Tip #63: Create a common space, even a tiny one.
As the weather gets warmer, coming back to our tiny apartment has a way of making me feel just a little bit hemmed in. Where I don’t really mind the closeness in the wintertime, warmer evenings have me longing for more expansive vistas.
As delighted as I am with afternoons spent in the park, I’ve been itching for just a little bit of outdoor space that’s closer to home. I have elaborate daydreams that include reading on a chaise lounge, elderflower cocktail on a side table next to me. In my daydreams, I imagine a private little space with just enough room for me and James and whatever plate of dinner we choose to enjoy. But lately I’ve come to the conclusion that sharing wouldn’t be so bad either.
Designs for new micro-apartment buildings usually include some kind of common space. Architectural renderings show open terraces with communal tables where stylish young people gather in the evening to play card games and drink wine.
When I first began to see these drawings, I was skeptical. Aren’t New Yorkers known for their particular brand of coolness to strangers? Would neighbors really invite each other to the terrace for a rousing game of Hearts? But I’m warming to the idea. After the first few weeks of warmer weather, I’d share my terrace with just about anyone.
Our building didn’t come with any promise of common space. “Micro-apartments” here were an afterthought, sectioned off from what were once much more spacious apartments. This spring I’m doing a little experiment and doing my best to beautify what common space we do have. Those two crumbling flower boxes next to the trash bins? Filled up with sunny marigolds and violas, you don’t even notice their chipped edges. I don’t imagine that the neighbors will start inviting each other for glasses of wine next to the pile of recycling, but I do think that the tiny pop-up gardens help to foster a tiny sense of place. Which is very much better than none at all.