September 21, 2007


This is my house, but you can't really see it! It's 11.5 feet wide.

I've mentioned that I live in a small 11.5-foot wide rowhouse with three rooms down (living room, dining room, kitchen) and three up (bedroom, bathroom, bedroom). I basically use my kitchen as my "office" space, but other than that, I have to dust off the stove before I use it.

I have a guest room that currently has two twin beds, a side table, my barristers bookcase and some lamps in it. During the time I've lived in my house, I have had a sum total of four people stay in the guest room. In a house of less than 800 square feet, I feel like a significant percentage of the space (the guest room) is totally wasted.
This is one of the twin beds and the wash stand.

You might be thinking, well if you move your office to the guest room, won't the kitchen go to waste? One of the reasons, aside from the fact that I don't cook (I can, but choose not to), is that there is virtually NO counter space. My current desk is actually a five-foot long stainless steel commercial prep counter. I am using a barstool as a chair, which after a little while isn't terribly comfortable. So moving the computer, printer and all associated technology will free up the counter space for other things, like prep work and cooking.

Here's the plan: Disassemble one of the twin beds and put it in the (unfinished) basement. I've never had more than one person stay over at a time, so the second bed is just redundant. All of my cashmere sweaters are in the barristers' bookcase, so that will have to stay. The bedside table is actually an old iron wash stand that I found at my parents' house and refinished to make a table. I will have to figure out what to do with that. It may go in the garden (all 12 x 12 feet of it!).
Here's what I will need: A good desk, large enough for a laptop, printer/scanner and other desk-type things; a good chair; book cases for supplies, books, etc. and a design for how this will all fit into this 11.5 x 11.5 room! Any good suggestions?

I've gotten some excellent suggestions. My limitation, as I mentioned to Cote de Texas, is that to get anything upstairs in my house is a major chore and I usually have to hire someone to help. So, for the time-being, I got a top and legs from Ikea. It's a quick fix, so I can get back to having a functional kitchen. As they say, you've got to live in your house for a while and then decide how things should work.


  1. Is it pos to use both headboards on one bed ? If so, then the bed can be done in a lit en bateau style with the Wernicke to one side, and a small stool topped with a tray in front of the bed.
    Your desk can then go on the opposite wall with a dwarf bookcase for your other bits.

  2. How about putting the long side of the bed against the wall, and making it up as a sort of daybed - ideal for taking a break from working at your desk.

    You could then also put the nightstand into storage in the basement to free up more space. Alternatively use the nightstand as a printer stand - and use a couple of the drawers for paper and office supplies. That still allows one drawer for storage for your houseguests.

  3. OOOOHHH. Printer stand! Great idea. I went and bought a desk and chair today (and got home before the 1:00 start of the football game!).

  4. your guest room looks so interesting, I'm trying to enlarge the pic but I can't! The beds look beautiful - the footboard, especially. OK - are you going to keep the decor i the room? The blues and browns or are you looking to change the decor. Because before you can buy furniture, you need to know, like do you want a brown wood desk, or a white wood desk, or a painted wood? btw, your house looks adorable from the outside! Like a row house in London. What great architecture.

  5. What desk did you buy? do you have a picture you can scan? You know, when you ask 100 interior designers for opinions, you get us all excited!!!! OK - I love HOB idea to use the two footboards, genious HOB - the footboards are gorgous and not as overwhelming as the headboard. And it would look really cool to have drapes hanging from a crown over the bed, that way, when you do have guests - the bed will feel like a room within a room to escape the office part. Scan a picture of the desk!!

  6. YIKES! The guest room is just a photo of double beds... and the house is from my old hood. I have old twin beds that we mine when i was a child.

    For right now, I just got a desk from Ikea. After I wrote all of this, I started thinking and realized that my biggest consideration is moving things into the house, since it's so narrow and the stairs bend 90 degrees.

    I will add a shot of the current beds. And maybe my house!

  7. Good suggestion from HOB&C. Will do something to the desk. I need a flat work surface. But I do have a huge collection of quilts.

  8. West Elm makes a great parsons style desk. It requires that you attach the legs yourself so it would be easy to get up stairs. My sister lives in a small space and has this piece. Good luck.

  9. peace! I am considering relocating to b'more. so much to choose from, though. need to find an area that will fit my financial and social level of comfort. how do you like it? feel free to e-mail me. thanks!

  10. well let's see I like david's suggestion of the day bad and i know just the pillows you can put on it...heehee and you can find some examples on my blog...luluscottageco. everyone has such graet ideas for you!

  11. I too have a very tight set of stairs up to the 2nd floor of my office but we still managed to get in some very cool refubished Metal Desks from Steel Casey
    I think that something like that would look great with the Barrister's Cabinet you already have and they provide tons of storage as well as pull out leaves on each side! I know you are on the opposite side of the country but you should be able to find something similar! Good Luck!

  12. I have no good decorating suggestions but I think your guest room is adorable.

    I also like the kitchen picture and I'm guessing that your entire first and second floor might fit in that kitchen.

  13. I'm having fun rereading all your posts tonight - listen, my daughter bought an ikea desk with the legs and all - actually she bought two. the first had a milky glass top and the second is stainless steel like. they are so great. she loves them and so do i!! I like that W too in the post above. I need to change my header title like we talked about. Since I'm webb design, I always look for pretty Ws, I like that one. Hope you are doing well.



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