stash it against the wall or behind a console, for a less cluttered look.

+ Maple nesting tables, of the stackable variety, to reduce real estate when not in use.

+ A mushroom tree stump, for holding a drink or two. Bringing natural elements in, without buying more houseplants.

+ A step stool, which has dual-use for shorties such as myself.

+ Actual ottomans, in a rich sienna leather. Extra seating when gatherings resume post-COVID.