Minimalist Apartment Living

by Kent Griswold on September 14th, 2010. 26 Comments
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Tammy Strobel is off on vacation this week and is taking a digital break as too. Tammy writes about minimalism and she also lives the life that she promotes. Tammy recently took these pictures of their small apartment in Portland to share with her readers and before she left on vacation gave me permission to share them with you. Tammy and Logans apartment is less than 400 square feet.

When Tammy and Logan moved from Sacramento to Portland they downsized to where they were able to load all their belongings into the back of a standard size pickup. That is quite an accomplishment. The neat thing is that they have stuck with a minimalist foot print. Just check out Tammy’s tiny library and the clothes closet.

If you are interested in minimalism which most of us are who follow this blog be sure and read Tammy’s blog Rowdy Kittens and check out her books Smalltopia and Simply Car-free. Thank you Tammy and Logan for sharing your life with us.

Photo Credits: Tammy Strobel

Tammy and Logan plan to eventually build a tiny house on wheels and are planning to have Dee Williams and Katy Anderson from Portland Alternative Dwellings assist them in the construction. I am looking forward to seeing that project started.

Login in the apartment kitchen

Rowdy Kitten relaxing

The Great Room

Tammy's Tiny Library

Logan working in the home office

The Closet

The Bathroom on Laundry day

The Dining Room

The Bedroom

September 14th, 2010and filed in Apartment Living
Tags: Apartment Living, Portland, Tammy Strobel
26 Comments

26 Responses to “Minimalist Apartment Living”

  1. Jonah says:

    Simple, small living doesn’t have to be depressing. Those pictures are just depressing.

    If that look is what this tiny house movement is about, then count me out.

    • Vicky says:

      This reminds me of how I lived when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. This is not a place that I’d feel comfortable in. Minimalism doesn’t mean discomfort ie; sitting on buckets Or having ugly stuff like that shower curtain and that bed.
      But hey, to each his/her own.

    • Breane says:

      I actually ADORE the look of this apartment, and would love to emulate it. To me, it’s perfection. I don’t like fancy things. I enjoy having just enough of what I need, and for items to be utilitarian, not pretty or flashy. The philosophy behind not concerning ourselves with what “looks good” is way more interesting than any cute shower curtain (that you’ll get tired of eventually anyway, so who cares?).

      Everyone is different I suppose.

    • Paul Jenkins says:

      I don’t think it’s ‘depressing’. Obviously, there’s less of it, that’s the idea behind minimalism. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, if one person thinks the furnishings are ugly, another will think they’re attractive.

    • Jen B says:

      I’ve seen many a minimalist place. This is just plain stark and depressing.

  2. Jana says:

    Looks charming. Any idea why the bed has chains?

  3. Ami says:

    I love this! Thank you, although, I find it fascinating that a minimalist has 2 copies of the same book!?

  4. Neil says:

    Cute cats! It’s good to see people finding a better alternative to the McMansions. I’ve been living in 176 sq. feet (an RV trailer) for 3+ years now, and loving it. What matters is how well the space is used, not how much of it there is.

  5. Christina says:

    I love the little touches of humor in these photos. Yes, very cute cats!

  6. Bonnie says:

    This apartment does not look attractive, or, more importantly, comfortable. Of course, if it works for them and the cats, that’s what counts.

  7. alice says:

    Looks just like what the article says, they downsized and kept it that way. Expanding the contents of a pickup into a ‘huge’ apartment would leave a lot of decor gaps. A quick, easy way to decorate and not take up a lot of space is to have attractive cloth hangings that can double as bedding, curtains, etc. Covers can be sewn for the bucket seats that would contain the blanket tops neatly and cover the sides. Functionally a bucket with blankets on top isn’t much different than a cushioned stool as long as the top is stable. Most of the objections so far are aesthetic and that’s a very personal thing.

  8. Marc says:

    The overall quality of the apartment is not so much that of an impoverished college student’s room as that of a transitory residence rather than a home. It has no warmth or invitation. It lacks either serenity, proportion, harmony and/or style that define the other minimalist dwellings. This couple could pick up their laptops and throw a few clothes in a carry-on bag and be entirely quit of the place.

    I have lived in vans at construction sites that have had more comfort and camaraderie, in less space. Their apartment has too much the look of an Orwellian dystopia lacking only the removal of their notebooks and addition of an all-seeing television eye.

