A couple pushes minimalism to its extreme in a truly tiny house
Chris Hanz and Leslie Moreiro live by the motto “Less is more.” So much so that they named their French bulldog “Rohe,” after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the architect who famously adopted the phrase. Sticking to a minimalist lifestyle is a smart solution when one lives in a tiny house. “It forces us to edit all the time,” says Hanz, who founded Average, a closet-sized design shop on Queen Street West. The couple shares a single-storey, one-bedroom house in Toronto’s Bloorcourt Village. Its 70-square-metre plan is very compartmentalized, something Hanz was excited about: “I don’t like open-space living, which is maybe the biggest difference between this and a condo.” Hanz often uses his home as a testing lab for products that he’s looking to bring into the shop. “The store and my home are so intermixed at this point,” he explains. “One of the driving factors behind Average is that we try to pick pieces that are condo appropriate.”
The challenges of the small living room led to swapping a coffee table for a triptych of nesting tables, which can be easily moved around depending on the occasion. “You get a lot more floor space that way.” Opting for a projector instead of a television opens up still more space. “Less is more” also applies to the bedroom, where the couple keeps well organized thanks to the built-in closet – an open storage unit that inspired them to pare down their wardrobes. “It’s pretty much about sleep and nothing else,” says Hanz.
Because the house is a rental, the couple is limited in the amount of personalization they can do. For instance, Moreiro, an avid baker, required more kitchen shelving for storage. They chose a classic shelving system by Vitsœ and an attachable table just large enough to host dinner parties. The versatile storage unit, once Average’s display system, will follow the couple if they ever decide to move.
In the bathroom, an unused tub rough-in was converted into a daybed by the previous owner, and later reupholstered by Moreiro. Even in this roomy space, they still look for ways to reduce the number of objects they own. “Both of us are really in that mindset,” says Hanz. Currently, they are experimenting with using bathrobes instead of towels, taking their minimalist lifestyles as far they comfortably can.
Originally published in our Small Spaces, Smart Solutions 2019 issue as Bare Necessities.