I am more than happy to trade-off living space (that I don’t really need) for a better location. It means I get the benefit of driving less and enjoying the city more.
But as more of us move to urban centers, we are finding ourselves having to do more with less space. Often this means creating flexible and multi-purpose spaces.
One strategy for this that I really like – which I just learned about through 5 Kids 1 Condo – is the idea of square foot hours. Here’s how it works:
“The concept behind ft2hours (square-foot hours) is to add a time-based measurement to how we assess and use our space. So if your 10′ x 12′ bedroom is used only eight hours a day (i.e., when you’re sleeping), your actual usage is 120 ft2 divided by three (one-third of the day), which is just 40 ft2hours of used space.”
In many ways, this happens intuitively. If you really want to maximize a space, you figure out how to use it more often throughout the day. But I like the idea of applying some math to it.
Of course, this runs counter to the notion that some spaces should be reserved for specific uses. In the case of a bedroom, it’s sleeping and sex. This is so that your mind doesn’t start associating it with things like work, which might start to disrupt your quality of sleep. But perhaps that’s about to become an anachronism in the modern city.
Without having the above formula in mind, I have thought along similar lines for my own apartment.
When I think about where I spend most of my waking hours, it’s bouncing between the kitchen and the living room. And yet my kitchen isn’t up against the windows; it’s recessed towards the back. Instead, my bedroom – where the blinds are almost always drawn – got the windows. (Access to light is a code requirement.)
If it were up to me, I would have flipped my bedroom and the kitchen. But typically in the real estate world, “recessed bedrooms” are considered less desirable.
I don’t think I’ve heard many people complain about a recessed kitchen, but maybe that will change once we start thinking more about things like square foot hours.