I'm a lover of small spaces and despite the expansive homes I've lived in, I prefer the smaller ones. I love a small cozy home but because I have children, 3 of them, we all need places to get away for a while and we need a common living area that can comfortably seat us all. What we don't need is a rambling house where one can get lost in. It's overrated. I've been there and done that. I had one. I didn't like it. It wasn't for me.
I grew up in a spacious pre-war apartment on the Upper East Side with a sprawling kitchen, a butler's pantry, 2 "Maid's Rooms" - 1 of which was an office, the other a small guest room, a large dining room, a living room with a phenomenal view of Central Park which was just across the street and 2 expansive bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. A long and narrow hallway that opened up to the living room and housed two large closets separated the two bedrooms. I loved to climb those walls as a child. My childhood bedroom was a child's dream with two raised 4 poster beds, white wicker dressers, white wicker couch matching coffee table. Each wall had been painted a different color - pastel pinks, lavenders, yellows, greens and a pale blue ceiling coordinated with the pale leaf green shag rug below. The plaid bedding perfectly coordinated with the striped fabric on the couch and wall colors. It was magical and was the creative design of my mother. Although it was the quintessential little girl's bedroom my favorite spaces in the apartment were the 2 small "Maid's Rooms." The small burgundy room that was my father's office housed a long desk my mother had built specifically for that space. The desk spanned the length of the room. Over it were shelves and shelves filled with books. On the desk were assorted pads of paper, various writing implements and a dish of paper clips.
On the far wall was the only window in the small room. From it you could look out into the neighbor's kitchen and the courtyard below. In front of the window was a super comfortable oversized chair and to the left a small black and white television set. It would be many years before I would be allowed to have a television in my bedroom, but when friends came to spend the night we were allowed to carry the TV into my room where we'd stay up late to watch the Love Boat and Fantasy Island. But mostly the small television set lived in the office and I loved nothing more than to snuggle up in that chair and watch in there.
Next to my father's office, separated by a tiny bathroom, was the other Maid's Room that we used as a spare guest room - but mostly my mother used it when my father's snoring woke her up! Every once in a while I would get to stay there and I just adored it. I felt sheltered and cocooned. I felt safe. The decor was scant, but for a bed, an old fashioned secretary and a bentwood chair. I loved this room more than I loved my own. The small space, to me was perfection.
I feel the same way about small spaces now. After my marriage ended nearly 4 years ago I left my nearly 5000 square foot home with very little in tow save for my children. I ended up in a small house that was just over 1200 square feet. It was all I needed as all my furnishings had been left behind and we had to start all over again. The house, now filled with our furniture and accumulated items does feel small sometimes, despite its coziness.
There are certainly those times I would like to have an extra room to serve either as an escape or a place to which I can banish the children! The space is already here however. I would't need to add anything on to this charming little house - everything I need is at the top of the stairs. In the images below you'll see attics that have been beautifully transformed into play areas, bedrooms, sitting and living areas, bathrooms, home offices and even movie theaters. With attics, you see, the sky's the limit!