    They are strong proponents for a minimalistic life in an over fed, over in debt and over consuming America. Couldn’t these refugees from mass consumerism look at an Ikea catalog or some of the furnished “pet architecture” homes of Japan for some inspiration so as to serve as better guides for the property bloated?

    It’s interesting how they have made 400 square feet of apartment seem like too much room.

  9. Margot says:

    Its funny how different peoples perspective on things are. I find the clean spaces calming and relaxing. I don’t find the “decor” depressing….the pictures are obviously personal and important to them, i.e. the wedding photo above the Bedroom/Great room furniture. I appreciate the multi-purpose use of the items. Fewer items used well. Yes there are cuter ways of dressing up buckets to use as extra seating, perhaps the cats prefer them exposed;-). I don’t know when extraneous stuff became the requirement for good decorating. I noticed the use of color in the paint on the walls, the various flooring materials etc. Most of that gets lost in conventional homes. Just my two cents.

    • Bel says:

      Hear, hear! Thanks Margot! I felt the exact same as you when looking at the pictures. In fact, I was drawn to look at them a while before returning to my own stuff filled (but often called beautifully decorated) home. It’s starting to bug me and I am drawn to this very minimalist way of life more and more. I might not be able to altar my way of life to this degree but it certainly doesn’t seem depressing at all to me.

      • Susie says:

        The negative stuff is coming from people who are very superfical and shallow. They will always be unhappy people.

        • alice h says:

          That’s an “over simplified” explanation. Some people are happiest with a bare minimum of what’s necessary to function, some happiest surrounded by chachkas and densely decorated spaces, many somewhere in between. There is no intrinsic superiority to any mode as long as it suits you and yours and assuming health, safety and ecosystem concerns are dealt with. You can have a lot of stuff around without it meaning you’re a slave to it, just as a bare minimum of personally owned possessions doesn’t necessarily mean your full ecological footprint is represented. Let’s not let aesthetic preferences go the way of politics and religion!

  10. javaking says:

    I do embrace a minimal living existance but I do like to have my creature comforts too. When I moved to Chicago from downstate Illinois all of my possesions fit in the back of a Ford Festiva and my sister’s Ford Van. It was all that a 2 room studio could hold. It was stark but it really all I needed because I wasn’t home much. To me minimalism is not being burdened with alot of things that I don’t need but using the things I have . That antique Louis the VI chest my be stunning but if I am not home to enjoy it then why have it? I commend you for lifestyle of less is more, but I do have to say that a little color and a poster or 2 would liven up the place.A home should reflect a persons lifestyle a though and since you seem to live a very active life why decorate a place that your only going to see a couple of hours a day anyway?

  11. Rianh says:

    I liked the texture of the paint on the brown wall and the colour range in the timber flooring. I love the rich tones of the blankets that were used in different ways in the photos. I think the lack of ‘decorator’ items on the walls feels peaceful, and I love that you can see where the floor joins the wall. Uncluttered space, uncluttered mind.

  12. Daisy says:

    As someone who has lived the minimalistic lifestyle for over 3 years with cats, I absolutely love this apartment. It looks spacious, good use of color, multifunctional, and there is room to dance around the room, or the cats to play. I can fit all of my stuff in the back of a van, as I use the convert a chair for a bed, dinner fold up tables and a camp table with coverings for furniture. Its lovely not being owned by stuff, having a few small accent pieces, and VERY easy to move furniture and clean.

  13. Glen says:

    I’m glad the simple, minimalist lifestyle
    is taking hold.

    - Huge McMansions and “Luxury” apartments
    do NOT make a rich life. They are Sterile
    and lack architectural charm.

    I have fond memories of the simpler smaller
    houses of the 1950′s.

    I live in a simple (nice – but not extravagent)
    uncluttered apartment with a nice stone wall
    and lots of grass and trees for shading.

    I hope the simple minimalist lifestyle
    spreads across America.

  14. Ellie says:

    I like this very much! Such a relief not to have to look at stuff everywhere. Plus, the cats are beautiful.

  15. Jodi says:

    This is a temporary dwelling for them…and if their plan is to build a tiny house, they will need to keep it to a minimum…and probably wish to wait to buy new things once they know what they will need and want for the new place. In the meantime they are not bogged down with stuff that they will not be able to fit into their “house.”

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