Flexible Living


The main of focus of The Hourglass project is to find balance in our lives. And that looks different for everyone. One of the aspects of our lives that we needed balance in was our living situation.

I am constantly changing up our furniture as we better understand our needs. I look for better functionality as I try to minimise the amount of stuff we have. This was true when we lived in our house in Florida, and has not stopped since we moved into our apartment in DC. In fact I find it even more important here as we have such minimal space and we need to make the most of it.

We recently made a major shift in our layout as a way to maximize the use of our apartment. It actually began as a happy accident.

At the beginning of Summer my husband and I were struggling to sleep through the night due to a very loud barking dog who shared a bedroom wall with us. One night after several days of poor sleep we moved our mattress in with the kids.  We moved the desk and toys from under my daughter’s loft bed and shoved our king size mattress under the bed in its place.  It was a tight squeeze, but it worked.

We left our mattress like that for a few weeks and we started to enjoy the extra room our master bedroom provided once we had moved the bed. And the kids loved having us in their room.

At this point in our life we were only a couple weeks away from closing on our new home in Maryland so we figured we would just keep our bed in with the kids and enjoy the extra space until we moved.

But then everything changed. My husband left his job and we rescinded our contract on the house. We decided that we would try to stay in DC and look for a new job. Meanwhile my husband also began the process to set up a business structure in case  he was able to start his own small business.

He was now going to be working from home and so it was important for him to have some dedicated space where he could quietly work – especially as we approached summer and the kids would be home. As he finished up the final two weeks of his work contract I decided to surprise him with a home office. Although I knew we definitely made better use of the now spare room the master bedroom provided, the functionality of the kids bedroom as our sleep space was very tight – so I decided to move all the beds into the master bedroom as it is a little larger.  I moved the loft beds into an L shape in the corner and shoved our king size bed under it.

I then set up the bookshelves that were originally in the family room and in the kids room as a base for our bed.  Eventually I changed this layout and stacked them one on top of the other five high, loading it up with our books and work materials as well as the kids toys.)  I then set up my husband’s desk in an L shape as he likes and added my desk.

When he came home that day he was overwhelmed with gratitude. He now had a place to work this summer while we were all home. A dedicated office.  And a family that supported him come what may.

Over the next few weeks we modified the layout to best suit our needs.  We even used it as a guest room by moving a spare twin mattress in there when my mother in law stayed with us for three weeks over the summer.  It was working out great.

The bedroom situation worked out really well also.  It allows us to focus more on sleep.  The kids also seem to love the fact that we share this space with them.  We are lucky that our kids are relatively respectful of their sleep schedule and also are sound sleepers once asleep.  We have been able to  keep to our bedtime routines without issue.

Recently we moved the kids desks into the office which has really made a positive impact. We are all able to take time to work quietly and independently at our desks while still being together as a family.

This layout and choice may not work for everyone but it seems to work perfectly for us at this point in our lives. Living in 850 square feet after coming from a 2,200 square foot 4 bedroom home (with attic, patio, and 2 car garage), has been an adjustment, but one that I’m thankful for. It has definitely made us more intentional about our use of space as well as the items that we hold on to. It also has freed our time in regards to cleaning and upkeep. Now instead of taking care of the house and yard we are off adventuring or spending quality time together as a family.  This layout probably won’t work forever, but right now I do consider it a gift.

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