Laura Fenton adores small homes, sustainable living, home design, and cozy sleeping nooks. In fact, she’s so passionate about small spaces she wrote a whole book about them, The Little Book of Living Small, a resource of small-space secrets. Nestled in the Queens borough of New York City, she’s converted her charming, warm one-bedroom apartment into a “junior two-bedroom”, and believes that we can all create a home design that best supports our lifestyle.
Although colors, patterns, and textures are delightful to look at, Laura believes that function must be prioritized when designing a room. She prompts you to consider how a room can support your best life, increase efficiency, and ultimately improve your home and make you happier.
“For example, if you make your kitchen function more smoothly, it will remove daily frustrations; an organized, edited closet makes getting dressed a breeze; and an uncluttered, clean bedroom helps you rest. Also: Fresh flowers always make a room sing!” Laura said.
It’s the little things in life that matter most, and Laura’s favorite small objects in her space include a Rand McNally star chart, a black squiggle drawing her son sketched as a toddler, a photo of Julia Child that she cut from a magazine years ago (because she loved her look of unadulterated joy), a shot of her and her husband while they were still dating, and a watercolor she painted as a teenager.
Get the details of Laura’s inspiring space and find out how it supports her creative flow:
You literally wrote the book on living small, why are you passionate about this lifestyle?
Living small offers so many rewards: Living in a smaller home means you’ll have more time and money—and you’ll worry less about the cost and work of keeping up a larger home. Less time spent cleaning and maintaining your home also means you’ll have more time doing the things you love. You can chip away at debt faster, retire sooner, or travel more (if and when we are all traveling again).
Finally, I believe that living small is a key step we can all take in mitigating the climate crisis. We use less energy to heat, cool, and power smaller homes. We also take up fewer resources to furnish and maintain them. When I talk about “living small” it really means having a smaller environmental footprint all around–not just living in limited square footage.
Does keeping an edited space help your creative flow? If so, how?
For me an edited, organized space does support my creative flow, but everyone is different. Having a neat and tidy desk space has always helped me focus. I find it’s worth the time to tidy up before I start working because I feel centered and prepared. However, at my last staff job, I sat next to a fellow editor (and a dear friend) who was the opposite of me: Her desk was piled high with projects and papers and she truly seemed to thrive best in the midst of it all.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I wrote most of my book at home sitting at our dining table while my husband and son were out (because my home is small I don’t have a dedicated work space, but maybe someday!). Outside of my own home, my favorite place to write is the Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library: Just being in that incredible space makes me feel like the bar is raised for the work I must do.
What inspires you creatively?
I love digital inspiration as much as everyone else, but a good design book or magazine still feels so much more satisfying to me. The World of Interiors is my long-time favorite magazine. I love all kinds of design and decorating books, but especially ones from decades past that give a glimpse into another way of living.
What do you do when you get stuck?
A run outdoors always clears my head: I wish I had the time to run every single day. If I have a problem I’m working through in my writing sometimes I’ll consciously meditate on it while I run.
What makes a house a home?
The people who live there and the memories they’ve made within its walls.