Concepts for Tiny Living Spaces

Turning Tiny Living Spaces into a Home

Let’s face it, as the population grows the demand for living space grows with it, and so does the price tag.  if you are on a tight budget, the challenge becomes how to get the most out of tiny living spaces that meet you budget requirements.

The secret, it seems, is to tuck away elements of that space to allow more freedom of movement when these elements are not in use. Another useful trick is to utilize the upper spaces that are normally left empty in larger living spaces. Finally and most importantly, simplify your life, deciding definitively what is important to you and what is not. Then you must learn to let go of things that mean little to you so you have the space for things that do.

8 Square Meters of Living Space

There are solutions if you are living alone in a tiny living space, 8 square meters to be exact. A little too extreme , as far as tiny living spaces go, but if this is all the space you can afford, you can still make your home cozy by using simple cost-effective design.

Small Living Space
The space before renovations

This London apartment started out as a tiny room, normally just enough to fit a bed, but with a really clever design, they were able  extend the living space in this tiny room. To allow for moving space, all elements were set against a wall with a bed compartment suspended above the storage space, and a bookshelf which cleverly doubles as stairs to reach the bed, and can also be  tucked away neatly when not in use.

Watch how Kitoko Studio managed to squeeze a bed, bookshelf and storage space, a dining nook, a pantry area and a toilet and bath into this tiny room.

Tiny living space in Paris (8 sqm. only) from Kitoko Studio on Vimeo.

24 Square Meters of Living Space

The normal condominium units available on the market available at the budget of an average wage earner in the Philippines would be around 20-36 square meters. If you have seen an actual unit, you would realize this isn’t really very much space but it would still be double or even triple the tiny 8 square meter space above. Using the same design tricks of tucking you can still give yourself ample living space.

Another brilliant execution of design for a tiny living space of 24 square meters was done by faircompanies in a lego style apartment. The apartment was began as a basic studio unit. When renovated, it was transformed into a cozy loft complete with all the basic living amenities.

Tiny Living Spaces 24sqm
Unit before renovation
Tiny Living Spaces 24sqm
Unit before renovation

As you see in the video, most of the space was still preserved by neatly tucking away large elements like the kitchen that has a stove, a dishwasher, microwave oven, a full size fridge and freezer and a little pantry storage. The bed, when pulled out occupies a large portion of the living space but when tucked neatly under the balcony, it doubled as a sofa and storage. The dining table doubled as a window blind. The unit also had storage room for clothes and sports equipment. When everything was tucked away there was plenty of room to move around.

Christian Schallert, the apartment owner said the design was inspired by boat houses that had very limited space and therefore had to make use of the same strategies to preserve space.

The video below shows the masterful use of a tiny living space.

You can always make extra room in a tiny living space with a little budget and a lot of creativity.

Photo Credits: Photos are screen shots taken from the videos of Kitoko Studio and faircompanies.

Conquer your Giants: A Little Girl’s Funny True Story

Little Boxer Girl

Walking on my way to the bank I observed on the street a little girl who was, for some reason, putting all her effort into trying to beat with her fists, a young man carrying a baby. She wasn’t really making an impact as the man didn’t pay her much attention and a few bystanders were laughing at her efforts. She was too little to do any damage or so they thought because she was barely any taller than his waist and it was so easy to dodge her blows.

I guess at that point, the little girl decided she needed a new strategy. So she stopped hitting the guy with her fists, used both her hands to grab the man’s shorts from the waist and pulled down as hard as she could. Down came the man’s shorts along with his underpants, and since he was holding a baby, there wasn’t much he could do for a good few seconds. That was enough to make a point, and the little girl grinned from ear to ear, triumphant.

7 Take-aways from this story:

  1. Respect the little guys. They can see things you can’t.
  2. Know your options and keep an eye out for new and exciting opportunities out there.
  3. Constantly check your progress. If you aren’t getting the results you are looking for, change your strategy.
  4. Just because it’s bigger than you doesn’t mean you can’t beat it.
  5. Keep going. It’s never over until you give up.
  6. Never underestimate ‘Girl Power’!
  7. Celebrate your victories.

Chris Gutierrez: Entrepreneur

Christopher GutierrezMeet Christopher C. Gutierrez

I met Chris Gutierrez over a year ago at the company I used to work with. He was seeking investments for his web development start-up, Visual Notch. He didn’t get his investment. At the time, he had instead been offered a position to head a web team. Chris accepted the offer with high expectations and had a brief segue from his initial plans.This was the time I got to know Chris Gutierrez up close and personal.

While working with Chris, I could tell that he wasn’t your ordinary Joe. He operated by a whole different set of rules which made him an odd man out. He knew his business intimately. He was so savvy about the tools and technologies of his trade that when he spoke, it was hard to doubt his word. He spoke with authority and that won him the respect of his staff and the clients he handled. He immediately took control of his unit. He clearly was a risk taker, implementing changes as he deemed  fit. Being the new kid, as one might expect, this would reap mixed reactions from his colleagues. Some were elated by the changes, others were skeptical and resistant. This was what he had to struggle with for a year or so.

