Category Archives: Life


Let’s get a few things out of the way, yes?

1) Yes, I’m alive.

2) No, I haven’t given up on TINAH, despite having not posted, pinned, Instagrammed or Facebooked a single damn thing in well over a month.

3) Yes, I’m sorry about that.

4) No, I won’t give you a back rub to prove my sincerity, so you can put away the essential oils and that Sade album because it won’t be happening no matter how much I enjoy essential oils or Sade.

5) Yes, I let the holidays have their way with me and that’s partly to blame for my recent absence. Even though we’re well into February I still feel as if I’ve been hit by a motor vehicle called a truck! It occurred to me when I was home in California, whilst starring longingly into a bowl of linguine and clams, that Shonda Rhimes didn’t write off Katherine Heigl from television all those years ago for me to not eat carbohydrates during my week off for Christmas. She did it to make the world a better place; a place where one can enjoy the food of his ancestors without having to disclose how many sticks of butter he put in the cream sauce or whether or not he peeled the casings from the logs of dried salami before ingesting them. I’m good 51 weeks out of the year, you guyz! I’m so good, in fact, that on December 23rd I gave in, put on my eatin’ poncho and let my carnal desires run wild in an attempt to celebrate the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior, Ms. Rhimes, black Jesus, and exalt the self-control I practice throughout the other 358 days of the year. It was, to put it simply and without any hyperbole, a religious experience of the highest order, like how that Brazilian guy must’ve felt when a bunch of other dudes started saying to him, “Oh hey, Pope.” I come from a family of boisterous spaghetti heads who believe the nutritional pyramid consists of only three food groups (Grains [pasta] Vegetables [garlic] and Anchovies [anchovies]), and they enjoy cured meat almost as much as they do original sin. Gorging yourself on delicacies in an Italian family like mine means taking your life in your own hands. They’re also game hunters, too, and I’ve never been one to turn down homemade elk sausage. It was a marathon of family, feasts, and farts, y’all, and I’m still recovering from it.

6) No, all that still didn’t stop me from polishing off a tin of those Danish butter cookies.

7) Yes, you should buy stock in Royal Dansk because I actually ate 3.

8) No, I don’t really have anything new or exciting to report. How boring, you must be thinking. Why do I even read this dumb blog, you’re probably pondering. It’s a wonder you even have a job considering your list of employable skills is shorter than a casting call for ‘Willow :The Musical’, I’m now thinking. The sad, cold truth is that I am employed and work has been busy. Unfortunately that hasn’t left me with a free second to think about let alone accomplish some of my own projects. But I’m not going to whine about it! No. I am an adult! And being an adult means sacrificing your dreams and aspirations to earn money and convince those around you that you’re successful and happy. I don’t enjoy coming home every night to a lonely pair of staple pliers lying on my kitchen counter. I know I won’t be reupholstering anything tomorrow or this weekend or the even the weekend after that! It’s infuriating! I saw on Twitter the other day someone wrote, “Remember, you have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé!” and I wanted to punch whoever thought of that in their dumb neck because that is not true nor is it helpful. I do not have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé. Beyoncé is in the Illuminati and everyone knows the Illuminati controls space and time. In one day she can shoot five music videos and record nine albums. I, however, can eat lunch and squeak out an email or two if I’m lucky. There are plenty of things I have to do which Beyoncé doesn’t that fill up my day faster than hers. Beyoncé doesn’t have to do her laundry. Beyoncé doesn’t have to walk her dog three times a day. Beyoncé doesn’t have to plan her meals for the week and make them all on a Sunday so when Monday morning rolls around and she’s running late she has one less thing to worry about. Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé UGH! I wish I could pack up and move somewhere new, like the French countryside where no one knows my name or my backstory, to open a small chocolate shop and spend my days winning over the townsfolk with the sugary confections I make from my grandmother’s mystical recipes and my nights would be filled with dancing along the riverbank with a handsome gypsy man and listening to drunk Judy Dench espousing life lessons! What a dream that would be!

9) Yes, I watched Chocolat over the Christmas break AND I STILL LOVE IT. I recommend you do the same. It’s just so good.

10) No, I don’t think I’ll ever do something as impulsive as move to France in pursuit whimsy and passion, but it’s fun to think about.

11) Yes, I consider myself the male Juliette Binoche.

12) No, I’m not sure when the blog will be having it’s 2.0 moment. I’ve been saying it for awhile now on Facebook that TINAH will be getting a facelift–and it will–but it’s too soon to really know when. I gripe about the layout constantly in my own head, but since I’m the only one in there no one else really knows that I do. If any one of you little cuties out there want to take a crack at it I welcome the help! For whatever reason we have a lot of readers in Russia and isn’t Russia just full of computer geniuses? (Hi Russian hackers plz don’t hack me long live Putin!)

13) Yes, I am as disappointed as you are that I’ve been so slack about documenting my goings-on, on here and all the other platforms. I think nowadays we’re in the mindset that, whatever we do, if we aren’t posting it online it isn’t happening. I feel that way a lot of the time! After the holiday break, though, I came back to New York and it was so quiet. The streets were calm, which is very rare during that time of year, or maybe I was calm having just spent a week surrounded by family. I don’t know. I had a few more days to myself before going back to work and in that time I took on a few side projects for friends. It wasn’t anything noteworthy–nothing I had to post online–but that’s why I liked doing them. I had these prefect four days of running around the city, gathering materials, meeting shop owners and craftspeople and I didn’t write any of it down. I got to focus on the one-on-one interactions. I don’t always allow myself to do that very often. It was a nice change of pace.

14) No, I’m not becoming a big softy.

15) Yes, I will punch you in the neck if you call me a big softy.

16) No, I don’t believe this blog is devolving into a masturbatory examination of my insecurities disguised as a funny point/counterpoint list-based inner monologue WHY DO YOU? WELL THEN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONCERN BUT WHEN I WANT YOUR OPINION I WILL ASK FOR IT.

17) Yes, sometimes I think I can be a little hard on my readers and I’m so, so sorry and you’re all so pretty and please please please just love me unconditionally ayyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!11!!111111!

So, that should be it, right? I think I’ve answered all the questions anyone could possibly have. If there’s anything else you know where to find me, you monsters:

Butterfly kisses,



What is the most hot button issue at the moment? ISIS? The US job market? The allegations against Bill Cosby? Obama’s controversial use of his executive power? NO. IF YOU SAID YES TO ANY OF THOSE YOU WOULD BE WRONG AND DUMB. NONE OF THOSE ARE AS IMPORTANT AS THE CORRECT ANSWER WHICH IS HOW SOON AFTER THANKSGIVING CAN WE START CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAZE???

