CFAH

Image Source: SFGate

“[Ann Maurice] hoped to convert the tiny unit, in her long-term partner Timothy Budziak’s three-unit building, into a pied-á-terre for herself and Budziak, 64, with plans to turn it into a rental later. But serious changes needed to be made – at 600 square feet, it seemed barely large enough for one, let alone two, occupants.” (Small spaces? Think big)

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by sleepiguy

    I liked this article, but 600 square ft is really, really small. I’d love to see this place in real life.

  2. Posted by Rillion

    I lived with two other people in a 625 sq ft unit for 4-years. You get used to it, the main thing is with a place that small you do not have much room for storage in the unit. So you really learn what part of your stuff you can live without.

  3. Posted by Poor in PacHeights

    600 SF is big for a studio…I’ve seen one bedrooms in this size range…. I love the kitchen!

  4. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Wife & I & baby & dog live happily in a 750 sq. ft. house. The key was to sell or store 50% of her stuff and 90% of my stuff. We have an extensively landscaped backyard and deck which gives us a lot more breathing room on nice days.

  5. Posted by Debtpocalypse

    I like what they’ve done to this place – would have been interesting to see before/after photos. It’s inspired.
    But I wonder what sort of money was spent, especially for a 600 sqft place “with plans to turn it into a rental later”?

  6. Posted by anon

    Hmmm. A link to an article in the Chronicle. Not a great Monday morning start. Socketsite running out of ideas/money/sponsors?
    [Editor’s Note: Actually, we think it’s a great way to ease into a Monday. And no, no, and no but thanks for asking and of course for plugging in.]

  7. Posted by CameronRex

    This renovation was beautifully done. Very livable. Thanks for posting.

  8. Posted by walsh92663

    I remember her show on BBC and someone out there please correct me, but wasn’t this project done a while ago? I get the feeling I’ve seen this exact studio remake on a TV show… years ago and quite possibly with Ms. Maurice as the host as well. *curious*.

  9. Posted by salarywoman

    Lovely project.
    Living in tiny spaces is a bit like living on a boat.
    Doing it well, like this, requires a lot of custom work and adaptation. Every square inch is a treasure and must be carefully designed.
    Cost per square foot is very, very high. But total cost is manageable.
    Easy access to pleasant outdoor space is essential. Ever been on a boat in bad weather – for days and days?
    Living in it requires great discipline.
    It’s not for everyone, but for some it is absolute heaven.

  10. Posted by ex SF-er

    They did a very good job with this place, especially good was lowering that floor 2 feet.
    I might have changed that Island so that it could be more mobile as opposed to fixed. this way it could be used as an island during prep/cooking and also as a dining room table to fit 6 instead of just 4. I also would have personally put in a full sized fridge, but that’s because I like to cook. (I can’t see the fridge so can’t comment on the work triangle, but assume it’s a good triangle with the sink somewhere behind or in the island?) otherwise it looks great.
    a pity about needing to keep this a studio to satisfuy code issues. It would have been nice to have a separate sleeping space since 2 people live there.
    although 600 sq ft is small, I don’t think of it as super small, just small.

  11. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    600 square feet is fine. It is a life style that accumulates lot of stuff that kills you. Even 1200 square feet can feel cramped for those people.
    Lower the floor by 2 feet? Is sounds like a very expensive project to crave a Pied-à-terre though.

  12. Posted by Willow

    Not much to dislike here. 600 SF is small but manageable for a couple. I really like the step up to the bedroom from the living area. A subtle way to delineate the two spaces. Overall very well executed.

  13. Posted by redseca2

    The key to 600 SF is off site storage or sacrificing 80 to 100 SF of that total for carefully designed storage so that the rest doesn’t look cluttered.
    Even a very large but minimalist home needs a place to put the out of season stuff you are not using.
    When touring something like the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, the epitome of minimalist, although you do not see it on a tour, the most important component for the success of the design are the seperate store houses hidden in the trees.

  14. Posted by Kurt Brown

    It’s beautiful, creative, and innovative. And I agree with other posters: 600 sf is a good size for a studio.
    The big question is: what was the bill? My guess is it’s in or near the “money is no object” kinda bucket. I mean, lowering the floor 2 feet? That’s significant. Odds are high that had to include rerouting all plumbing and electrical, and maybe even HVAC, to say nothing of the structural work, framing, etc. We’re talking essentially a total gut/rebuild with high quality materials.
    So, great eye candy, but not much that can be taken and used by a person with a typical budget for a studio remodel, in “these trying times” or not.

    “Studio remodel”. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? I think it’s because that phrase is rarely spoken by anyone.

  15. Posted by jh

    fantastic. i’ve lived alone in 800 to 1500 sq ft apartments over the past 8 yrs, and am currently shopping for a condo in the 800+ sq ft range for me and my girlfriend. i’ve recently purged lots of stuff and am determined to keep my belongings to a minimum (tough to do with so many hobbies requiring gear). we recently saw a 630 sq ft condo that we absolutely loved, and we are currently considering it. 800 sq ft for the two of us seem do-able, but 630 seems a stretch.

  16. Posted by ester

    oh, no. it is lovely done, but way way too small for a couple.
    1200 would be the minimum for two people.
    Maybe I live in south bay for too long.

  17. Posted by Rillion

    No ester, 1200 would be the minimum for you and another person. It might be the minimum for some people but some of us actually like small places. Less to clean, less to heat, etc. We do not all need the same amount of space.

  18. Posted by sleepiguy

    Space is very relative. I lived in Tokyo for years in probably a 200 square foot apartment, and thought myself lucky. My home in SF is many, many times that size and I still find I use most of the space. I just think the photos from the article may be a little misleading. Also, huge props to redseca for bringing the Katsura detached palace into this (or any) conversation.

  19. Posted by Lori

    I lived in a 617 [square foot] one bedroom in Nob Hill for 4 years when I was single, and it was plenty of space.
    But back to the story — this remodel is not new. I saw it on one of the HGTV shows quite a while ago. I’m wondering why the Chronicle chose to run this story.

  20. Posted by kthnxybe

    We live in <900 sq ft and five people, and it’s just now (that the youngest child is a teen) that it’s getting to feel too small. So I think 635 is doable for two.
    As noted above, it’s really about storage. A storage space and a willingness to do regular purges of old clothes and gadgets is a must-have for small spaces. Personally, I’d like to have my own workspace so for me I think about 800 sq ft would be just right for two people.
    Wai and Rillion have it right – “big enough for two” can only be determined by the two people involved.

  21. Posted by Tim Arnold

    Ann Maurice was “House Doctor” on Channel Five TV in Britain. Not the BBC. That’s like confusing Fox with PBS. Her shows are still broadcast as repeats. She has done much to influence interior design in general and home staging in particular in the UK. Thanks, Ann. You are a true heroine.

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