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Young (Small) House Love

June 3, 2011

Before getting to the big move details, I’m excited to let you know that Victoria and I will be speaking at this summer’s Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia.

We each submitted very similar topic proposals and were thrilled when Meghann asked us to team up for a join presentation:

Maintaining Healthy Habits While Traveling – Erin Ruberry, Victoria Anderson – We all know that routine is a key to maintaining healthy habits — but how do you do this when travel is part of the equation? We’ve teamed up to pass on some tips: Erin will give advice for staying in shape, on track and under budget while exploring the globe, while Victoria will go over staying healthy when your job has you on the road. We’ll show you that no matter where your temporary home is, you can make healthy living part of the journey.

Tickets go on sale Monday and you can see the full Healthy Living Summit 2011 agenda here — hope to see you all in the City of Brotherly Love this August!


Moving on — get it, moving — to even more exciting and more sweaty news, I’m moving this weekend. This move has been a long time in the making and I can’t wait to finally be settled down after one year in a 10′ x 15′ room in Korea, one year of nomad existence that mainly included top bunks in 10-person dorms and a year in a lovely (but bedbug-infested) shared Bethesda apartment.

Plus, how charming is this?

I, however, am living in the rowhouse’s English basement, which is only accessible via the rear of the house in the alley. A little like entering the servant’s quarters, I guess.

I called this apartment ‘small’ at 475-500 square feet until my New Yorker friends told stories about their 500-square-foot condos and 300- (yes, 300) square-foot fifth-floor walk-ups — for two people! Suddenly, this is looking a lot more spacious…

For someone who loves to eat and cook (in that order), this kitchen is teeny-tiny, truly only big enough for one person. But it’s clean, functional and has everything I need (minus a dishwasher, but those are overrated).

The previous tenant used this small space as an office/storage area but as it’s right off the kitchen, I’m planning to set up my kitchen table to make better use of the space.

I’m not sure whether it’s a benefit or a drawback that the apartment comes with built-in couches. It would be nice to have my own but this makes moving so much easier.

Since the colors are all a little off in these photos — I haven’t bought lamps yet so all of the light is from overheads + windows — I need to clarify that the walls are less purple, more blue than the photos suggest and the couch upholstery is cheery shades of blue and yellow.

My biggest concern about renting a studio was having my bed in the middle of the room. This studio has a handy bed nook — much better!

And finally, the bathroom. Having a washer and dryer in-unit pretty much sold me on the place. That is so rare and such a nice luxury.

So… this is the before. The after will likely come in pieces but I’m looking forward to making this apartment my own for the next year or two. Ready or not, here I come.

What’s the smallest home you’ve lived in? My teeny studio in Korea was pretty cramped at 10′ x 15′ but once I was unpacked, it actually never felt too tiny. Of course, I also had no furniture and everything I owned fit into two suitcases…

28 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2011 9:07 am

    Our HLS session will be the best…

    The walls in your apartment are the color of my bedroom – I LOVE that color.

    I kind of like living in small places. You never, ever misplace anything. My current place is 850 square feet, one bedroom, with an awesome balcony overlooking Rock Creek Park. Perfect for me. I wouldn’t want a big house.

    • June 3, 2011 12:17 pm

      The previous tenant chose the colors because they were the same as a room in the Winter Palace, apparently.

  2. June 3, 2011 9:54 am

    I LOVE your apartment!! I really love small spaces. I have a 500 square foot condo and it was SO easy to furnish (although not as easy as yours 🙂 ) plus I always feel safe in it. If someone was in there, I would know immediately! No hiding in a place that small. Plus its cozy! And even though I have an equally as tiny kitchen, I still cook all the time and make the most of it.

    That place looks absolutely adorable. Enjoy!

    • June 3, 2011 12:17 pm

      Good point — can’t get too messy/disorganized when everything is out in the open!

  3. June 3, 2011 10:30 am

    Looks cute! Ikea always has good ideas for decorating in small spaces.

  4. June 3, 2011 11:07 am

    Congrats on getting selected to speak at the Healthy Living Summit! Now I just need to hope I can score a ticket!

