Kim Lewis, the lead designer behind ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” recently designed tiny homes for FYI’s “Tiny House Nation.” Lewis, who lives in a 700-square-foot, 1930s bungalow in Austin, joined a Home Front online chat to discuss the tiny house movement. Lewis does not techincally live in a tiny house, 500-square-feet is a typical tiny home, but she is well-versed on designing for small spaces. Here’s an edited excerpt of her advice:
Must-have appliances: Appliances are one of the main items we have to make some compromises on in tiny spaces. I suggest under-counter refrigerator and freezer drawers, a single under-counter oven. The dishwasher is usually the first appliance to get cut from a tiny kitchen.
Maximize storage: Storage can come in all shapes and sizes. You can get creative with furniture, using things like vintage suitcases stacked as your side tables — each suitcase is a storage space. Storage ottomans work well as a linen closet. For food storage, I suggest a butcher cart in the kitchen, with bins below. I have a tiny kitchen and this is what I do. It also acts as a great island when you’re prepping food. For outdoor gear, I have suspended a wood pallet from the ceiling with eye hooks.
Tiny house qualifications: A home under 500 square feet qualifies as a tiny house. If you’re going mobile, the dimensions of the home are dictated by the trailer size, which is generally anywhere from 8
Compromises: The biggest compromises start with the two spaces we use the most: the kitchen and the bathroom. It’s all about small but efficient use of space.
Decorating small: The best pieces to invest in are:
1) Small appliances.
2) Windows: They allow natural light, so the space feels larger. Transoms make the walls feel taller.
3) Furniture: Space saving furniture is a bit more difficult to find right now. Many homeowners end up custom building pieces.
4) The trailer: The trailer is one of the biggest investments in the construction.