Canada's Condominium Magazine

Live large in small spaces, the Life Edited message

Graham Hill, the founder of Treehugger and Life Edited, says that his specially designed New York apartment packs more than a thousand square feet of functionality into just 420 square feet of actual space. As you can see in the video tour of his apartment, he is not exaggerating.

The secret is smart design and technology, with plenty of multi-functional furniture that folds and tucks away into the beautifully designed storage spaces throughout the apartment. Everything has a function, everything has a place. Nothing is left to chance. There is no clutter. It’s a lifestyle that requires a certain commitment to make it work, but when it works, it works beautifully.

Hill’s message at Life Edited is simple: we can live large in small spaces. Hill maintains that the less “stuff” we have, and therefore the less space we need to house the stuff, the happier and healthier we will be. He speaks from personal experience. He recounts how, while still in his twenties, he received a windfall of millions of dollars from the sale of an online business he had started. With the new wealth, he fell into the trap that claims so many. He found that, almost unwillingly, his lifestyle expanded—a big house on the west coast, a large apartment in New York, and all the furniture and stress and anxiety that the acquisition and maintenance of these things can bring.

Wondering how it could be that he was wealthier but not happier, Hill had his moment of insight: stuff doesn’t make people happy, it has the opposite effect. And that’s when he founded Life Edited, to spread the message that less really and truly is more.
The winning design in Life Edited’s challenge to create a “jewel box” apartment with 420 square feet, with the functionality of a much larger space. Live large in small spaces is the motto of Life Edited.

The notion that we can live large in small spaces requires a bit of an attitudinal shift, as well as a willingness to rethink the kind of space we do live in. Many of us are stuck on the notion that a smaller space is somehow a sign of failure, something to endure until we can afford a bigger place. If you can get past that and embrace smallness, Hill says, you will find the stripped-down, more purposeful lifestyle very liberating.

Recently Hill, who is in the process of developing a marketable model of his life edited prototype apartment, posted a challenge on jovoto, the creative crowdsourcing site where anyone can submit an idea and see what comes of it. His challenge to the world’s creative thinkers was to design a “jewel box” of an apartment with an ultra-low footprint,  like his. The result had to incorporate  these key features:

  • 420 square feet
  • sit-down dinner for 12 people
  • comfortable lounge space for 8 people
  • guest sleeping space for 2 overnight visitors
  • home office
  • work area with space for tools
  • a hideable kitchen

Over 300 submissions came in, and Hill’s organization gave out $70,000 in prizes. The winners show amazing ingenuity and flair. Any one of the top winners displayed on the Life Edited website would make a fabulous living space. They are chic, stylish, elegant—and so incredibly functional.


Auberge on the Park-Tridel


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