Today’s small space tour is an exciting one because Alexandra Collins (aka Alexandra Studios) is practically a neighbor of mine! I think she just might be my first Seattle feature for this series… anyways, I’m always drawn to Alexandra’s home and style. It’s clear to me that she spent time growing up abroad because her home has a curated, European vibe. Everything in it is carefully considered and thoughtful — and amazing small space inspiration!
Home Tour: Inside the Charmingly Curated Home of Alexandra Studios
Who: Alexandra Collins of Alexandra Studios
Where: Seattle, WA
Number of years living small: 2 years in this house (living small since college = 10yrs!)
To start, tell me your story about how you ultimately ended up choosing a small space?
Both my husband and I love the feeling a small space provides — coziness. We didn’t want a home where we had rooms that just sat collecting dust or were used a couple of times a year. Plus, the smaller the home, the smaller the mortgage :). The market in Seattle, especially when we purchased the home two years ago, was incredibly competitive. There were certain things we wanted that we simply couldn’t afford in a larger home in the area.
What is your biggest challenge in your small space?
The biggest challenge has been keeping our space feel clutter free … It’s hard because since it is a small space, even the littlest mess feels like it takes over the entire room. Additionally, storage and space to host is limited. We’ve really had to crack down on organization — which hasn’t been a bad thing! We’ve found what we really need and what we don’t. It’s been nice to be “forced” for a lack of a better word, to really buy things with intention and keep things that truly bring us joy (thanks, Marie Kondo!). As far as hosting goes, we simply have to wait until the weather is nicer in Seattle to host outside! We’ve taken full advantage of our back patio to host dinner parties and events. It’s been good to push us to get outside and enjoy the fresh and gorgeous spring and summer months.
What is your favorite part about living small?
Definitely the cozy home vibe!
What is your number one hack for living small?
Using as much vertical space as we can and choosing furniture that is not only beautiful but functional, including plenty of storage space.
Do you ever feel pressure to be “minimalistic” or feel guilty about buying things you don’t “need” for your home?
I didn’t feel pressure to be minimalistic, but to make sure everything had a place and was in its place so we didn’t feel the anxiety clutter causes. Adding piles of books, flowers, and other decor that brings us joy added more to the cozy vibe, without feeling too much like visual clutter. Living small really has been great for us to practice buying things we really need or enjoy.
What have you learned about yourself by living small?
Oh, great question. I’ve actually become better with my money and what I bring into the house… Even though I still splurge on a favorite coffee table book or cookbook (I am a graphic and interior designer after all!), I’ve gotten much pickier as to what we bring into the house. Oh! And finding my love for organizing and shops like The Container Store and Muji (hopefully Muji comes to Seattle soon!).
What’s your number one storage hack?
Our office has an entire wall of built-ins. These have been so helpful with storage, as we get to use an entire wall of vertical space. The five large bottom shelves along the wall have really come in handy. I purchased large white cardboard storage boxes from IKEA to house the five large categories of items that are usually stuffed into a closet, unorganized, such as games, crafts, design supplies, and my massive supply of gift bags and tissue paper.
Who is your biggest small space inspiration?
The Organized Home book by Remodelista has been so helpful! I’m sure its a great resource for both large and small homes, but what is so helpful is that they provide the actual linked sources to purchase organizational items they used in the book. In addition to the book, articles on their blog on The Organized Home website is constantly coming up with smart ways to keep your space tidy and clutter-free.
What do your friends and family say about your choice to live small?
Friends and family who don’t live directly in a city think it’s a pretty small house and wouldn’t choose a home as small as ours for their primary residence. Since we don’t have kids they think “it’s OK for you two now!” The fact that we have a very large front and backyard does help the pets since we have a 70lb lab/retriever pup and a cat who’s turned into an outdoor cat!
You can find even more Small Space Squad Home Tours here:
- Jess Ann Kirby
- Reserve Home
- The Mayes Team
- The Grit & Polish
- The Grand Apartment
- Anne Sage
- Arrows & Bow
- Katrina Blair
- Crystal Ann Interiors
- Joyfully Growing