    Also, your new place does look really cute. I can’t wait to see how you spruce it up and make it your own. And yes, having furniture already there definitely makes moving a million times easier.

    • June 3, 2011 12:18 pm

      Thanks Jess. I say we Megabus it up to Philly together — much cheaper than driving + parking.

  5. June 3, 2011 11:17 am

    I love it Erin! Looks like such a great space. I have so many posts to catch up on here… 🙂

    • June 3, 2011 12:18 pm

      Thanks Marie! I’m excited to see how you guys vamp up your house, too.

  6. June 3, 2011 1:01 pm

    Congrats on speaking at Healthy Living Summit! That’s so exciting!

    Your new place is so cute! I don’t know if i could live in a studio! So cute, but so small!

  7. June 3, 2011 5:48 pm

    Erin, I LOVE your adorable apartment! Awesome find, girl! Congrats! I actually adore the built-in living room furniture, and that big empty wall is perfect for a small flat screen TV. And your bathroom is huge! The colors are so cheerful, and my favs… you totally forget you’re in a basement! If I were you, I’d stay for as long as I possibly could, until my job or a relationship tore me away. 🙂

    Good luck with the move!

    • June 3, 2011 5:51 pm

      You just made me literally LOL — the “huge” bathroom must be an optical illusion! 😉

      Thanks for your sweet comments. I’m looking forward to decorating and showing you all AFTER photos.

  8. June 3, 2011 9:49 pm

    Erin! It is super cute. I LOVE it. Ah, good for you. I am excited to take this trip with you down decorating road. I crave to have my own space. Can’t wait.
    Smallest place? I guess that would be when I lived in residence 2nd year on campus. It is a really nice place just a bit small but I still loved the experience and had a great 3rd and 4th yr of university.

  9. June 4, 2011 12:18 pm

    I think your new place is so cute! Can’t wait to see the touches that make it “your own”!

  10. June 4, 2011 12:23 pm

    I lived in a hostel in Paris for three weeks. One room, six people.

    You’re new place looks totally fab 😀 even though the kitchen is small, I like how it is so brightly lit!

  11. June 4, 2011 11:04 pm

    Oh wow, your house is so similar to mine!! Gotta love the compact coziness and the hard-wood floors. I think your kitchen is lovely…it’s certainly bigger than mine. And I LOVE that little window sill from the kitchen!!

  12. June 5, 2011 8:44 am

    Congrats on the speaking gig and the new apartment! Looking forward to seeing how you decorate!

  13. June 5, 2011 1:39 pm

    I love it! Can’t wait to see how you decorate it 🙂

  14. June 5, 2011 8:42 pm

    Your new apartment looks awesome!!! The smallest place I lived was probably my Australia dorm room, but like you said- everything I had fit in two suitcases so no problem 🙂 I also lived in an even smaller room (but we had a whole mini house with other people) my senior year of college. Eric had to remove our closet door so we could both have a dresser, only my roommate had a desk. Eric and my apartment was small, but not bad for an apartment. Now that I have a house I’m not sure if I could live small again, but when you aren’t used to all the space it’s no problem!

  15. June 6, 2011 12:01 pm

    My smallest living quarters were in London. As you may remember, the room was 7×7 (feet) with no closet! Good times. 🙂

  16. June 6, 2011 2:14 pm

    Congrats on speaking at HLS! I’m debating trying to grab a ticket, but not sure if I should. I don’t want to take away a spot from anyone.

    Love your new studio- mine has a designated area for the bed too.

    Hope the move went well, my turn this coming weekend! 😀

    • June 7, 2011 9:27 am

      Did you end up getting a ticket? Regardless, let’s get together soon!

  17. Christina permalink
    June 6, 2011 6:07 pm

    Erin, it looks fantastic!! I was just talking to Kristen about how I lovelovelove seeing new apartments/living spaces, so I might just have to be that annoying person who invites herself over to check it out… 🙂

    • June 7, 2011 9:26 am

      You are, of course, more than welcome to come over anytime. It’s a big, disorganized mess right now but… it’ll get there… 🙂


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