Welcome to the Cottage.

The Tiny Canal Cottage® is a 1920's Craftsman-style house by the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. This <400 sqft home/office is the full-time residence of Creative Director Whitney Leigh Morris, her husband, their son, and two rescue beagles.

The Accordion Bench/Bed

The Accordion Bench/Bed

I've yet to share the full house tour of the front tiny cottage-- we only just wrapped repairs and renovations on it earlier this week. But we're already welcoming our first overnight visitor this weekend, so I wanted to share how we adapt the space to accommodate guests!

Much like our Tiny Canal Cottage, this little house is under 400 square-feet and only has three rooms: the bedroom (with a narrow sliver of a closet), the bathroom, and the main room (which includes the kitchen). So the issue was this: how would we create a playroom for West in the bedroom, while ensuring that we also have a comfortable place for my parents to sleep when they visit for long stretches of time?  We knew we'd need some sort of Queen-sized sleeper-sofa option, but every style we explored either had a cushion that folded (which would eventually get lumpy), or chunky backs and/or bases, which would've taken up more inches than we could spare (and obscured too much of the window). We could've opted for an extra-high air mattress, but having a bed in addition to a couch would've overcrowded the room to a degree that would've made it impossible to navigate. We decided instead to have something tailor-made for our situation.


I contacted my friend Lizzie from Tumbleweed & Dandelion here in Venice to discuss the design and creation of a custom couch. Lizzie dazzles me with her wit, talent, positivity, and endless energy. I explained to her what we wanted, and what we didn't want. As we brainstormed, she drew up the perfect plan-- an accordion-style bench that folds out easily into a Queen bed platform:


Lizzie and her team brought the design to life, and the results are perfect for our needs. Keep scrolling to view the bench-to-bed set-up process, which takes us about 5-10 minutes. 

guest item storage.jpg

We keep the bed legs and guest linens within easy reach on the living room shelf, and in old wine crates.


The seat cushion can be stored beneath the bed once it's assembled, while the seat-back cushions function as a headboard.


The bed accordions out smoothly, and the extra legs twist on easily.


We had planned to use an air mattress on the platform for an ideal space-saving solution. But then we were surprised with the gift of this cozy new Nora mattress to try for the guest bed! Since West's narrow closet is almost completely empty, we slide the mattress upright in there for storage when it's not in use. Obviously most smalls pace dwellers don't have an empty closet available (ours is empty since this house is used mainly for my parents, West's playroom, and visiting camera crews), so for those folks seeking a compact solution and would prefer to try something other than an inflatable mattress, there are roll-up and folding designs out there. Or Tumbleweed & Dandelion can make a version with the folding cushion included!


The entire set-up worked out better than I'd hoped. The bed is a comfortable and sturdy sleeping surface for my parents or our other guests, and there's still plenty of space to navigate the room. We don't normally need curtains on these windows, but two white tension rods wait at the ready in the window frames, so I just attach the curtains from West's old nursery nook to give our visitors some privacy. Lastly, we slide everything over a couple feet so the front door can open fully. Voila!

Co-Sleeping in the Cottage

Co-Sleeping in the Cottage

Space-Saving Toy Tents for Kids

Space-Saving Toy Tents for Kids