How a professional couple and a 60-pound dog live together in 400 square feet
Nicole Mitskopoulos, 28, and Xavier Revelo, 34
Account manager; assistant professor of biology and physiology
How much: $372,000
How big: 403 square feet
For a year and a half, Nicole lived with Xavier in a 700-square-foot Liberty Village townhouse that he owns. Although they weren’t quite ready to buy a place together, Nicole wanted to break into Toronto’s housing market before Canada’s new, tighter mortgage rules made her ineligible for a loan. She had been saving up a down payment ever since she was a high school senior. “That feeling of independence was important to me,” she says.
Last summer, with a $390,000 budget, she began trawling condo listings. She was flexible on location, but she preferred newer buildings. The layouts in her price range were all the same: narrow strips that were more hallway than living space. One unit, though, was an outlier: its layout maximized its minimal square footage, it had low condo fees, and—another plus—it was in a building with a GoodLife-calibre gym. She pounced on the place the day after she viewed it. Despite a competing bid, she got it for $13,000 under asking.
Xavier didn’t want to live apart from Nicole, and he knew his townhouse would be valuable on the rental market. So he put his place up for lease and squeezed all his stuff into Nicole’s tiny new space. With the money they’re saving, they plan to buy a larger home together at some point in the future. For now, they’re content to stay put and build their nest egg.
The pair have only been living in the new condo for about a month, and they’re still getting used to the quirks of small living. Storage was one of the biggest adjustments. Nicole and Xavier donated or chucked anything they hadn’t worn or used over the past year before the move. They don’t have a locker, so they stashed a few items—like camping gear and sentimental furniture—at their parents’ houses, and they store their suitcases in their car.
“Xavier does get a bit of a raw deal,” Nicole says. “I get most of the closet space, while he has to wash his running clothes and put them straight back into his gym bag since there’s just no room.” They keep their seasonal clothes in a storage unit under their queen bed. The bed is so close to the bedroom wall that if Xavier needs to get up in the middle of the night he has no choice but to climb over Nicole:
They didn’t have the budget to buy all-new condo furniture, so some pieces are a bit larger than the space calls for. This coffee table, for instance, is bulky, but Nicole loves it because it belonged to her parents:
Nicole is into “the hygge lifestyle,” which she’s brought into her home by decorating with twinkly lights, a cozy rug, heaps of pillows and scented candles:
The couple wasn’t worried about the small space straining their relationship (they say it has actually brought them closer). They were concerned, though, about how their 60-pound pooch, Neko, would adjust. The dog has had anxiety problems in the past, and even chewed through a door at Xavier’s old place:
They bought this Furbo, an interactive dog camera that lets them spy on Neko and toss him treats remotely:
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