Tag Archives: Microliving

One Year of Microliving

It has just been the first anniversary of downsizing my personal space to a 264 sqft microcondo in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood.

Condo floor plan (mine is slightly different)

I can happily report that it has been a very successful year and the condo has proven to be completely livable and comfortable.

Having a limited amount of storage space (and a dislike of visible clutter) has encouraged me to keep purchases to a minimum, and has required some creative solutions.

Why my t-shirts smell slightly of toast.

My choices in furniture–a day-bed as bed and sofa, a glass topped round dining (and work) table with two chairs and a bench-style coffee table–have all worked great.  The coffee table and a stool mean I can seat four for  dinner (I like to entertain regardless of the small space).

Dinner party

The shared roof garden features glass enclosed ramadas which work remarkably well in catching the sun and blocking the wind, and allow for bigger parties.

Rooftop party

The kitchen is small but has the normal amenities and I cook frequently like I would in a larger place.  The fridge/freezer is a little small, but since I do not own a car I tend to do smaller, more frequent shops anyway.  I’ve also learned which types of produce do not need to be refrigerated, such as onions and tomatoes.

The building is mostly concrete and there so far has been surprisingly little neighbor noise considering there are 98 units.  The solidness has also been slightly tested by two earthquakes that have rattled the blinds a bit!

Living in close proximity to all my stuff means that being consistently tidy is necessary, from making my bed as soon as I get up (a habit that gained attention in 2014 thanks to this awesome commencement speech by a Navy SEAL admiral), to washing dishes right after every meal, to putting shoes and jackets away as soon as I come in.  Cleaning, of course, is a delightfully short process!

Finally, the location feels so close to most of the places I go to.  It’s a 15 min walk to work, 5 mins to the waterfront at AT&T Park, and Yerba Buena Gardens are across the street.

Theater in Yerba Buena Gardens

Microliving here I come

I am excited to share that I have just had my offer accepted to buy a “micro-condo” in San Francisco’s SOMA district.  At only 264 sq ft, this might seem mind-boggling small (my last house in Tucson was 1500 sq ft) and is even smaller than the 390 sq ft studio I’ve been renting for the last 12 months, but it has been designed from the ground up for  “microliving.”

It’s in the CubixSF building, which opened in 2008, with 98 units, all 300 sq ft or less.  Each is designed with small but high quality appliances and efficient floor plans, augmented by a shared 9th floor roof garden with glass cabanas, a BBQ grill and 360º views.


It does have much less built-in closet/drawer space than my current studio, which might be an initial challenge, but it comes with a 24 sq ft storage space in the building basement, which will take care of suitcases, camping gear, skis, etc. and will also be a handy place to store my bikes.  (Some might argue that that should be included in the total square footage of the “space.”)


I try to apply William Morris‘s golden rule before I buy (or keep) something: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  This has helped me keep my pile of stuff quite small after moving out of the “big” Tucson house, but I will need to choose some furniture for the new space, such as a sleeper-sofa and a dining table.  Hopefully I will be able to make a choice of sofa in much less than the 10 years it took Steve Jobs.

I am very excited by this change.  The small footprint is a delightful challenge, not a burden, and this corner unit is full of light and air.   I take inspiration from mindful small living practitioners like Life Edited‘s Graham Hill, who said in his 2011 TED Talk  “Let’s make room for the good stuff!”

Despite the size, I want to equip it so that I can comfortably accommodate one overnight guest and four for dinner, since hosting visitors and small dinners is a great pleasure for me.  I want to create an inspiring workplace, and a cozy reading place.  Those are “good stuff.”