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Showing posts from 2018

Children's Wall Decor (or An Ode to IKEA)

I just wanted to share today what kind of things a family living in a small home might choose to hang about their children's beds because I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out.

The other day I wrote about the IKEA KROKIG shelves that I spray painted pink. Each girl has one hanging in her space.

They also each have an IKEA BEKVAM spice rack, which makes a sweet little bookshelf when it's not busy holding spices. (Does anyone actually use this for spices? I only ever see it holding books!)

For night lights, we gave each girl an IKEA SMILA wall lamp. Sunshine already had a heart one, but she decided she wanted one of her cousins' hand-me-down flower lights instead. Sweetheart chose the heart for herself. Unfortunately, IKEA has recently switched up their children's lighting selection, and neither lamp is available for sale there anymore. They sell star and balloon and house and cloud wall lamps these days.

Sunshine also has a locking mirror cabinet (the IKEA GUN…

Painting the IKEA KROKIG Shelf, Part 2

I said I would come back and share an update about the IKEA KROKIG shelves I painted, so here I am.

You can kind of see them in the photos I shared of the bed the other day, but here is a better closeup. I think they look pretty good, and the process was very easy. Not bad for a $5 shelf and a $4 can of paint.

I will say this, though: the paint scratches fairly easily, as in don't let that screwdriver slip! Oops.

Sunshine loves her pink shelf, and that's what really matters to me, so overall I consider it a success!

IKEA KURA Trundle Upgrade Reveal!

How do you fit three twin beds into one <70 square foot bedroom? This is how...

After hours of planning and shopping and measuring and cutting and sanding and painting and drilling and building and painting some more, the IKEA KURA loft-bed to bunk-bed-over-trundle upgrade is finally finished, and I absolutely love how it turned out!

Here's another view looking in the mirror on the closet:

And here's what it looks like with the trundle pulled out:

I'm quite pleased with the entire structure. Lifting the bed seems to have actually made the KURA itself more solid as it wobbles and creaks much less now than it did before. The trundle is surprisingly comfortable, and I am eager to show you the simple hack we used to create a sliding trundle that an adult might actually be happy to sleep on regularly. (Hint: We built it around an IKEA LONSET slatted bed base.)

I took many photos of the entire process, so stay tuned for the free tutorial to see exactly how we added a trundle …

The Stories That Bring Us Together

No matter how thankful I am for our little home, sometimes I do feel that green-eyed monster creeping up on me. The other day was one such occasion. I had the opportunity to check out my cousins' new apartment for the first time. I have many cousins on my mom's side of the family, and two of them, who are sisters, rent this townhouse together. The younger one is married with a baby and the older one is single. The family of three lives in the two upstairs bedrooms and bathroom, and the other sister has the downstairs bedroom and bathroom to herself. They share the living room and kitchen. It's actually one more amazing example of extended families living together to provide community and shared resources. I love it!

This townhouse, though, is amazing. It's in a brand new development on the outskirts of town. It's comfortably right-sized and full of beautiful design elements, like granite countertops and vaulted ceilings and industrial styling throughout. They even…

Bedroom Upgrade Home Stretch

I feel like we've been working on this bedroom project FOREVER. Those of you who build your own tiny houses from the floor up have my undying respect. I can only imagine the man hours you must put in from start to finish!

I did some final touch-up painting on the bed base today, so we'll be able to attach it to the KURA bed soon. I still need to assemble the trundle bed and the toy storage unit I'm building as well as paint more of the bedroom itself.

In the meantime, here's a preview pic of the bed base. I'm eager to get it all set up!

Spray Painting the IKEA KROKIG Shelf

Back in May when my cousin was moving, she asked if I wanted the IKEA KROKIG shelves she had on the wall in her girls' bedroom. They didn't match her planned decor in the new house, and she wasn't planning to use them.

They didn't really match my planned decor, either.

I took them, though, so I could think about it, but I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to use them, and I just left them in the car while I thought about what to do with them.

In an attempt to be helpful, Chris brought them inside for me, and Sunshine and Sweetheart became...very attached to them. (Thanks, honey.)

At that point, I decided that I needed to try to make them work because my kids were very insistent that we use them in their new bedroom.