To get to the bottom of this question I had to investigate, partly because I liken the work I do on this site to that of a hard-hitting and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, the primary duty of which is to seek out and report the truth as completely and independently as possible while wearing sexy nerd glasses, but mostly because I had a little too much rosé one night while I was watching Broadcast News and got lonely:

“Give it a week, hon. Everyone needs a chance recharge their batteries before the tree goes up and you start playing Christmas music. Is everything all right?” — my mom

“I think a week is probably good. What are you doing? I’m hearing a lot of clinking in the background? Hello?” — my cousin

“I’d say 3 weeks or so. Not until the 15th. You don’t want to get burnt out before New Years. I’m guessing you’re not coming in tomorrow, yes?” — my coworker

“It’s tradition in my family to get the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving so I’d say just a few days. I’m in full celebration mode by the end of November, for sure. By the way everyone on our floor can hear you weeping.” — my neighbor


From my exhaustive research I found that between one and two weeks after Thanksgiving is generally considered a safe and socially acceptable distance to begin your Yuletide thuggery, but if you’re like me and have no self-control you can instead begin playing Mariah Carey and drinking peppermint lattes in the privacy of your own home while you set your holiday-themed post to publish on the 5th of December (even though you wrote it the Tuesday before you bought your turkey, back in the beginning of November) so as not to appear over eager or mentally questionable. That is how you win at life, little drummer boys and girls.

Now that you’re well in the spirit, below are the steps to ensure you have the best holiday season ever, or at the very least to guarantee you get what you want out of your loved ones without having to send them your Amazon wishlist:

1. Christmas music. That’s all you play from now until the 31st. You shouldn’t have a hard time retiring Beyoncé‘s Platinum Edition for a little while because it only really consisted of one new song and doesn’t she have enough already? BYE FELICIA, HELLO BING.

2. Buy lots of pine scented candles. There’s nothing more luxurious and merry than a house that smells like an expensive forest. Don’t worry if you can’t use them all before the season’s done. Burn them during your next seance.

3. Find a really good gingerbread recipe and make a ton of cookies. It has to be gingerbread, though. See, chances are you’re a terrible cook and will ruin them, but because it’s Christmastime no one can turn down a seasonal treat, even a burnt one. To do so would be like desecrating the baby Jesus and that’s a thing that everyone knows. They have to smile and say thank you irrespective of how it tastes so as not to piss off God. Use this to your advantage. Make some gingerbread, give a box to your super/mail carrier/boyfriend you’re not that into and watch them flail about in the frustrating catch-22 you’ve created for them. Save your year-end tips for something useful, like Candy Crush lives or Twitter followers.

4. Go buy a tree. Fake ones are fine but if you go fake really GO FAKE. Christmas trees should either be real and aromatic and sticky with sap or metallic and shiny and made from some kind of flammable polyester. There is no room this holiday season for a boring reusable spruce from the Kathy Ireland Collection. There is, however, lots of room for a tree from Dirrty By Christina Aguilera For Hot Topic!

5. Invite your friends over to help decorate your tree. Play your Christmas music. Light your candles. Put out your cookies. Enchant those dummies with your festive mise-en-scène so they are tricked into doing all the work for you while you sit on the couch guzzling egg nog and watching The Holiday.

6. Watch The Holiday. 5, maybe 17 times. Cry every goddamn time. Make sure your greedy friends don’t eat all of your delicious cookies because you need a few for when the movie ends and you realize you’ll never end up with Jude Law With Hair or a small English cottage like Kate Winslet’s.

7. Don’t wait for a free Saturday to do your holiday shopping. Take a long lunch one Tuesday when the stores are less crowded and treat yourself to a stress-free experience. Weekend shopping is for poor people and criminals. Weekday afternoon shopping is for the elite! And don’t forget to buy something for yourself while you’re out. You’ve earned it. You made cookies and oversaw the trimming of an actual tree in your actual home.

8. Curl up and watch a holiday special. They always do the trick!

9. But stay away from holiday specials on the Hallmark Channel. If A Charlie Brown Christmas is like a warm glass of mulled wine then whatever’s on Hallmark is like a bladder of Franzia in a dumpster behind a CVS in Scottsdale.

10. Go caroling. This will be a great vocal warm-up for when Maddie Ziegler injures her knee and Sia approaches you about joining her Grammys performance and while on stage she spontaneously lets you sing the second chorus of Chandelier and you KILL IT and you look so fierce in your leotard and wig that the world finally sees what you’ve known all along: That you are a dangerous triple threat.

11. Buy boxes upon boxes of candy canes. Hand them out as you walk up and down the subway platforms and yell “FOUR FOR YOU GLEN COCO! YOU GO, GLEN COCO!” Those who laugh and accept them are the true meaning of Christmas. Become friends with them and never let them leave your sight.

12. Write a letter to Santa and leave it out for someone to see. Be cute about it, almost infantile, to the point where the person who finds it may question whether you are suppressing deep, traumatic childhood memories. Talk about how excited you are for Christmas to come, ask the big guy what kind of milk he likes and mention that you won’t forget to put out some carrots for his reindeer! End your letter by writing “and if I don’t get an iPhone 6 I will kill myself.” Patiently wait for your iPhone 6.

Follow these steps to the letter, my red-nosed creatures, and be ready to receive the bounty that will be your holiday season.

A quick note to all my Jewish readers: I come from a strong Italian Catholic family and I am a product of my upbringing. I don’t know any better. When I was a kid my parents flocked our trees and Christmas morning I woke up to a stocking filled with beef jerky. On Christmas Eve we put red wine in our Diet Cokes and on Christmas Day we made ravioli. This is all to say, I am so far removed from knowing anything about Chanukah that if I attempted to relate to your experience I would undoubtedly commit a hate crime. I’m just a dumb spaghetti head from California living in New York. Please don’t take it personally.


September 12, 2014

Hi all,

Just a brief note. Nothing of consequence. No tips. No witticisms. No sage advice. I only want to express my enthusiasm for this totally new method of interacting with human Earth people called social media.

I only mention this because it wasn’t my decision to use any other platform to communicate my alarming talent and devastatingly handsome and not-at-all-recessed chin to the world. In fact I was forced by an evil television network to do it, so it comes as a surprise to me that I’m actually enjoying something I can’t honestly say I thought to do myself.

In truth, I’m having a few shits and a handful of giggles with some of these things and it’s due in no small part to the opportunity it has created for me to talk to the amazing and wonderful womens and mens who take the time to read this blog.

