I’m watching “Small Space, Big Style” on HGTV, and I find myself struck by what they consider to be a “small space.” Right now, they’re showing a flat in London that’s about 800 square feet, with 9-foot ceilings. 800 square feet is a pretty decent size, really — especially in London! My house is the same size, and somehow it manages to not feel small; it has an eat-in kitchen with a center island, a living room and two bedrooms. In fact, my house isn’t even the smallest in my neighborhood! Yet, HGTV isn’t knocking down our doors searching for “small spaces.” (Another apartment featured on this episode is 850 square feet–bigger than my house–in New York… now THAT is a nice size apartment!)
My friend Jon’s studio loft in DC was featured in one of the first episodes of this show. Jon’s studio is larger than my house (although because it is one large space, it doesn’t seem like it is).
I suppose it helps that I have a garage and a piece of property in addition to the main house.
It seems that the real focus of this show — and most of the others on HGTV — are the bank accounts of the people featured. The flat they featured in London belonged to a couple of architects or designers who spent lavishly on custom cabinetry and construction. I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of money. My house was renovated before I bought it by enclosing a back porch and installing central climate control; otherwise it is the same as it was in 1937 when it was built. It may not fit HGTV’s definition of good design, but it has a hell of a lot more character and charm than the ultra-modern, sterile “small spaces” they like to feature.
The longer I live here in my little house, the bigger it seems. I don’t think I could ever live in one of those developer-designed mansions with cathedral ceilings and two-story foyers.