Owning an old home takes a very specific type of personality. You’ve got to have a certain amount if tenacity and patience to tackle alll of the myriad situations that old home life equals. And no one is a better example of this than Ashley Goldman of The Gold Hive. Her home is truly so beautiful and soooo lovingly renovated and refreshed. She’s literally the first person I text when I’m about to just torch my bungalow out of frustration because she’s been there, done that. Get ready for a gorgeous home tour, full of historic details and so much charm!
P.S. Usually for my Small Space Squad Home Tours series, I keep it under 1,000 sqft. However, Ashley’s home is so truly special and she is an outspoken sharer of living a more eco-friendly, reduced waste lifestyle that her home felt like the perfect fit for this series.
Home Tour: Inside the Charming Historic Home of The Gold Hive
Who: Ashley Goldman aka The Gold Hive
Where: San Diego, CA
Number of years spent living small: We’ve been in this house for four years
To start, tell me your story about how you ultimately ended up choosing a small space?
I’ve had a love for old houses and knew that when we bought a home, we’d prioritize a space with old charm and character. With our budget, location, and desire for a historic home, we knew we’d be buying small — and we embraced that! Our home isn’t tiny, but it’s small by many other standards. Our craftsman bungalow comes in at a little over 1,300 square feet and it’s chock-full of the historic character we were looking for.
What is your biggest challenge in your small space?
I haven’t found too many challenges with it, actually. Again, our house isn’t too tiny and it’s just the two of us, so we still have ample room to spread out. I will say that storage would be a challenge for folks that like to acquire things, but I’ve embraced owning less, buying less, and holding on to less.
What is your favorite part about living small?
I really like not having too much stuff. I enjoy not needing to furnish rooms that we never use and not having excessive storage spaces to encourage clutter hoarding. I also like how cozy the home feels. I never feel like I have to yell to be heard from another room of the house. We’re really lucky that our home has great flow that allows us to have defined spaces that all still feel connected so it feels like we aren’t too far from one another without being in each other’s way.
What is your number one hack for living small?
Get smart about storage and about using the nooks and crannies. One example of this is we moved our washer and dryer to an unused portion of a closet and now it’s the ultimate in functionality. It freed up so much space in our kitchen and put the closet to much better use. I also like furnishings that can do double duty like the couch in our den that pulls out into a bed for guests. If folks are tight on storage and on space, I always would recommend an ottoman with storage for the remote, a side table with a shelf for books, hooks for all of the odds and ends, and concealed cabinets to hide clutter like cables.
Do you ever feel pressure to be “minimalistic” or feel guilty about buying things you don’t “need” for your home?
I’m always on a quest to own less, so striving to be minimal isn’t a problem. The only time it becomes a challenge is when family gifts items that I don’t want/need. I either feel obligated to keep it, disappointment in giving away something they just spent money on, or feel bad telling them I don’t need/want it. I’ve spent several years telling family members that I don’t want gifts and to only buy me gift cards, make donations, take me out to dinner, buy from my wishlist, or don’t get me anything at all.
What have you learned about yourself by living small?
It’s so common to feel like more is more. Our culture has told us that the bigger the house, the nicer the furniture, the more decor, the newer the appliances, all the better. I’ve come to realize through living smaller and through living zero waste that less is indeed more. The time I’ve spent purging the items I bought because they were on sale is so not worth the savings. The time I spend cleaning the decor that doesn’t really bring me joy is time I’ll never get back. The convenience and money I saved buying the cheap version of the furniture isn’t worth the environmental impact of its production. I’m learning more and more that I enjoy owning less and having more breathing room in my home. Keeping my space tidy of objects yet cozy in size allows me time to enjoy my home with the people I love, time to foster animals in my home, and time to just sit around and scroll through my phone, too!
What’s your number one storage hack?
Just don’t store stuff — ha! It’s a common idea to go out and buy a label maker, plastic bins, and oodles of baskets to organize things, but I find that not owning the things to store is far easier. For the things that we do own and need to store, I find that having a dedicated home for each and everything is the most helpful. When tidying, I know exactly where it goes and when I go looking for it, I know just where to find it. We do have the bins for storing bits and bobs in the garage though. For those, I recommend clear stackable bins and a label scribbled on a piece of paper on the inside. Instead of buying brand new plastic, there are so many of these storage bins at second-hand stores for super cheap!
Who is your biggest small space inspiration?
I don’t really follow specific small-space folks that are making the most of their tiny house. But I follow a lot of zero-waste people that promote living with less, consuming less, wasting less, and being conscious of the world and communities around us. They aren’t promoting living in a tiny house, but they keep my eyes open to thinking about our impact on our planet, how others in different socio-economic backgrounds live, how to live off the land, how detrimental buying from major corporations is, and so much more. Through following people like polly.barks, popcorn.ceiling.life, common_earth, wastefreephd, zerowastedork, the.mirror, and so many others, I’m inspired to leave less of a footprint on the planet. I realize this is tangential to your question, but I feel like a goal of living small is using fewer resources and be more mindful of our impact on the planet, animals, and humans.
What do your friends and family say about your choice to live small?
My mom likes to joke about my clutter purging with, “what are you getting rid of this week?” and “soon you won’t have anything in your house!” Family and friends all are getting better about understanding that we want less stuff and that we practice a zero-waste lifestyle. Our house isn’t all that super tiny, so they don’t feel like we’re living in cramped quarters. There’s definitely a notion that if our family grows we would need a bigger house. That might be the case, but I feel like we could easily live here with older kids, too!
You can find even more Small Space Squad Home Tours here:
- Arielle Vey
- This Thrifted Abode
- Anne Sage
- Jess Ann Kirby
- Sara Toufali
- Katrina Blair
- Crystal Ann Interiors
- Joyfully Growing
Photography by The Gold Hive, used with permission.
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