That being said, here’s now a plug. Don’t let that negate the genuine sentiment contained above; that’s just how these things work. It’s a tit for tat kind of environment here at TINAH and I’m feeling very chesty:






Evan (El Jefe)

TINAH HQ, New York


P.S. Unforeseen consequence of interaction with social media: HASHTAGS. For whatever reason #loveme and #youmonster have emerged as the most often used. This may be because I’m needy and have a flair for the dramatic, but initial results have come back inconclusive and more testing will need to be done before a diagnosis can be made. In service of trying to find answers I will do my best to limit myself to only these two and I promise not to become a monster myself when they start to dominate all platforms and trend worldwide. Good day.


photo 2

This post started as “In Praise Of A Well-Organzied Medicine Cabinet”, but then I thought about it and that just sounds so awful. Writing an entire entry on how to style your dental floss and display your foot scrub is the rantings of an enormous dick nipple, and while I’m not above Goop-ifying my blog from time to time I cannot in all good conscience pass up the opportunity to acknowledge how neurotic I am as a adult human man who buys ceramic trays on which to rest electric razors.

This post will be obnoxious. You will roll your eyes. Twice, if not three times. I know this and I want you to know I know this, which is why I’m playing D this go-around.

Below is a list of slop questions I assume you jerk nuggets would ask. I will do my best to answer them in my typically witty and intelligent fashion while also satisfying your insatiable need to know about how to declutter and style the most important cabinet in your mom’s life.

I invite you to join me in the hysterical laughter:

Q: So confused. What should be in a medicine cabinet?

A: OK, first, your thinly veiled sarcasm is not appreciated and, second, how dare you, sir. Medicine cabinets are for your crazy pills and other day-to-day necessities, like hair product, cologne and, if you’re like me, the copious amounts of condoms you burn through on a weekly basis (obviously). Medicine cabinets are not for your mouthwash bottle collection, that free body scrub you got with your purchase of $50 or more at the Estee Lauder counter, or those large Band Aids you think you might need if you ever get into a motorcycle accident the same day your insurance lapses and the terrorists have destroyed all the hospitals. That stuff should not be in there. If you don’t use a product with any regularity it really has no place, and if you think it does then you’re a hoarder. Go to the Container Store, get one of those dollar shoe boxes, fill it with all that unnecessary junk and put it under the sink. Then go call A&E because your Listerine collection is scary and someone should film you with it.

Q: I may not use everything in my cabinet every day, but things like aspirin and ointment I use once a week or so. What do I do with that stuff, Paltrow?

A: So, while you’re at the Container Store buying your shoe box garbage buckets, pick up some of these fantastic lacquered boxes. They’re great for all the stuff you use occasionally but don’t need every day. I recommend a solid container for this stuff rather than a translucent one. It’ll keep things streamlined and tidy by hiding all those eye-rapey logos, ensuring your secrets will be safe when house guests riffle through your stuff during a dinner party. This way no one but you will know you use butt cream every now and again. (I mean, ointment? What’s that about?)

Q: Putting aspirin in a box is dumb. I don’t want to lift a lid and rummage around for that stuff. You’re dumb. This blog is dumb.

A: You don’t take aspirin every day. If you do, go see a doctor because you probably have a brain tumor and will die soon. I suggest cutting down on the Diet Coke now and giving yourself a shot at reaching 30. Then grow a pair and reconcile the fact that to have a clean, decluttered cabinet you may have to lift a lid or two. It’ll add a few seconds to your pill party, tops. Nothing great was ever achieved by being lazy. Unless you’re Garfield or Terry Kiser.


A: To start, please address me as El Jefe or nothing at all, and El Jefe feels you on the residual whiskers. They’re pervasive and insidious and no matter how well you’ve cleaned your razor a stray one will always appear from underneath your toothbrush and cause you to gag. Stop these annoying stubble abortions from collecting on your shelves and hustle your buns over to Muji! They have these beautiful ceramic cups and trays to hold your face mowers and round up all the hair so you won’t have to pull everything out and wipe the cabinet shelves down with a wet rag every other week (or every other month since I know some of you are dirty, dirty little squirrels). If you’re like me and can barely afford the WiFi you’re blogging on you can thrift some vintage double shot glasses. I did and they work great for my tweezers and (sadly) nose clippers.

Q: When will you be posting nudes?

A: Soon, if my readership doesn’t improve.

Q: I don’t collect mouthwash but I do use it. What does that mean in the perverse and suppressive world you live in?

A: Good question! I, too, use mouthwash, not because I find it humbling to be like the commoners, but because I like a crisp set of chompers before I leave for work in the morning. I’m only human! But what makes me a better human? The fact that I don’t want to open my medicine cabinet to a bunch of screaming, metallic labels (read: CAPITALISM). Nope. I don’t want to see that mess. Instead I pour my teeth soap into a small unmarked container, and I do the same with my face wash and toner. Sure, that’s fussy, but I’ve been in some of your bathrooms and I’ve opened your drawers and that gallon jug of hydrogen peroxide makes me think you’re a serial killer.

The moral of the story is if you don’t want people to think you killed and skinned your neighbor go get a couple of these cheap-o bottles from Ricky’s and stop whining. Maybe even have fun with it and decorate them a little or something. I don’t know. Go wild. What do I care?

Q: I can’t with you.

A: That was really more of a statement but 😉

Q: OK, I’ll bite but only because I find your pretension to be an adorable character flaw and you should be pitied, not mocked. What are some things that can class up the traditional medicine cabinet?

A: That may be the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me! Thank you for your words, kitten. This question hits my sweet spot: pomp and circumstance. Medicine cabinets are so…clinical. Traditionally they’re not very stylish or fun at all, so I try to zhuzh it up a little, you know, and have fun with it. I shave with an old timey razor (this one from Baxter of California) because it makes me feel like Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, and  next to it I keep a small hand mirror my Dad carried with him during his service. Years ago I had a framed picture of Whoopi in my medicine cabinet, but that was really just to let my friends know that I knew they were snooping.

Q: I weeded out all the stuff I don’t use daily and I still have, like, 18 thingies of pomade. I have the pre-conditioning paste, the root wax, the mineral relaxer, the detoxifying gel, the gluten-free diary-free hormone-fee stem cell-infused thickening spray, the tea tree glue, the frizz-reducing lotion, the shine-enhancing serum and the top coat. I need them. I NEED THEM ALL TO LEAVE THE HOUSE.

