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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.

Sharing One Compact Closet as a Family

Sharing One Compact Closet as a Family

You know those pin-worthy closet tours that showcase neatly stacked piles of pants, rows of shoes and handbags arranged in artful lines, well-lit full length mirrors, and mid-room island dressers filled with drawers of diverse accessories? This is most certainly not one of those tours. 

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Instead, this is an honest look at how we make a small closet (which was once a nursery) work for 2 adults, 1 preschooler, a collection of books, and A LOT of dog hair. 

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Clearly I’m no fashion blogger. I usually feel such joy and satisfaction when arranging a space, but for some reason I’ve never derived much pleasure from composing an outfit. But I do appreciate a beautiful garment— so much so that I often end up incorporating clothing into the decor of our home.

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Luckily, this also helps us make better use of our small space when it comes to finding storage solutions. (For example, West’s apron dangles from a hooked magnet on the fridge, our scarves and hats drape along the bedroom walls, and our backpacks and market bags border our front stoop.)

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My husband, our son and I all share our single closet.

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The closet also doubles as storage for guest/spare bedding, picture and board books, our cloth diapering system, and more. (West only uses his Grovia diapers overnight now, but we’re holding on to our sets in case we have another child.)

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In recent years, we’ve acquired far less clothing. We’re making an effort to restore, adjust and repair our existing pieces for extended use to lighten our environmental footprint. If we do get a new article, we donate two in its place to help keep clutter at bay

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Most of the clothing I have is similar to our home decor in the sense that it’s usually muted in tone. This way it layers easily and can be combined effortlessly into countless outfits. (In the photo below, my scarves are stored in the white basket, while my socks and hats are kept in the picnic basket.)

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If I find something I really love, I tend to get it in a few colors so I can mix and match without having to think much about it on sleepy mornings, or in the rush to get out the door.

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For example, I have 3 pairs of wide-leg handmade pants by Thief and Bandit, 4 pairs of cropped pants from Everlane, 3 linen maxi dresses from Garnet Hill, 3 mid-length dresses from Olli Ella, 3 long sleeve tops from Everlane, and 4 versatile tanks from Garnet Hill. I also own several pairs of Rothy’s, and when I was pregnant I wore the same style of Pons in 2 different colors. I have additional garments, of course, but the above make up the backbone of my wardrobe. (Read my recent post on West’s clothing, here.) 

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Our lifestyle definitely influences how we dress. We are constantly biking, walking the dogs, canoeing, and running around with our son in the garden and on the beach. As such, most of our garments have to support these sorts of activities. 

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Thanks to the climate here in Los Angeles, my two (sometimes three) winter coats are stashed away for the majority of the year so they don’t consume inches in or around our compact wardrobe during the warmer months. I keep them in a vintage-style suitcase that is often left out in the open here in our house, or rolled into the storage cubby beneath the bed.

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When the coats are in use for a few months on-end, I hang them up via garden hooks or S-hooks on the exterior of the closet curtain. (I tend to  suspend several of my go-to items this way, such as our robes and commonly used backpacks or handbags.)

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I use the S-hook hack inside the closet as well. It’s a practical way to keep my full-length hoodies (which I wear daily) within easy reach without requiring additional hangers. It’s also helpful for temporarily corralling items until I have the time to put them away properly.

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In the fall and winter, I zip a small number of summer pieces into a storage bag that I keep on the closet’s upper shelf. The same bag holds my wedding dress and a handful of essential maternity pieces that I’m still holding on to... just in case.

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While we organize most of our shoes under the couch, we also suspend select pairs from unused corners high inside the closet. This lets the shoes breathe a bit, without getting in the way of the nearby clothing or accessories.

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While our closet is not the stuff of Instagram interior decor fantasies, it still makes me happy. On a planet that cannot sustain our hunger for fast fashion and new styles, Adam and I think it’s important to demonstrate our child that we can live comfortably with well-worn items, and with less overall. And while our clothes perhaps look a little rumpled and wrinkly day to day thanks to the realities of sharing a small space, we appreciate and use each and every single piece we have. 

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A Quiet Celebration

A Quiet Celebration

Small Space Preschooler Desk

Small Space Preschooler Desk