Tiny Spaces? Try living on a boat

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There's an urban trend in the US towards tiny spaces...mini-apartments...micro living units with catchy names like “Smart Space”. They're really laid out like boats to tell you the truth. Long and narrow....10 x 29, they offer about 200-300 sq ft of living space. I think these people have never been inside a boat since they're thinking of it as a major innovation, but it sounds as if a naval architect might have had a hand in designing their apartment layouts. Some don't seem much larger than the playhouses we had as kids.


smart space model


These folks make it sound as if they've re-invented the wheel. They should take a lesson from long distance cruisers. We don't call it “tiny space” though; we call it space efficiency. Cruisers use every square inch of available space: under berths, under settees, under ladder steps, under the sole. We also invent useable space where there is none … hammocks, hanging baskets.


microwave storage


The “minis” have no moveable furniture; everything is built in and serves a purpose. Nothing superfluous. Sound familiar? That said, aboard Nine of Cups, the space efficiency is handled with graceful lines and style and lots of teak. Not so in these micro housing units which seem to be basic, even spartan, but serve the purpose especially for young singles.


berth wine cellar


We've made use of under berth space for a wine cellar and anchors and we use behind door space for hanging flat things from fry pans to machetes to shroud cutters. We're actually a bit put off by wide open space now when we're on land. We don't know what to do with it all. Where else can you sit at the salon table and reach over to place the dinner dishes in the sink without getting up?


cups layout


Our boat at ~250 sq ft of living space is large compared to the boats of many other cruisers we know. Somehow we manage to make everything fit and nothing is brought aboard without thought to the space it will occupy. Sometimes something's gotta go before something new moves in.

Incidentally, these 200-300 sq ft micro apartments run ~ $1,700/month in downtown San Francisco and Boston... and they don't even float. Give me a boat anytime.

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