A: Mindy Kaling summed up my thoughts on this in book she wrote that almost no one has read or even heard of. On men’s grooming, she said:

“Kiehl’s for your skin, Bumble and Bumble for your hair. Maybe a comb. That is all you need. and when girls look in your medicine cabinet (which they will obviously do within the first five minutes of them coming to your place), you look all classily self restrained because you only have two beauty products. You’re basically a cowboy.” *

I fully subscribe to this celestial way of thinking. Let’s all be sexy cowboys! You don’t need all that other stuff anyway and with it gone your medicine cabinet will join the ranks among some of the best (mine).

I’m of course only talking to the men. Ladies, I don’t know what to do about you because I’ve never been one of you, but I kind of feel the same. No one needs all that product. Trust in your natural beauty and join the guys. Be lady cowboys.

*Or something like that. I don’t know. Go buy her book and read it for yourself. I’m sure she’s struggling and could use the income.

Q: My mom always said not to have glass in the bathroom. That’s why I have bar soap in a plastic travel container and my cotton balls stay in the drug store bag.

A: You and your mom are complete savages. No glass in the bathroom? YOU WERE RAISED BY WOLVES. Crate & Barrel has some great vessels (yes, vessels) to store your q-tips, cotton pads and swabs and whatever else you might want to drag along your face. Their kitchen section is enormous, which is really the place you should be looking for affordable glass containers. All that bathroom-specific garbage is a snooze and over-priced but something from the pantry can fit nicely and is half the cost.


That’s it. I think I’ve squeezed enough blood from this stone. If you’ve gotten this far you can brag to your friends that you’ve read the greatest entry so far into the World Wide Web. If you liked this post, do nothing. If you found this post to be the antithesis of everything good and holy on the planet then please email me for my bank account and routing number. I’ll only stop if you pay me.

You’re welcome and good day.



**9/12/14 UPDATE! You’re not imagining things. The link to my heartbreaking, soul-searing, enlightening and uncomfortably sexual interview is no longer live. Something about Al Jazeera America not being able to handle the high volume of traffic created by bedroom eyes or something, but I have put in a request with the top brass to get this fixed. In the meantime, I heard the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is decent and streaming on Hulu. Why not give that a whirl?**

If you follow This Is Not A House on social media* (often referred to as the acronym TINAH, or the more illustrative interpretation Tina!, by industry insiders) you would know I recently had the honor of being included in a report for Al Jazeera America’s “Real Money With Ali Velshi” on the burgeoning trend in housing development called micro-housing; an effort to combat high property costs by offering smaller, more manageable and less expensive apartments ranging from 250 to 350sf for middle to low-income individuals. (So, like, all of us.) Often times these developments integrate the use of common areas, such as kitchens, between the units to maximize each apartment’s living space and as such the movement has garnered the less-than-glamorous qualifier “dorm-style housing”.

Now, at 295sf, I’ve made no bones about my apartment being small. You know this because you read this site and because I love you and I am not a liar. So while my place may be smaller than most but bigger than some I’m not the authority on dorm-style living, which, in my not-so-humble opinion, would be a misnomer if we’re talking about my PALATIAL stabbin’ cabin, OK? Furthermore, on the list of things I am not, certified to speak on the divisive issue of micro-housing would be right up there at the top. Just below Able To Control His Sweats and Night Farting. Those things I have absolutely no right to talk about. At all. Seriously.

This is all to say that my inclusion in Real Money’s package does not mean I consider myself to be a voice of reason about anything other than designing for a small space. (Or How To Look Uneasy At The Camera While Holding Your Arms Outstretched. As you can see from the video above I do that well, my friends.) What Al Jazeera needed, among the dense and valuable socioeconomic dialogue about micro-housing, was just a breath, the journalistic equivalent of a Kardashian–pretty and hollow. Some eye candy for the viewers. That was me, plain and simple, and I was happy to take that on.

This is how the pitch went when I received a call from the segment producer:

Al Jazeera America: Hello, is this Evan?

Me: This is he. And who may I ask has the pleasure of speaking to him?

AJA: Um, this is Al Jazeera Am–

Me: YES!

AJA: Excuse me?

Me: Yes.

AJA: You don’t even know why I’m calling.

Me: You work for a television station, yes?

AJA: Yes.

Me: Then yes.


AJA: Uh, ok, so we’re doing a segment on micro-housing–a really polarizing issue right now–and I understand you live in a small-ish apartment that you’ve designed yourself and I’m wondering if you’d like to talk about designing for a small space.

Me: I’d love to be the moral compass of your timely and controversial piece.

AJA: Uh, no, no we really just–

Me: Your port in the storm!

AJA: Actually I’d just like to film you texting from your bedside and be done with it.

Me: I can cry on command.

AJA: Thank you but–

Me: Will this get me my SAG card?

AJA: No.

Me: I’m not Equity but I’ll need you to make me Equity.

AJA: So, like, how’s Tuesday?

Me: Hey, hard-hitting news producer! HEY. You and I both know you need some man bacon in this segment.

AJA: I think you have the wrong idea.

Me: SHH-SH-SH! Don’t speak. Just listen. I get it. I understand the power a little T&A has over an audience. I am willing–NAY–offering to give you all you need and more…

AJA: Well, great, thank you.

Me: ..for a price.

AJA: We can’t pay you.

Me: I never work for free.

AJA: We’re a news show. We don’t do that kind of thing.

Me: Fine. Will there be craft service?

AJA: No.

Me: Do I get to keep the clothes?

AJA: You have to wear your own.

Me: So what’s in it for me?

AJA: Some blotting papers.

Me: I. AM. IN. Tell your camera monkeys to only film me from my left side!

[Phone clicks]

Me: ‘Ello?

[Dial tone]

Anyway, that’s how it all went down. The day when a credible news source soiled their good name by giving a little air time to some idiot with a blog has come. Check Hell because it hath frozen over. Enjoy!

*This Is Not A House is now on all social media platforms! Give it a follow! Currently things are a little sparse because I just got my mind grapes together and made all the accounts, but I promise in time they will be robust and well worth the effort to read. Also, wouldn’t it be cool to start communicating in real time instead of me writing a blog entry once a month? Now you can tell me instantaneously how obnoxious you find me! Try it. It will make you feel much better, I promise!


As I mentioned in my previous post my DIY libido has been a little low lately. I look around my apartment and I see a lot of things I want to tackle–bathroom renovation, patio facelift, custom planters, new hallway fixture, new fence, new kitchen cabinets, new doors, NEW EVERYTHING. When you’re a renter like me some of this stuff is realistic and maybe some of it’s not, but all of it is most definitely overwhelming when you can’t to take a step back and break it up into manageable bits. I Want It All Done And I Want It All Done Now is the common M.O. of someone who struggles with patience and rationality and their undeniable lovechild, prioritization. A sane, productive person would look at a mountainous pile of To Do’s and set small achievable goals. Then they’d begin chipping away at it, brick by brick, project by project, until the task is completed, always keeping in mind that the whole is only as great and the sum of its parts. But what do you, the restless, self-doubting, self-sabotaging person, end up doing? Buckle under the enormous pressure to finish everything by planting yourself in bed, hoping to drink red wine and watch Bob’s Burgers but really playing Candy Crush, staining your sheets red and hating yourself for not giving your full attention to Bob’s Burgers.

