When I first thought about buying My Tiny Bungalow, I immediately thought of Katrina Blair and her charming rancher. I followed her small space living adventures for a while and was so inspired by how she’d made her home work for her family — especially with some incredible DIY hacks! So today, I am really excited to share a peek inside the home of Katrina Blair. It’s packed with saturated color, tons of storage ideas, and so many ideas.
Home Tour: Inside the Charming Northern California Ranch House of Katrina Blair
Where: Sacramento, California
Number of years living small: over 10 years
To start, tell me your story about how you ultimately ended up choosing a small space?
I really feel like our house chose us. When looking at houses way back in 2008, we must have looked at 20-30 houses before coming across our home. Out of all the houses we looked at, ours was the smallest at 926 square feet (we’ve since added a master bathroom, closet, and indoor laundry room after rebuilding our home due to a fire, our home is now around 1200 square feet).
I remember when we first saw our home, I saw all the potential and I liked the layout the way the rooms flowed together and the original 1950s hardwood floors. I was also in love with the front porch and large backyard.
Yes, it needed updates, but I could see how much potential the house had. Before we had a chance to put an offer the house, it was under contract. A happy story short, the lending fell through and the house was back on the market and we didn’t hesitate to offer $15,000 above asking. As luck would have it, the house appraised for less than the selling price! We were nervous since the house was bank-owned, but the bank still accepted our new offer and we paid less than the original sale price of the house!
I love my house and the home its become, I still pinch myself I get to live in this little place I love.
What is your biggest challenge in your small space?
Staying organized! I think by nature, I’m a little cluttery person until I put systems in place to combat the clutter!
What is your favorite part about living small?
For me, I love the coziness of how my home feels and intention behind how we use our home. We use our entire house, no rooms ‘sit empty.’ I love that living small forces lots of family time and movie nights. Since we only have a living room, it’s become our everything room and I love that. Most of my friends always comment about how welcoming and comfortable my home feels, for me personally it’s the best compliment.
What is your number one hack for living small?
Remember it’s your home and it should reflect your needs, don’t be afraid to customize it! Our 1950’s rancher didn’t come with enough storage, but we got creative with DIY Projects. Our small living room was seriously lacking in storage. To gain more storage we added built-in bookcases allowing for both open and hidden storage. To save money, we tackled the project ourselves. It’s been a game change visually and makes our small living room feel larger.
Earlier this year we finally gave our small walk-in closet a makeover, with the help of an IKEA Pax Closet. Our closet is now fully organized and customized to fit our needs. Again, creating systems in my keeps me organized and on top of clutter.
Do you ever feel pressure to be “minimalistic” or feel guilty about buying things you don’t “need” for your home?
I’m personally working on this and really love the motto less is more and more is just more ‘stuff.’ Living small has really forced me to be more intentional with what I bring into my home. I think the key is to achieve a good balance, I don’t need all the things.
I need the things that inspire me to feel good about walking in my front door.
What have you learned about yourself by living small?
Living small forces you to get creative and problem solve! When shopping for furnishings, I’m all about double-duty furniture that solves problems and serves a purpose. For me, it’s about finding the between what looks good and what works for real life.
What’s your number one storage hack?
Go vertical! In a small space, floor space is at a premium. Remember to use your walls to maximize your space and add a built-in bookcase wherever you can. Not only does it add storage, it can bring character into your home. When designing our small U-Shape kitchen, I opted to take my cabinets all the way to the ceiling, giving me extra storage space. In my oldest son’s bedroom, there’s not enough space for a table lamp on his nightstand, so I used the walls and added a wall sconce. It’s both functional and stylish.
Who is your biggest small space inspiration?
I found so much inspiration with fellow small home bloggers, it’s exciting to see how other small home dwellers use their homes and their small home hacks!
A few of my favs are Whitney Leigh Morris of The Tiny Canal Cottage, who lives in an amazing cottage in Southern, California, and wrote a book highlighting her passion for small homes. I also love Lindsay of The White Buffalo Styling Co. She’s taken a small cottage and transformed it for family. I also adore Shavonda of SG Style, real life friend, fellow Sacramenten who downsized from a large builder-basic home into a 1940’s Bungalow with lots of bold style. And, of course, I love your blog and following along with your kitchen renovation!
What do your friends and family say about your choice to live small?
Most of the family and friends are surprised we haven’t moved into a larger home and even more surprised when I share that our next home will still be small and old! In the future I can see us buying another home that’s only slightly smaller, a family room or separate entry from our living room would be nice. But other than that, I love my home and the feeling it gives me each time I open the door to friends and family!
You can find even more Small Space Squad Home Tours here:
Photography by Katrina Blair, used with permission.
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