TV shows about real estate like to focus on the logistical side of housing, but a home’s character and design can be just as influential in a house search as the location and size. The decision comes down to what people need to feel inspired by, and what they’re willing to sacrifice. When Belinda and Joe got married in 2013, they started searching for a rental. The couple assumed they would find one of a decent size, but a place without much else to offer as homes in their neighborhood tend to be cookie-cutter new-builds. When they came upon this 500-square-foot home with quirky features in Cardiff, Wales, they instantly knew that sacrificing space for charm was important to them.
Belinda Love Lee, graphic designer and illustrator, and Joe Stratford, furniture designer and set builder, knew that they’d need to make some lifestyle and furniture changes for their home. They’ve since embraced those changes and are loving their space. “Our house is fairly small, so our living room (also dining room and kitchen) needed to be maximized in space simply because we’d wouldn’t have room otherwise. Since I work from home it was of even more importance to us that we made the rooms work for our needs, not the other way around,” Belinda says. “I’m literally at home 24/7, so I need for the space to inspire me, instead of it feeling like the walls are caving in on me.” Belinda and Joe have chosen to use small-in-scale and minimal-in-quantity pieces to furnish their little home.
Some of the pieces in their space were designed and made by Joe. “I think the best part about us making home together, is that we literally made it ourselves. Joe being a furniture designer is obviously a huge plus, as we get to make pieces [to] fit our 500-square-foot home,” Belinda says. “As we’re both creatives, when making home, the aesthetics and designing choice matter most to us. We want our home to reflect our own personalities and design styles. Thankfully, we’ve made home on a budget, with Joe’s [handiwork] we can pretty much custom-make any furniture to fit our tiny home.” And all of that custom work is well worth it — the couple’s airy and ideally quaint home inspires both Belinda and Joe’s professions with its simple beauty. –Lauren
Photography by Belinda Love Lee