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What It's Really Like to Live in a 300 Square Foot Micro Studio

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Welcome to a special Micro Week edition of House Calls, a feature in which Curbed tours Chicago's lovely, offbeat, or otherwise awesome homes. Think your space should be featured next? Drop us a line.


[Photos by Nick Fochtman]

When one hears the term "micro apartment," expensive cities like New York, San Francisco or Miami might immediately come to mind. However, the small apartment movement is making its way to the Windy City, with many Chicagoans choosing to scale down on size and cost of living. Take Richard Smith III for example. As a filmmaker and photographer who just moved to Chicago from Columbus, Ohio earlier this year and is wrapping up studies at Columbus College of Art & Design, living small makes a lot of sense. Smith, who stands at a not-so-micro 6'6", knew that he'd be living by himself, and felt that having a small, efficient space would be the best way to go. Inspired by the creativity and opportunity Chicago has to offer, Smith has learned to love his adopted city and his new sub-300 square foot home at FLATS Chicago No. 1325 in Uptown.

How big is your apartment?
I'm pushing 300 square feet.

How long have you lived here?
I just moved on New Year's day 2015.

What's your favorite thing about your place?
I love the lofted bed area, it's so cozy. It's really nice to get up there and read a book or take a midday nap. It's also nice to wake up in the morning, look down at my space and see the beautiful natural light that floods the apartment.

What's the inspiration behind the design of your place?
Small but efficient. I listened to a TED Talk once where someone was talking about making the most from having less stuff and how efficient his tiny New York apartment is, which really inspired me. I knew I wanted a place that would only have space for things I really needed rather than filling it with things that just sit around and collect dust.

Have you lived in a small unit before?
My school dorm when I was an RA was the closest thing to it. But even that dorm was bigger, but nowhere near as nice as this space.

What are a couple of recommendations you'd make to someone considering moving into a micro apartment like yours?
Get rid of the things you really don't need — clothes, furniture, kitchen ware, the list goes on. It can be tough to let these things go — I know it was for me — but it honestly makes a huge difference. I hardly deal with clutter and cleaning takes 10 minutes at most. In turn, keep the things you truly love, you'll start to use them more and become glad that you have them.



What's the biggest number of people you've had over at one time?
Five people total including myself. I have a few chairs for lounging and a trunk that two people can comfortably fit on. It was a surprisingly great hang out too, considering it was in such a small space.

Do you plan on living in a micro apartment in the future?
Of course! I spend so much of my time at work or out exploring the city that having a bigger, more expensive apartment filled with stuff I'd hardly use doesn't make sense for me.

·No. 1325 Flats [FLATS Chicago]
·FLATS Chicago Wants To Put Micro-Dwellings On The Map [Curbed Chicago]
·Micro Week archives [Curbed Chicago]
·House Calls archives [Curbed Chicago]

FLATS Chicago No. 1325

1325 W. Wilson Ave. Chicago, IL