The beauty of sharing Small Space Squad as a hashtag on Instagram is that I discover some truly beautiful homes unexpectedly. Such is the case with the California cool home of interior designer Chrissy McDonald, aka Harlowe James. When her gorgeous, neutral space popped up in my feed, I immediately navigated over and followed. I love how calming Chrissy’s space feels — and that it literally feels like a treehouse! Let’s take a tour and see more, shall we?
Home Tour: Inside the California Cool Home of Harlowe James
Who: Chrissy McDonald aka Harlowe James
Where: Sausalito, California
Number of years spent living small: 4 years
To start, tell me your story about how you ultimately ended up choosing a small space?
It really wasn’t intentional. We live in Sausalito, California (just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) which is a very expensive spot. We are renters and when we stumbled across this place on Craigslist and it was in our budget we moved on it fast. Affordable apartments go FAST around here!
What is your biggest challenge in your small space?
I am so used to it now I don’t really even notice it, but when we first moved in I had a really hard time adjusting to the lack of storage. We only have one small hall closet that has to store all of our linens, misc. household items and laundry basket. I had to pair down a lot.
What is your favorite part about living small?
Less clutter! I got rid of so much over time and learned new ways to store things and how I could live with less. I don’t feel bogged down by stuff which is amazing!
What is your number one hack for living small?
Keep it neutral! We painted all of our walls Simply White by Benjamin More which make everything feel so bright. Keeping a continuity especially with wall colors helps to open up the space. I like to play with a lot of neutrals so there aren’t many visual berries. The kitchen, entry, living room and bedroom all have one main aesthetic making it feel less choppy and sectioned off.
Do you ever feel pressure to be “minimalistic” or feel guilty about buying things you don’t “need” for your home?
I don’t feel pressure, I choose to have less in order to live more comfortably. I am much more intentional about my home purchases and take time to think about where things will go before I buy it.
What’s your number one storage hack?
Be creative! We only have one bedroom, so my office is in the living room. Instead of having all of my papers and supplies out on the desk or in a drawer below, I utilize our media cabinet under the TV. It is still super close to the desk and that is one less piece of furniture I need. It also helps to be very organized especially when it comes to the one small hall closet we have. I use a lot of lucite drawers so you can see the contents and labeled binders for paperwork.
Who is your biggest small space inspiration?
I really loved the Minimalism documentary on Netflix. I could never be an extreme minimalist, but I think the overall concept of living with less is important to remember. For me a home needs layers and it needs to feel cozy. I have found with living small it is about being more intentional with what I choose to bring into our space!
You can find even more Small Space Squad Home Tours here:
Photography by Harlowe James, used with permission.
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