Real Estate in Metro Vancouver, where our company based, is rapidly climbing. For example, a house in Edmonds, Burnaby now goes for $1.5M! With that in mind, many of us are looking for sustainable living options. Katherine Wiebe, an Inside Sales Rep at Left Coast, has found her solution in a 150 sq ft studio suite in the West side of Vancouver.
PS. Watch Katherine’s YouTube video below to get the full tour!
1. How long have you been living in a Micro Suite?
This month marks two years since I moved into my micro-suite. I have to admit, it does feel a little cramped at times, but ultimately I love where I live and it forces me to get out of the house more!
2. How did you decide to move into a 150 sq ft apartment?
A few years ago, I backpacked across Europe. I had to be prepared for the cold days in Denmark working on the farm and the sunny beach days in Southern Europe. After three months of living out of one backpack I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to get home and purge my closet!”
Travelling was exactly what my mind and soul needed. I immediately began searching for something that was in my desired neighbourhood—that was also affordable! I shared a bedroom with my two sisters until my late teens, and after clearing some clothes when I returned home, 150 square feet really didn’t seem all that small.
3. What are some lifestyle sacrifices you had to make?
Technically speaking, one could say that I have actually up-sized! I have nothing to compare it to except my childhood home. Honestly, I feel like the biggest sacrifices are in the kitchen. A regular sized oven and refrigerator with freezer would be a dream—I currently use a toaster oven and a mini-fridge—along with some extra counter space for sure! However, cooking meals in a small kitchen helped me create Craving Simple: meals that use the few ingredients regularly stocked in my pantry and fridge. Also, eating dinner on my couch/bed isn’t as glamorous as one may think. As simple as it sounds, I would love to eat at a kitchen table.
What are some benefits to Micro Living that you didn’t initially expect?
I didn’t know the building I live in had an incredible sense of community. On the first Wednesday of every month there’s a potluck in the communal kitchen. Also included are amazing amenities for us to share, like an outdoor pool and hot tub, sauna, gym, BBQs, and even mini golf! But my favourite part about this place is the location. I love being within walking distance to grocery stores, cafes, and the seawall, which is perfect for my evening sunset stroll.
4. What are some space saving tips you can share with us to apply in our non-micro suite homes?
I’ve learned to live with fewer clothes and fewer “things,” and here are my 5 main strategies:
- Less is More: Don’t accumulate, collect, or buy anything unless you’re going to get a lot of good use out of it.
- Keep it Simple: Buy clothes that are easy to match with most of your closet’s colour scheme. My closet has evolved to neutrals so that everything pairs nicely together.
- Lose It If You Don’t Use It: Vacuum storage bags are crucial to store your out-of-season clothes. I keep mine stacked on the top shelf of my closet until the weather changes.
- Only Buy What You Have Space For: My shoe rack fits 14 pairs of shoes so that’s how many pairs I limit myself to at any given time. Otherwise, I’ll get rid of a pair if I buy a new pair.
- Make It Multi-Purpose: My couch acts as my bed, which is also my “dining area!” Instead of using a kettle, I use a pot. Instead of a toaster, I use the toaster oven. And I use my blender for nearly everything: making smoothies, soups, flour, hummus… I don’t have to buy food processors, mortar and pestle, hand blenders and many other appliances.
I still have all the basic necessities that one needs on a day-to-day basis but most importantly, I have learned to value so much more of the important stuff in life.