Of these two types of people, Type A and Type Human Landfill, I will forever be the latter. It’s my birthright. That kind of destructive behavior is never going away.

Here’s an example of the dialogue I have with myself every evening, upon walking in the door from work: 

Smart Evan: Hm, my place looks pretty damn good. Go me! [Grunting] 

Dumb Evan: What are you doing? 

Resourceful Evan: Trying to get this dresser I found on the street through the door! Can you get the other side, Daddy-o? 

Unimaginative Evan: No. 

Sane Evan: [sweating] Whew! That was heavy! I can’t wait to start sanding this down. It’s going to look great over there in the corner.

Stupid Evan: Mother of God.

Rational Evan: What’s that?

Destructive Evan: [stepping into the hallway] I said, there’s a half-painted flower pot over there that should be a fully-painted flower pot.

Rational: Oh, you! I see that but I’m not in a rush, mister man! I’m letting it dry completely before applying a second coat, otherwise it may streak or chip. Duh!

Destructive: I see. And that pile of salvaged wood out by the patio? That must be waiting for a second coat, too?

Rational: No, you silly-ba-nilly! The wood is there for when I start building the fence. But before I can do that I need to get these pots done. And then after the fence I’m going to do this dresser. You are too funny!

Destructive: Ooooh, ok ok ok. Got it got it gooot iiit. Because, like, I didn’t know if you were actually trying to accomplish something or just auditioning for the next season of Hoarders.

Rational: No way, Jose! What’s Hoarders?

Destructive: Yea! You know it’s that show where people can’t stop saving things and it piles up and up and up and eventually they bury themselves alive in their own, like, mausoleum of junk and broken dreams?

Rational: Um….huh?

Destructive: No no no, it’s not a big thing I’m just saying, like, if you need someone to film your submission tape I’m more than happy to do it. We just need a few more paint cans and secondhand wicker dining chairs and you’ll be golden.

Rational: I’m sensing some sarcasm.

Destructive. What? PFFF! Fat chance, Lance! No sarcasm here.

Rational: Ok…

Destructive: I mean, ok, there was a tinsy bit of sarcasm.

Rational: I knew it–

Destructive: –you don’t need any more paint cans or secondhand wicker dining chairs. You have enough already.

Rational: It’s not that bad.

Destructive: Hey, who am I to judge, right? Today I had guacamole and chips for breakfast. Lemme just ask you this: are you really going to get this all done?

Rational: Well, that’s the plan…

Destructive: Because I’m ALL FOR you getting it done, don’t get me wrong…

Rational: …but…

Destructive: …BUUUUUUUT it just seems like, you know, all I see is an apartment full of half finished projects and projects that haven’t even been started and projects that even if you wanted to start you wouldn’t have the room to start because the half finished ones are taking up all the available space.

Rational: I….I can see that, sure.

Destructive: And, you know, I’m just looking out for YOU.

Rational: I…appreciate that.

Destructive: Because, hey, lemme tell you right now buddy it’s not normal to have a shipping palette in your bathroom.



Destructive: Whoa.

Rational: I’m sorry. I’m so stressed. I want to die all of the deaths.

Destructive: Shhhhh. Shh-shh-shhhhh. There there. You don’t need to be stressed.

Rational: I don’t?

Destructive: No. Just sit down. Relax. Drop your bag and lay down on the bed. [Goes into the kitchen]

Rational: Ok.

Destructive: Red or white?

Rational: What?

Destructive: Do you want a glass of wine? To unwind?

Rational: Oh. Sure. Yes, that does sound nice. Red, please.

Destructive: Great. [Returns to the bed] Here you go. Poor baby. You’re so exhausted.

Rational: I really am.

Destructive: Would you like me to turn on the TV, see what’s on?

Rational: That’s perfect.

Destructive: Netflix?

Rational: Mmm, yes.

Destructive: Bob’s Burgers is streaming. Sound good?

Irrational: You’re the best.

And so it’s been going, every night for the past few months. Rational Evan eventually caves and willingly, cooly and numbly falls into the warm, cozy embrace of Destructive Evan’s clutches, or what is commonly referred to in my home as The Cabernet Haze.

It was after this last stretch of The Haze that I realized my creativity boner would need a little Viagra if I was ever going to get back on track and stockpiling old futon frames in the corner of my living room again. What I needed was the movie equivalent of a nerdy girl makeover–low effort, high impact–like when Molly Ringwald pulls back Ally Sheedy’s hair to reveal she has a jaw or when a girl discovers contacts and snags Freddie Prinze Jr. [SIDE NOTE: Try getting that Six Pence None The Richer song out of your head now. I dare you.]

I sat in my bed for a long while, looking around my apartment with a discerning eye, before it jumped out at me as if to say, “HELLO, MORON,” like a stripped sweater in a Where’s Waldo book:

Say what you will about IKEA but this Hemnes dresser has been a stalwart–A STALWART, I TELL YOU. To be unabashedly hyperbolic, it is, without a doubt, the William Wallace of my apartment because for three hundred bucks and half a dozen meatballs no other piece of furniture in this shack is as much of a warrior, OK? (Sorry, Design Within Reach. I’m still available for sponsorship. This post can and will be deleted without hesitation.) But, despite it’s redurlability–that’s durability and reliability (you’re welcome)–I think we can all agree its monochromaticity is a little bit like a wet fart, no? A big brown mess that just kinda runs all over the floor.

Cue Home Depot:

No, this is not the back of an issue of Highlights; the knobs are a different color! What a novel idea, right? I AM A DESIGN GURU.

But seriously–honestly–look at those brass beauties and what a difference they make. Then look in the mirror and tell yourself a well-deserved I Could’ve Done That because you can and you should and it’s ridiculous that for *$20 you can justify having a blog about home design.

Anyway, that’s the show, kids. I hope the heavy fireworks delivered. Knobs. Unscrewing old ones and screwing on new ones. Who would’ve guessed? It may not seem like a lot (and it’s not) but it was what I needed to put that spring back in my step.

*If you can claim you found the knobs were mislabeled the whole abysmally unskilful project can come in under ten bucks, but the money you save you will pay for with your pride. This comes from a trusted source. My pride is worth ten whole dollars.


