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Name: Kyle Elizabeth Freeman
Location: White Mountains Region, New Hampshire
Size: 186 square feet
Type of Home: It’s a screened in porch turned 3-season studio vacation home
Years lived in: 4 years, family-owned
While not a full-time home, this 186-square-foot getaway that interior redesigner Kyle Freeman uses three seasons out of the year holds a lot of inspiration for small-space living. It’s proof you don’t need a lot of space to live in, if you use the space you do have wisely. It’s making me want to use IKEA metal storage pieces as kitchen cabinets. And it’s encouragement to get creative when faced with a design or, as in her case, a health dilemma.
“For the past 35 years I’ve been vacationing on a lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where my family has a year-round home (which was profiled on Apartment Therapy over a decade ago) plus a little cabin next door. Unfortunately, a few years ago I developed a severe allergy to mold/mustiness, and the house and cabin, despite our best efforts to remediate, became too musty for me,” explains Kyle.
As the owner of an interior redesign business, Cloud 9 Redesign, Kyle focuses on “transforming people’s spaces using what they already own” and helping “make conscious consumption choices when they need additional pieces.” She used her years of design experience to come up with a creative solution to not being able to live in the main house or cabin: She turned a screened-in porch off of the small cabin into her very own adorable one-room, home-away-from-home.
“With removable plexiglass covers for the screen and space heaters, I can be there well into October. I added a sink, mini-kitchen, and outdoor shower so the only reason I need to go into the cabin is to use the toilet,” Kyle describes of the updates she made. “I feel profoundly grateful and lucky to have come up with this workaround because the lake is my favorite spot in the world.”
My Style: Eclectic Cottage
Favorite Element: The incredible view, the abundant fresh air, the amazing afternoon light, and the song of the loons.
Biggest Challenge: Creating a living space that’s literally outside. I chose mostly metal furnishings to prevent mold growth on wood. The rain WAS a huge challenge. I use shower curtains as curtains, but when the wind is up the rain poured in the porch. So I added plexiglass panels that I can put up when there’s a big storm and when the temperatures drop. But the biggest challenge is that no matter how hard I’ve tried to seal up all the gaps, little bugs can still get in at night when the lights are on. The nice thing about being there in the fall is that it’s much cooler at night, so less bugs!
Proudest DIY: The whole thing!
Biggest Indulgence: The farmhouse sink I added. It’s so worth it!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? One summer/fall I spent a total of about three months there and I was perfectly content living in 186 square feet.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? While the colors lean preschool-chic, I do enjoy the fun color of the various metal cabinets and drawers, most of which I stole and repurposed from my [full-time] home in Boston.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Using mirrors to reflect beautiful views and create an effect of windows on all four sides of the space. For a small kitchen, I found a tiny island on wheels with a dropdown leaf, which is so easy to use when I need more counterspace.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Follow your heart and the things you love. Don’t worry if it looks weird; if you like it, that’s what matters!
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.