The obvious choice was to paint them, but I didn't know how well paint would adhere to the plastic. I tried to find a tutorial or something on Pinterest where someone else had done what I wanted to do, but I couldn't find anything. This is ac…

Find Your Joy

The last couple of weeks have been very busy at our house. I have mountains of laundry sitting, waiting to be washed and so many things to clean and papers to go through. Between working on the bed and helping to care for my grandfather, who is making a fabulous recovery, I've been away from home a lot more than usual, and we've all been feeling the change in routine. My toddler especially is cranky when mom is away too much, and Chris has been taking on most of the childcare while I'm busy doing other things in this season.

In other words, we have all been feeling the need for an escape from the burdens of life.

On a whim, and to give Chris a much needed day to himself, I packed up my girls (and piles of stuff), and we headed to the coast where my parents were installing a washer and dryer in my aunt and uncle's beach house.

The sun was shining, and the breeze was blowing, and my heart felt so full watching my sweet little girls run, giggling, toward the water. We are…


We spent the afternoon at the other "family compound" the other day, my brother, Sunshine, and I. My brother has been helping me assemble the bed frame for the trundle platform, and the shop space at the new property is amazing. Every tool I've needed (other than a pocket hole drill/jig/whatever-it's-called) is basically at my disposal. There are seven work benches (I think...I counted them one day), table saws and miter saws and clamps and drill presses and squares and tape measures and belt sanders. It's like a craftsman's paradise. (I've asked which work bench is mine. I'm only half kidding. I've been using my grandpa's and my dad's until someone assigns me my own.)

Sunshine got to play in the sprinkler with her cousins while my brother and I worked in the shop. My dad stopped by to help me figure out the cross braces that I decided to add to the bed at the last minute. (I've been taking pictures of this whole process so that I can…

Normalizing Multigenerational Living

We like to joke in our family about our two family compounds, and one is where we live on land owned by my parents. There is the "big house" and the "little house" (guess which one we live in?). There are seven people and two cats currently living on this property, and while it's not always easy, it's a lifestyle that I love.
The other family compound is about fifteen minutes away at the property that my cousin and grandfather just moved to last month. They have seven people living there with two more to join them in the next couple of years as soon as they can get the second apartment finished.
I know this lifestyle isn't for everyone. Not every person grows up in a tight-knit family like mine. But I'm going to be honest here and say that our society's obsession with personal independence has stolen something from us.
I know I tend to think more romantically about the past than is warranted (especially for someone who loves indoor plumbing as …

KonMari-ing as a Parent

It's time for a KonMari update here at the Small Home Family blog, and today I want to talk about what it's like to go through the KonMari process as a parent.

Give Yourself Grace In her first book, Marie Kondo describes a journey that frankly seems almost impossible with young kids. In her second book, writing as a mother herself, Kondo gives more grace, and I think that grace is going to be necessary for most parents who choose to follow this method. It's okay if it takes longer than six months or if you need to skip around to make it happen. We've been going slightly out of order in our decluttering journey, choosing to tackle komono before we deal with paper. I just find the paper category so overwhelming and difficult to deal with when there are kids underfoot. Rather than getting off-track completely, I've decided to keep moving in the other categories and come back to paper later. Make the method work for you.
Use Smaller Categories Here's the truth: it&…

The Bed

After we finished painting the first two walls, we went ahead and set up the loft bed to surprise Sunshine.

 The IKEA KURA bed is not the easiest bed to assemble in a room that's only 8x8 feet. There was a lot of "watch out!" and "be careful!" and "don't scratch the paint!" going on. Ha! We had to improvise a bit since we weren't sure we'd be able to flip the bed over like the instructions said to do. I almost got trapped in the bed when we were screwing on the slats. (True story.)

But we got it done with a lot of laughter and a fair bit of ingenuity.

That night when Grandma brought Sunshine home after watching her for hours while we got everything ready, our little girl was absolutely ecstatic. Her smile was huge, and she was practically shaking from the excitement about her new bed. She has struggled a little with the adjustment to sleeping where she can't reach for me at night, but I am hoping that with time, she will get used to t…

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

If you would like even more content from the Small Home Family, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 
On Facebook, we've been posting photos of the progress we're making adding a trundle to our girls' new bed, so check it out and like our page for continued updates!
If Twitter is more your thing, check out our feed, where we occasionally share content from around the web showing other families who have decided to downsize. Today, we tweeted an article about a family of five living in a small travel trailer in California while they save up to build their dream home on their own plot of land out in the country. If you live tiny (or small!) with kids and would like to be featured on our Twitter page, hit me up at We'd love to hear your story!