James Lipton: This evening’s guest has not performed with distinction on stage, nor has he created a dazzling array of portraits in film or on television. He has not been nominated for an Academy Award, a Tony, an Olivier or an Emmy–not even a Golden Globe and they try to get rid of those things like Smarties on Halloween. He will never be ranked in People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People issue. In fact, his career has had very little impact on our cultural landscape or our collective conscious, but in light of Bravo’s wildly successful series “Drunk White Women And The Plastic Surgeons Who Tolerate Them” and their equally popular shows “Bitch, Please!”, “Young, Dumb & Full Of Cum” and the viewer-interactive “Guess Which Underwear I Was Wearing But Am Not Now” production on the 20th season of “Inside The Actors Studio” has been delayed until further notice or until I have agreed to address Andy Cohen as “hunty” in development meetings. Needless to say my current hiatus has forced me to turn my journalistic eye from the talented and famous to the unknown hacks of the Internet.

And with that, The Actors Studio at Pace University is proud to welcome Evan Pohl.

[Light applause]

Evan Pohl: [Walking on stage] Thank you! Thank you for having me!! [Bends in a ceremonial bow, palms together in front of chest] Thank you!! Hello, Pace University!! How are you tonight?!?


JL: [James Lipton clears his throat] We begin at the beginning.

EP: [Sits] Great, I’m so excited to start!

JL: Where were you born?

EP: California!

JL: What is your father’s name?

EP: Jeff!

JL: And what was his profession?

EP: He was a teacher. Math and Physical Education.

JL: And your mother’s name?

EP: Claire.

JL: Her occupation?

EP: Dental assistant.

JL: [James Lipton squints his eyes, accusingly] And where have you been?

EP: You mean, tonight? I was backstage! Sitting on a milk crate. I asked your producer for a chair but he said I didn’t deserve one…

JL: And he would be right but, no, I mean recently. You haven’t posted to your blog, This Is Not A House, in 4 months. Where have you been?

EP: Oh. Eesh! [Hooks one finger around his neck and pulls the collar dramatically] This is awkward! I thought you were just gonna ask me about my life and stuff and then I’d get to tell you my favorite curse word. I wasn’t really expecting—

JL: Yes, well, your readers weren’t really expecting you to fall off the side of a cliff but you did and now you’re here so let me ask it again: Where. Have You. Been.

EP: I don’t know. I guess I was a little busy?

JL: Busy.

EP: Sort of?

JL: [James Lipton turns to the audience] Students, Mr. Pohl says he was too busy to update his blog for months on end. [Back to Evan] Yet, as you can see, they, along with followers of this blog, are not too busy to give you their undivided attention. Isn’t that correct?

EP: Well, when you say it like that…

JL: I believe I did, Less Handsome Bob Vila. I believe I did.

EP: [swallows hard] I would really—

JL: Let’s cut straight to the meat of it, shall we?

EP: [uneasy] Ok.

JL: You tack some arrows to a fence and call it a garden. You sand some wood and call it a table. You peel some stickers and call it wallpaper.

EP: Um, I think there’s been a little more to it than that.

JL: No. That wasn’t a question. [James Lipton laughs GREGARIOUSLY] Answer me this, Mr. Pohl: you seem to contribute very little yet expect much more in return. In point of fact your absence from this blog shows an embarrassing lack of rigor in your career, wouldn’t you agree?

EP: Not at all!

JL: I believe it was Thoreau who said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” What is your truth, Mr. Pohl?

EP: My…truth.

JL: Let me read some reviews: About your blog The Daily Beast wrote, “a glue gun and some Wi-Fi does not a DIYer make!” Ariana Huffington was quoted as saying, “…this is a place where words and ideas go to die,” and Vulture said, “…[This Is Not A House] is the musings of a drunk baby.” What do you have to say to that?

EP: I would say that’s a little rough.

JL: [James Lipton, again, LAUGHS IN A GREGARIOUS MANNER] One notable author even went so far as to say, “Evan Pohl has no formal literary education. He is so unqualified to be a writer he is the Augusten Burroughs of the Internet.”

EP: Who said that?

JL: Augusten Burroughs.

EP: OK ENOUGH! Enough already! I get it, all right? Yes, I was gone for a bit and yes I didn’t update the blog regularly. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working hard and beating myself up over not posting more often. You see, we had a pretty shitty winter here in New York. It was hard and it was really snow-filled and there is nothing–absolutely nothing–you’d rather do less than hunt for gutter furniture and refinish chairs on your patio when there is a foot of powder outside your window. Then the snow started to melt and work picked up. [Heartfelt now] It was like the spring thaw gave way to the budding seedlings of new opportunities! Suddenly I had other projects on my plate. Before I knew it I had a few clients and I wasn’t just thinking about myself anymore. I was making quantifiable changes in the lives of others! I could see it and I could touch it and I couldn’t deny the fact that the people I was working with liked me. Right then, they liked me! And it gave me…purpose, I suppose. I guess I got a bit addicted to that feeling. As a result, I let a few of my other responsibilities fall by the wayside, and I’m truly sorry for that.

[There is a long pause.]





[Even longer still.]


JL: Cut the shit Sally Field you didn’t update your blog because you came down with a slight case of seasonal affective disorder!

EP: Fine. Maybe.

[James Lipton squints.]

EP: Can we get to the questions from the pretentious French—

JL: —WE END THIS INTERVIEW—[James Lipton calms himself] with the questionnaire, which was employed for 26 glorious years by Bernard Pivot in France. Evan, what is your favorite word?

EP: Dinner.

JL: What is your least favorite word?

EP: Diet.

JL: What turns you on?

EP: When my rent check clears.

JL: What turns you off?

EP: Gym selfies.

JL: What noise or sound do you love?

EP: A dog farting itself awake.

JL: What noise or sound do you hate?

EP: Jackhammers in the morning.

JL: What is your favorite curse word?

EP: Horsefucker.

JL: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

EP: Astronomer.

JL: What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?

EP: Au pair.

JL: Finally, if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

EP: The buffet is on your right.

*This conversation has been fabricated for your (but mostly my) amusement. Any likeness to James Lipton is purely coincidental. James Lipton did not interview me. If James Lipton did interview me I would announce it by hiring a plane and writing it in the sky, not by posting about it on my dumb website, hoping someone happens to see it. I’m not stupid. No one I went to high school reads this. But everyone I went to high school with reads messages made of clouds. If you happen to be James Lipton and do not find this post funny please take it up with my lawyer. His name is Finn and he is a dog.


