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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.

Small Home-Office Modifications

Small Home-Office Modifications

Our tiny home-office has been the full-time workspace for my small business since we moved into the Cottage 8+ years ago. (See our short video about streamlining a compact home-office here.)

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My convertible sitting/standing desk is located in our main room, which is connected to the kitchen through an open floor-plan. This area also serves as our living room, a playroom, a pop-up dining room, West’s sleep space, and a guest room.

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Lately I’ve disliked having my back turned to West as I face the iMac while working. So a few months ago I decided to test going without my large desktop computer. I backed up my files and put the machine in our only closet. I figured if I could conduct my creative business as effectively from a laptop and iPad that I could pass the iMac on to a family member who needs a newer device.

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It’s been an adjustment, but I’ve preferred the versatility of working on my laptop. It makes me feel more mobile, and less tethered to one spot as West and Adam dart around the house throughout the day.

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The absence of the desktop computer also helps the small space feel less office-like, which is nice for West, who enjoys playing with his trucks on the desk, and tinkering with toys beneath it.

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I’ve enveloped my workspace with my son’s activities and books, making it a more friendly space for ALL of us during the day. I added a 3-tiered basket to one side of the lift-desk, and it contains repurposed pouches and boxes that hold various toys and puzzles. On the back of my chair I’ve added small hooks to suspend West’s backpack and my handbag.

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In terms of office supply storage, everything has remained the same. I keep most items in a single drawer in our sofa’s built-in end table. A small number of paper files that we need to keep in hard-copy format are worked into our built-in bookshelf in the bedroom, or stored in a vintage wicker picnic basket under the bed.

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It is, of course, a challenge to accomplish a full-time work load from home with a child playing and chatting mere inches away. But Adam and West often seek and create adventures outside of the house while I plug away at my to-do list. Plus I can easily work remotely at a hotel lounge or coffee shop if the need arises.

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I’ve enjoyed updating my work surface with practical handmade items that are not only pieces of art, but also functional tools.

Driftwood brushes, a ceramic paint palette, bristle pens, and small batch leather folios sit in a slim wooden shelf that keeps everything nice and neat, but also on display.

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I’ve taken such pleasure in implementing these minimal updates as our business has transformed, and as our son has grown. They’re modifications that we’ve made based on how we use our little home, and the ways in which we move within it. In being patient and observing our shifting habits and needs (and sitting in them for some time before acting), we’ve been able to reduce waste by avoiding decisions and purchases made in anticipation of the next phase of life. Instead, we’ve found such joy in letting time unfold, and embracing what we need when we truly need it.

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Video: Tiny Takeaways (Ep.8)

Video: Tiny Takeaways (Ep.8)

Video: Tiny Takeaways (Ep.7)

Video: Tiny Takeaways (Ep.7)