We have now lived in our darling Amsterdam flat for a whole year, so I guess it’s high time to invite you in for a tour.
In order to fully appreciate our house, it’s good to know some stats about it. For instance, it’s a grand total of 72 square metres (775 square feet). I think of it as both a small flat and a really big tiny house. When it comes to functionality, I’d say it definitely feels more like the latter. Over the years, we have spent a lot of time in IKEA showrooms and cleverly designed little European apartments, marvelling over inventive storage solutions and multi-purpose furniture. Our organisational skills have been tested to their limits in this house, and I think we’ve come through victorious.
One thing they don’t tell you about tiny houses is that it takes some time to physically adjust to them. I spent a good portion of the first few months in our new house bumping my knees and elbows and head on things. Maybe I’m just clumsy; nobody else in the family seemed bothered. But I think I’m pretty used to it all now, and no longer nursing bruises. I was initially somewhat sceptical about living in such a small house, but I am pretty sold on it now. I am not a hard-core minimalist (in fact, I don’t know if someone with a 1000+ book personal library can reasonably be called a minimalist at all), but I have become much less prone to acquire new stuff now that I have to picture in my head where it would even fit in our house.
Anyway, without further ado, please do come in and have a cup of tea inside this little place we’ve come to call home. Here we are, walking up to our front door. I’ve already told you a bit about our neighborhood. We live on the ground floor, so here’s your first view of the front of the house.
You’ll have to forgive me for beginning our tour in what is probably the least interesting room in the house: the hallway. However, this is the room that keeps the rest of our house clean and tidy, so I consider it a very important room, and I put a lot of thought into exactly how to arrange it.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that it’s pretty long and narrow. Off to the right there is our shoe bench, a sturdy little IKEA affair that I think cost ten euros. I have a strict rule that each person is allowed to keep exactly two pairs of shoes out here. Not counting Axa’s horseback riding boots, which are on the right with her crop stuck in them. You can also see our doormat, which resides in this weird little recess, which is actually fantastic, because it doesn’t move around at all, ever. Under the doormat is a trap door with a weird little space where we could technically store stuff, but not stuff we cared a lot about, since it’s basically dirt under there, covered in a foot or two of packing peanuts. Weird, I know. I don’t understand it.
In theory you can sit on the shoe bench to put on or take off shoes, but often it’s unavailable for that function, because it’s serving as a temporary repository for groceries, backpacks, etc.
To the left are two long rows of coat hooks (no coat closet–in fact this house has a dizzying paucity of closets). Right now we’re rather between seasons, so we’ve got the winter coats as well as lighter rain jackets. We also hang our bags and backpacks here. Lyra has her own short row of hooks where she keeps her leash, doggie coat, backpack with blankie to sit on when we take her out with us on the train or to cafes (yes, she’s a bit spoiled), and baby sling (yes, on occasion I carry my dog in a baby sling). Above that is a shelf that we put up belatedly after we realized we had nowhere to leave all our gloves, scarves, and other winter paraphernalia.
Finally, farther down the hallway on the right is a cute little blackboard (also IKEA; in fact, this entire landing strip is IKEA).
This snazzy little number is the reason I no longer lose my keys, and is also a nice place for important mail, bills to be paid, takeout menus, sunglasses, change, tram cards, and the kids’ job chart. We actually never write on it with chalk because Tony hates chalk dust, but I like the look anyway.
And finally, to the left (opposite the chalkboard) is our tiny little toilet, which we haven’t gotten round to decorating yet.
Like most of the rooms in our house, we use the hallway quite differently from the previous occupants. Here’s what it looked like when we moved in:
This is actually the opposite view to the one I gave you at the beginning (I’ll do this better in the next post). Same little funky unisex toilet (I find it a bit bizarre that someone found it necessary to make that explicit; aren’t most toilets in people’s houses unisex?). The biggest change you’ll notice (besides the fact that we’ve filled the place up with all the stuff I don’t want dumped in random corners in the rest of the house) is that we took out that door in the middle that inexplicably divided the hallway into two useless little rooms.
And there you have it: the gateway to our little kingdom. Stay tuned for more!