I might be jumping the gun on this, guys–there’s still snow on the ground in New York and according to an overgrown gerbil with a degree in meteorology winter will not officially be over until March 16th–but the recent departure of my next door neighbor got me thinking about my own upcoming Spring clean. You see, my neighbor and I didn’t see eye to eye. The fact that she never remembered my name or said hello in the hallway was just the tip of the iceberg. That she used to blow dry her dog in our hallway, well, that was the enormous, craggy bottom of the iceberg. Somewhere in between was a whole lot of loud music, weird smells and general unpleasantness and I was more than happy to see her finally get the boot. And her little dog, too, who by the way was not house trained and would drive Finn mental with his constant, irritating barking.

Once she vacated the first thing I did was sneak over to her place. It was a Saturday morning and I had just come back from the gym. I was feeling agile like a ninja, and I figured if I was spotted I could parkour my way down the fire escape and evade capture. I slipped through the unlocked door. I was hunting for something–anything–to validate the feelings of ill-will I had carried around with me for the two years she was my floormate. This is without a doubt immature and regressive behavior, I know, but I never claimed to be a well-adjusted individual of society so eat me.

I have a theory and my theory is this: not all filthy people are horrible but most horrible people are filthy. AND I WAS RIGHT. Inside wasn’t the kind of mess you make while upending and moving your apartment. This was lived-in filth, which is exponentially grosser than just an unswept floor or a spotted mirror. There was toothpaste residue caked around the sink. The stove had a thick layer of grease covering its range. The grout in the shower was pink. Thoroughly shell-shocked I slinked back across the hall to my apartment with a slew of emotions: vindicated, ashamed, embarrassed, sad I didn’t have the opportunity to parkour anything, but ultimately just plain horrified.

The whole ordeal reminded me that my own place would soon need a deep cleaning. It also reminded me I can only clean to some solid tunes and that I’d need a heavy duty playlist to power through all the grime and gunk. Below is my Grand Ultimate Spring Cleaning Supreme Mix. Do with it what you will:

“Lonely Boy” The Black Keys

“Dirty Work” Steely Dan

“Say Goodbye” Beck

“Somebody to Love” Queen

“Live and Let Die” Wings

“Ravenous” Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers

“The Bends” Radiohead

“Silver Springs” Fleetwood Mac

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” The Beatles

“Ho Hey” The Lumineers

“Missed The Boat” Modest Mouse

“Everywhere” Fleetwood Mac

“Sixteen Saltines” Jack White

“There Goes The Neighborhood” Sheryl Crow

“All For Leyna” Billy Joel

“The Weight” The Band

“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” Paul Simon

“Kodachrome” Paul Simon

“The Rising” Bruce Springsteen

“Edge of Seventeen” Stevie Nicks

“Rolling In The Deep” Adele

“***Flawless” Beyoncé

“Three Marlenas” The Wallflowers

“She’s Waiting” Eric Clapton

“Do You Want to Dance?” Bette Midler

“Jolene” Dolly Parton

“Darling Nikki” Prince & The Revolution

“Big Love” Fleetwood Mac


It’s Sunday morning here in New York and we are preparing for yet another–and hopefully our last!–winter storm. The streets are empty, the sidewalks have been salted and outside my window the city is enjoying that nice, calming hum of a sleepy neighborhood not yet awake. Walked and fed, Finn has retreated back to his bed for his first of many mid-morning naps and I’ve got a huge pot of coffee making eyes at me from the counter. My apartment is quiet except for the drone of the fridge and the soft, flat footsteps of my upstairs neighbor padding down her hallway. But it’s not any Sunday–IT’S OSCAR SUNDAY–and there’s a lot to do before the big show begins. I must finalize my ballot. I need to decide what I’m making for the party (I’m leaning towards Deep Fried Lupita Nyong’O-reos). I have to chill the bubbles. In a few hours E!’s pre-carpet pre-show pre-everything coverage begins and if Kelly Osbourne and Ross Mathews play Guess The Nominee By Their Collar Bone and Which Starlet Will Win Best Supporting Cuticles and I’m not nestled deep into the arms of a champagne haze HEADS WILL ROLL PEOPLE.

So, during this brief window of Jared Leto jab-free time, before the chaos of the day ensues, I want to answer a question I get emailed about a lot–one TINAH reader Emma asked in the comments section of a recent post (thank you, Emma, for allowing me to Henry Higgins you publicly!)–and that is about process, specifically how I tackle designing a space.


I am hardly an authority about any of this business, dear readers, but I do know what works for me and since I’ve gotten a significant amount of inquiries about it I felt I should share. What you are about to read below should by no means be considered a rule of thumb but rather a loose set of guidelines upon which your own principles can be applied. Take away from this as little or as much as you find useful, but if you come home to your husband hanging a hammock in your living room do not hold me responsible. All I ask is that you proceed with caution, keep your arms and legs inside the tram at all times and bear in mind these are not the musings of a sane man.


Gather references

Before I start any project, big or small, I will always begin with reference photos. Specifically I would call what I do a ‘mood board’ but then I’d be afraid you’d judge me for being a pretentious jagweed. I think it’s important to see everything I’m considering all in one place. It really helps to edit myself. Like when I entertained covering my bathroom in some Hinson & Co wallpaper after seeing Steven Scarloff’s stunning feature in House Beautiful, the reference board I assembled showed me how clearly I had lost my mind and saved me from making a wrong turn, both aesthetically and financially. The board doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Most of my references are just print outs and pages ripped from magazines–occasionally I will cut swatches for texture and pattern–so don’t be concerned about the assembly. Just get everything in one place. Gather more than you think you’ll need. Look at it with a discerning eye and consider balance. If your references are feeling too cold soften them up and pull in some texture. If they are feeling too dull bring in some pattern. If you’re new to using color lean towards neutral pieces and inject pops of it here and there. Try to stay way from the need to match pieces together. This is the time to play! Keep in mind this is your design so you are the harbinger of your own definition of good taste. I’ll touch on this more later but remember to pick things you really want to wake up to every day, not things that are trendy or what you’ve read are cornerstones of modern design. Pintrest has been amazing in this way because it allows people like us forage the blogosphere and curate a huge amount of material with zero commitment or cost. I would recommend getting an account and start pinning immediately! You’ll be glad you did. And then link me to your account so I can follow you and skim off your genius OKAY THANX BYEEEEE.