Chris had a clear vision of the organization he intended to build. He never once lost sight of this. He worked at it diligently day by day, assembling his dream team and building the business he had envisioned, despite the challenges he encountered along the way. Chris had many significant victories, but he also had to deal with numerous setbacks, many of which, were the offshoot of projects that had preceded him. Over time, Chris began to feel the weight of several forces tugging at him from different directions, at times demanding from him, opposing outcomes. Realizing that his personal vision for the business had become severely misaligned with that of the company he joined a year earlier, Chris made the painful decision to leave. And then Chris found himself back a the point where he started a year earlier, except now he was a year older, a bit wiser, and more determined than ever to pursue his vision.

Chris Gutierrez, The Quintessential Entrepreneur

Why do I think Chris was different from most guys at the office? For one thing, Chris was way too comfortable walking away from employment. Everyone I have talked with at the office could not imagine a life without a job. In all the time I had handled HR, I have never seen an employee who was comfortable leaving a job unless he had a new job to transfer to. But Chris, for some reason, seemed quite comfortable simply walking away, with only his vision to fall back on.  I found this incredibly fascinating (not to mention brave).

Chris and I have stayed friends after he left the company and I have gotten to know him even more since then. I also have figured out the kind of creature that Chris really is. He is a quintessential entrepreneur and he operates by the entrepreneur’s code.

Chris, as it turns out, had always been occupied with one business or another. In college, he sold cell phones at a premium price, offering technical support as a value added service. He partnered with a Japanese company to supply video conferencing equipment in 2005, back when that technology was still cumbersome, expensive and hard to come by. In 2007, Chris ventured into personnel services specializing in recruitment for IT positions. Chris is also very active in his family business, marketing and sourcing back-up power generators. He would on occasion accept employment, but he was really most comfortable running a business.

It seems to me like every time I talk to Chris, he is evaluating a new business like a mini-grocery, or sourcing solar-powered water heaters. Like most entrepreneurs, Chris is always on the look out for opportunities and great deals, poised to step in if the numbers suited him. Another remarkable thing about Chris is his insatiable curiosity and drive to learn new things. Chris would always be raving about a new book he just read, or would eagerly discuss a new technology he is researching. This makes him a great resource person if you need to know the latest trends. He is knowledgeable about many topics. Chris is never stingy with information, he’s always willing to share what he knows. It’s always fun and informative to pick his brains.

You might think that someone like Chris who is so gung-ho about business was spared from the failures and disappointments of business ownership, but that isn’t so.  Chris has had his fair share of downturns. For instance, because of the inadequate bandwidth infrastructure at the time, Chris discovered that he wasn’t be able to harness the full potential of his video conferencing equipment, so he decided to give up that business.  Then he also discovered that although IT recruitment was a very financially rewarding business, the work was just too grueling for him. He eventually burned out. But being the entrepreneur that he is, whenever a business failed to pan out, Chris would always pick up where he left off, and move on to the next business determined to make it work, equipped with the lessons of his past misadventures.

Finding His Passion

So where is Chris now? Like I mentioned earlier, after deciding to leave the company, Chris is back where he had started a year earlier, working in his own web design company, Visual Notch. Many things have changed though. After his brief stint with employment, Chris is now crystal clear about a few fundamental things.

Chris is an entrepreneur first and foremost. He has embraced his inner visionary, and has decided to celebrate it. He is most comfortable with this set up, and is committed to see his dream to fruition.

Web Design is his passion. Despite all the difficulties he has encountered in this business, Chris is still very keen to pursue it. This is what he so loves to do. He is certain that this will be his take off point. Deeply inspired by the achievements of companies like Google and Apple, Chris is determined to put the Philippines and his company, Visual Notch, on the IT map. It seems that Chris wants to put his own ding in the universe.

Chris reports that at the moment, Visual Notch is booked to capacity. He takes this as a powerful indication that he has made the right decision to push ahead with his plans. This also assures Chris that there is a robust market for this business. Even more promising is the fact that several investors have expressed serious interest in pumping in the much-needed capital infusion to fund Visual Notch’s growth stage. Chris’ priority will be to build the core competencies of his team through recruitment and training. He sees a local-based full service  e-commerce platform on his pet projects list. Somewhat dismayed with the current state of e-commerce in the Philippines, he is quite certain that he is the man to build the solutions for it. Chris sees the flaws in the current system as a tremendous opportunity for his company to step up and shine.

Over the past months, Chris and I have formed an informal mastermind group, where we bounce idea off each other, brainstorming solutions for problems we find annoying, challenging each other, cheering each other on and holding each other accountable. We discuss books we’ve read. We exchange notes and quotes and all sorts of information and funny stories. I myself have left my job, in pursuit of my vision, emboldened by Chris’ courage and resilience.  I have come to value our friendship for the wealth it brings to my life. As a token of my gratitude, I am publishing this long overdue piece to make public my appreciation of this man, Chris Gutierrez, whom I am proud and grateful to call my friend.

If there are any investors out there who would like to explore the possibility of a partnership with Chris, you may reach him through email : or visit his company website at

Life in its fullest