Living a Compact Life with Life Edited

by Sam Shaw

Increasingly in modern society our living spaces seem to be shrinking in size, causing us to live a compact life.  Across the world, space is a commodity that holds immense amounts of value. In the UK house prices have gone up by on average by 10% in the last year. So now many people are looking for new solutions for their housing. This poses an interesting design challenge, one that many are now taking seriously.

After decades of thinking bigger is better, and more space is essential; we now have to become more imaginative with the spaces we have and make the most of the compacted spaces we now occupy.

It’s fascinating  to see how different cultures across the globe utilize the space they have. There has been a wave of innovation surrounding small spaces and I will be looking into some unique case studies to find inspiration for the modern compact home that also have some emphasis on sustainability. Here is the first case study from Life Edited.

Life Edited

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.’

Life Edited Kitchen Top

I came across Life Edited after watching the Ted Talk, ‘Less Stuff, more Happiness?’ It’s a very interesting video in itself, but what’s even more interesting is where this question led Graham Hill.

Life Edited began in 2009 when Graham Hill purchased two apartments in NYC with the sole intention of showcasing how to live with less and create a better living environment. These weren’t the only stipulations however; he also wanted to be able to host a dinner party of 10 and be able to have 2 overnight guests stay in his tiny 420 square foot apartment. The challenge was put to Architects worldwide and the winning design came from two Romanian Architect Students and was entitled ‘One Size Fits All’.

It was a feat of utter genius, the tiny apartment was transformed into a space with 1000 square feet of functionality. The main themes that come across from the space is the use of expanding and compacting units and multi use spaces, the walls move to create or hide rooms and the main living area transforms into multiple guises. There is a lot of stacking design and maximising of vertical spaces to ensure ample storage solutions. There’s even enough space to hide a bike, surfboard and the expanding 10 seater table. Get some more inspiration from the images below, it is amazing that the same space below is used as a living room, a bedroom, a dining room and as two separate bedrooms. Its hard to believe, but probably the reason why this retrofit cost a staggering $300,000.

Above are images of the entire Life Edited Kitchen! I personally wouldn’t cope with this tiny space but this super compact kitchen has all the functionality they need and have cooked meals for 12 people in it! An amazing feat of design and patience from the chef.

A lot of these simple concepts featured in the Life Edited project seem to be hard to come by in modern living but with space becoming a premium these solutions will have to be built into future designs.

Watch the short video below to get more of an idea of the entire space.

This setup would not work for a lot of us but the ideas and design within this can offer a plethora of inspiration for a small space you might be designing in the future.

For full details of this project, please visit

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