Small Home Tours: Rebecca in 580 square feet with a toddler in Copenhagen
Today I am thrilled to have the beautiful and thoughtful small home of Rebecca from Copenhagen. Rebecca is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of Scandinavian Standard, the destination for Scandinavian lifestyle in English. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Rebecca’s instagram but I fell in love with her aesthetics, viewpoint and humour and have been following for a few years now. Copenhagen is at the top of my list to travel to as well so getting a peak inside her beautiful 1 bedroom apartment she shares with her husband and son was a real treat.
I am continually surprised and grateful that women from cities all over the world are willing to open up their homes and share the joys and struggles of living small in this space. I truly had trouble narrowing down which photos to share and wanted to ask the sources of so many things (I did spy some Menu chairs). Maybe we’ll have to do a follow up interview… Thank you again Rebecca for sharing!!
How big is your home and what is the layout?
My apartment is 54 square metres (581 square feet). It is a one bedroom apartment with a large living & dining space, a large bedroom, and a small galley kitchen and bathroom leading out from the entrance.
Who lives there?
I live there with my husband, Rasmus, and son, Noah.
Tell me about your choice to live small as a family. Was it a conscious decision or did it just evolve?
It was not a conscious decision at all! My husband and I bought our place in 2014. It was just the two of us and our incomes were smaller and less certain, so it was what we could afford at the time. And the space was more than enough for a couple. When we had Noah three years ago, we still didn't feel we were financially in a place to buy a bigger space and still live in the city, so we stayed.
How would you describe your home style? ex) modern, minimal, bohemian, vintage?
I'm not sure it has a very cohesive style that I could name, although I do feel my aesthetic is quite coherent. It's a mixture of minimalism, functionality, textures, plants, and subdued, earthy tones. I do like a good pop of yellow and a graphic pattern, though.
Is there a piece of furniture or accessory that you couldn't live without that makes living in your space easier?
Yes! We have a very deep bookshelf in the living room that holds books two stacks deep. We have a lot of books and we're not willing to get rid of them, so book space is essential for us.
About two and a half years ago I got myself a small desk/vanity in the bedroom and that really changed my life. I'd never had my own space like that as an adult, and even though it takes up some room that could be otherwise used as shared space, I am very grateful for that little area.
What is something you love about living small?
Nothing ever really gets lost! I mean, where could it possibly go? It's also easy to clean and to take stock of what you have and/or need. When people walk into the entrance for the first time I usually say, "Well, I'd give you the tour but you just had it!" You can pretty much see the whole apartment in one glance.
I also love that we are able to live in the city of our choice at a price that's doable for us.
Specifically for my apartment, I love the light and how our two living room windows make the whole apartment feel huge. I don't know if I'll ever have morning light as I do in this apartment, so I try to soak it in daily.
What is something you hate?
I hate our tiny bathroom. We have what's known as a "Copenhagen bathroom," which is essentially a water closet with a shower head above the toilet. Everything is always wet in there, and there's no space for any toiletries. I won't be sad to say goodbye to that bathroom when the times comes.
What are your best ways to beat the winter blues and keep from going crazy with kid(s) indoors?
Go outdoors! Danes have a saying, "there's no bad weather, only bad clothes." So we bundle up and go outside. But of course there are times I'd rather stay in. Baking, art projects, reading, all the regular stuff. Copenhagen has great museums and activities for kids, so as my son gets to the age where we can do those kinds of things, we're taking advantage.
Do you see yourself and your family staying in your small space for a long time?
Not really. I doubt our next space will be much bigger, but we're aiming to have another bedroom. We've been saving and that's been a goal for some time. But if we do end up having to stay here, that's fine too! We'll have to reconfigure the apartment a bit.
I think Small Space-ers need to stick together and share all their best tricks. Do you have any storage or organizational tips you want to share?
My best tip is to do regular purges. I don't know how things build up, but they do. I do a major purge about every quarter and it helps keep me sane.
Don't be afraid to design for the space you currently have or spend money on a small space. When we first bought our apartment, we really had no money, so all of our furniture was second-hand, or given by friends, or IKEA. That was just what we could afford at that time. But as we became more financially stable, we kept putting off buying things we really needed or loved because the space was so small and "we'll probably move soon and then those small things won't fit the new space." It keeps you in a state of yearning, and feeling like what you have isn't good enough. I really recommend being honest with yourself about how long you'll be staying somewhere and working from that place of honesty. It's okay to love your home NOW, even if it's not your "forever space." (ed. note: love this! and could'n’t agree more. Love the small space you are in!)
Finally: fix things immediately or give them up. I hate things piling up, so if something breaks or needs mending, I do it right away. Recently a wooden bowl that we use for fruit in the kitchen broke. I think in a larger space I would have put it on a shelf to do later and just forgotten about it. Instead, I immediately glued it back together, set it to dry, and had my bowl back in a few hours.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a positive space about living small with a family and hopefully have people let go of the shame associated with it. Thank you soooo much for being open with your beautiful home and life here. Is there anything you would want to say to someone who wants to stay in their small space with a child/baby but are nervous or feeling external pressure not to?
It is truly no one's business how much square footage you live in. Don't let anyone make you feel like you're not good enough because your home is small! How absurd.
I would also say that most of us really overestimate how much space children need in terms of living space. If you take them outside often and they have space to run around outside of the home, they really don't need much else. I love that my son can play with his trucks while I read, and we're an arm's length from each other. Much easier to transition to reading together or cuddles!
Thanks again for the beautiful home tour. All photos by Freya McOmish.