Getting to Know Seattle: High Tech Small Space

In cities like Seattle where urban space commands a premium, apartment/condo units are getting smaller — although you can hardly call them affordable. In high end units, the lack of private space is offset by large and welcoming common spaces: club rooms with fireplaces and gourmet kitchens, roof decks, bike storage rooms, workout rooms, sometimes movie/large screen tv rooms, temperature controlled wine storage rooms.

In less elite buildings, you just get your tiny space and good luck figuring out where to hang your bike or store that oversized baking dish.

You’ve probably heard of free-standing tiny homes, where design is paramount so that every interior space gets optimally used. A new Seattle building adds state of the art technology to a 500 or so square foot apartment so that instead of static design as you’d find in a tiny home, things — like your bed — move  up to the ceiling when not in use. Ditto for storage, where items are scanned as you put them away. Haven’t used that tennis racket in awhile, after you put it in the box coded as “sports equipment”? Your smart home system can ping you to ask, “Do you still want to keep the tennis racket?”

Look at all the stuff around your house, and imagine having it categorized, logged in electronically, and then stored out of sight in attractive containers that hug the ceiling and only come down when you need or want something in them. And no more hunting in drawers and on shelves for that item. Your home’s smart system knows which container you need, and gives you access.

“In the Seattle apartment, which measures just 514 square feet, the bed and storage mechanisms have been mounted in what would be considered the apartment’s living room. White in color like the ceiling and walls, they practically disappear along the 9-foot ceilings. An iPad mounted on the wall nearby serves as the nerve center, and takes information from garage-door-like depth sensors mounted high on walls facing the living room.

Activating the proper display on the touch screen turns on lights around the perimeter of the bed. The sensors make sure no one is standing beneath it — if they are it won’t lower — and soon the bed begins to come down, supported by seat-belt-type straps at each corner. In about 10 seconds, there is a queen-size bed, with comforter and pillows, sitting on the rug where there had been nothing. Push the button again, and the bed rather quietly rises back overhead.”

I have visions of a chip malfunction that would have the bed rise to the ceiling with me in it, sound asleep. 🙂

I also have to say that in my scaled-down form, I find the stuff around me comforting and homey. I’m not sure I’d want it out of sight above me, tantalizingly out of reach.

What do you think of this concept? Attractive, or far too organized for words? That’s assuming, of course, that you’re the kind of person who’d be drawn to live in 514 square feet in the first place.

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