Painting the Bedroom

The longer we live in a very small house, the more I realize that some things are just harder to do in such a tiny space.

Painting is definitely one of them.

I finally managed to tackle painting the bedroom a couple weekends ago, and it was a complicated process that began with us disassembling the beds and sleeping on mattresses on the floor for a few nights. Every morning I would stack the mattresses against the wall, Chris would play tetris trying to get the ladder into the bedroom, and I would work on filling nail holes and taping and, eventually, painting. The ladder itself had to be angled practically into the shower in order to fit it past the front door and then back into the bedroom. If it was only a few inches longer, it wouldn't have fit at all. Just moving everything out of the way and then back again at night was quite the ordeal!

I had been hoping to paint the whole room in one go, but I just couldn't figure out a way to get it done all at once. The room is too t…


Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day means a lot to us as a family on a personal level, not because we have had to make the ultimate sacrifice of life ourselves (we haven't, and we have nothing but respect for those who have), but because we use this weekend of memorializing to remember the people that we have loved and lost and to give our girls a glimpse into their own roots.

Every year on the Sunday before Memorial Day, we pack up a picnic lunch and take our children to the cemetery. I remember the first year we brought food with us, and we really debated whether this was a reverent enough activity for a cemetery. Then I thought of my grandmother whose grave we visit every year, and I can just imagine how absolutely tickled she would be at the idea of her great-granddaughters running around and bringing life to her final resting place.

We love to do this on this weekend in particular because the cemeteries are all in beautiful shape with flowers and flags, and it's such…

Small Home Gaming: Console Conundrum

Hi all. It’s Chris again with another dose of Small Home Gaming.

As a gamer living in a small home, there’s one thing that’s plagued me for quite a while now: game consoles. Consoles are great, but their sheer size and ability to monopolize a media station can make them formidable enemies of the small home ideology. Over the years I’ve had everything from a GameCube to a Nintendo Switch as part of our media setup. All of these consoles have served their purpose, some better than others. A couple, like my original “fat” PS3, tested the limits of our small space. It’s quite large and took up far more room than I was hoping. The Wii U, on the other hand, tested our setup in a different way. It’s much smaller and fit in our entertainment area much better, but the “tablet” style controller is not small and has its own separate docking station. This effectively means that you need to find space for two consoles instead of one.

Then, last year, Nintendo came out with the Switch.

Like many I lin…

Tiny House Sleeping Arrangements: Making Room for Everyone

There's a question I've never answered here at the Small Home Family blog, but I'm sure many people have wondered...

Where do we all sleep?

When Chris and I first moved into our home, everything was pretty simple and straightforward: we slept in the bedroom on a queen-size bed. The bed barely fit in the room with just enough space to walk around, and we kept it that way for several years. (Most of the photos I can find of our bedroom set up from years past have cats in them. We had three cats once upon a time. The photo on the left shows our bed in the bedroom.)

Here is another pic of our bedroom with a queen-sized bed in it once upon a time.
A few months before Sunshine was born, I was finding it very hard to share that queen bed and get any kind of quality sleep myself, so we decided that it was time to make some changes. We got rid of our queen bed and moved the mattress upstairs to the loft where Chris slept on it. As you can see from the photos, the cats liked to sle…


I'm sure that living through any kind of home improvement project is difficult regardless of your house size, but going through it in a small house is a different kind of chaos, especially when you have little kids.

Sunshine and I went over to my grandpa's house to disassemble Sunshine's "new" bed on Monday. She helped me take off all the slats and keep track of the screws and bolts, and she even brought her own Allen wrench. A girl after my own heart.

We're currently storing the bed next door while we finish everything else up in preparation. I need to buy wood to lift the bed for the trundle we're adding as well as try to match the paint. Then I need to actually paint and build everything.

We are right in the middle of this bedroom overhaul, and the chaos is all-encompassing most days. I'm buying new bedding (because Sunshine is upgrading from a small bed to a twin) and paint and trying to figure out where to store everything during the transition. I…