Make a budget

This is a HUGE part of the design process a lot of people overlook or feel they simply don’t need, but a budget is not just for professionals and their clients. Once you’ve gathered your references your budget will help you translate your wish list into reality. I don’t do anything without one. Really. Even if it’s as simple as pulling up my bank account and checking the balance (and crying once I see what it is). A budget is the best way to navigate a sea of seemingly infinite design possibilities. That $5,000 credenza you referenced from Hive will either become a reproduction from a wholesaler, a Craiglist find, a thrift store hunt or a piece from IKEA (or the actual credenza from Hive if you’re fancy like that), and if you are honest about your finances the decision will be very easy to make. Be as detailed about it as possible. Start with a budget for the room and then pare it down, piece by piece, if you can. The goal here is to define your purchasing power so the more specific you are the less stress you will incur. No muss, no fuss!

Don’t rush

I’ve curated my references and have a budget. I have a strong idea of where the design is going and from where it will be sourced. Even though I’ve got all this I still make purchases one at a time, starting with the largest pieces first. In my experience designing a space is a mutable process, one that can change with the introduction of each new component, so allow yourself the time to settle into a decision and reevaluate. This is why I start with the heavy hitters first. It’s much easier to return a chair than it is a bed, and if you get a bed that plays much differently with your room than you imagined you will need the time to gather new references, edit your budget and re-source accordingly the things that will surround it. Don’t feel like you need to get it all done in one fell swoop. It may be uncomfortable walking into a room that’s only half-done, but you’ll be much happier in the long run knowing you’ve picked something lasting and that you adore.

Gut Check

This is specific to my process so feel free to skip this step entirely, but I am not Malcolm Gladwell. There are very few times when I ever feel my first instinct is the right one, so it helps for me to question it. If you are like me you can get wrapped up in a moment or a feeling and if you don’t check yourself you run the risk of turning your home into a set from Mad Men. I guess this goes back to my previous suggestion of taking your time, but I want this post to look like it has a lot of useful information and that I’m smart so I’m going to be redundant and hope you think I have more to offer. But I don’t. It’s really just fluff. Check yourself. Or don’t. What do I care?

Tape it out

If you read the blog you know how I’ve never met a roll of painter’s tape I didn’t love. For those of us with brains ruled by our somatic sense taping down the layout and dimensions of your design can help you walk around in the space before you commit your time, money and energy to anything. I know it does for me. Call it a poor man’s feng shui!

Design with the future in mind

When I design I like to keep in mind the staying power of my decisions. The last thing I want to do is buy a bunch of shit I will only grow tired of and want to replace in a year, so I do my best to choose things I know (or think I know) will move with me throughout my life. I sort of explained my feelings on this here, but it is summed up much more clearly by Graham Hill during his Ted Talk, Less Stuff More Happiness. Graham is a genius about the whole idea of life editing. He just crystallizes it so beautifully. When I transpose his philosophy onto my design process I come up with my own version of a Wild Card. Now this may seem like I’m contradicting myself after getting on my soap box about making a budget and sticking to it but this is the step in which it is OK to break the bank and spend a little more. If you find a piece you can’t live without and you know you’ll have forever…BUY IT. I grant you immunity. That one expensive thing is more likely to stay by your side throughout the long haul than that Hemnes dresser from IKEA which you will probably replace two or three times over in the course of decade. So, yea, alright, I guess I am a giant, blowzy hypocrite. And if the dresser from IKEA is the thing that will follow you from place to place then fine–GREAT–but the takeaway here is just don’t buy anything because you need to fill the space. Allow yourself an investment piece.

The Erykah Badu Factor

Here’s the last rule–ugh, rule. Rule sounds terrible. Commandment? NO. Decree? I’m not a politician. Edict? How royal! Let’s go with that–rule edict of my process. I try to remind myself to always keep things a little bit weird. There is nothing less interesting than a room that looks like it’s been ripped straight from page 74 of a Design Within Reach catalog. I get why it happens; amateur designers like ourselves can get self-conscious about our decisions, am I right? It’s very easy to look to a source of authority and say, “Oh, that is good design. That is what I need to replicate,” but that way of thinking will just saddle you with a space devoid of personality. My goal throughout the whole process is to remain cognizant of what can make the space unique, what  can make it just a leeeettle different than anywhere else. Don’t be afraid of the strange–embrace it! In fact, GET ALL UP IN THAT FUNK. I’m not recommending you reupholster an ottoman in Lycra or buy a duvet cover made of human hair but be fearless in the knowledge that there really is no right way in doing any of this.

Go forth and design!


I’ve gotten a lot of emails recently asking me about how I am able live in such a small space. Well, that’s not such an easy one to answer. For me, I don’t consider living in an apartment that is under 300sf unusual, but since the average American home in 2013 was around 2,600sf–more than double what it was 60 years ago even though the average family size has shrank by nearly 20% since 1970–I’m not surprised by people’s fascination with a space that is roughly 9 times smaller than the current median.

Last Fall my mom and step-dad were finishing construction on their new home, and throughout the process my mom was giving me updates. Sometime in late October, after the framework was insulated and the sheetrock was hung, I got a call:

My mom: “Hey, Ev.”

Me: “Hi, Mom.”

Mom: “Rich and I are standing in our bedroom right now and it’s really taking shape.”

Me: “That’s great, how does it look?”

Mom: “Great, but hey, Ev, we were wondering, do you know the square footage of your            apartment? We want to know what it is like in relation to the house now that the walls are up. Rich was saying he thinks you’re probably around 500 because our bedroom is 400 square feet.”

Me: [Screaming into a pillow] “295 square feet.”

Mom: [To my step-dad] “He’s saying 295! I don’t know! [Into the phone] Ev, are you being funny?”

Me: “What? No, why?”

Mom: [To my step-dad] “He says no! Yes! Two hundred and ninety-five! Yes, Rich, that’s what he’s saying! [Into the phone] Wow.”

Me: “‘Wow’ what?”

Mom: “We just thought it was bigger. It looks bigger in pictures.”

Me: “Nope. Under 300. I guess your bedroom is larger than my entire home.”

Mom: [Pause] “Well…you’ve made good use of the space.”

Me: *Click* [Dial tone]

Mom: “Hello?”

I don’t blame my parents’ shock. I would have a hard time, too, imagining what it would be like to live in a space in which the bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom combined were smaller than my entire sleeping area.

The fist day I moved into my apartment, after three years of living with my roommate in a spacious two-bedroom in Midtown East, around the corner from the United Nations, my hesitation towards downsizing was palpable. I remember texting her:

Me: »OMG«

Her: »???«

Me: »How are we going to do this? Closet can barely hold all jackets«

Her: »We’ll make it work. One day we’ll laugh abt this«

I think back on that now and I do laugh, even though I never thought I would. Living in a small space has taught me one very valuable lesson: more space does not equal more happiness.

When I lived in a larger apartment I owned more stuff. With four closets and a pantry my roommate and I consumed a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff, in hindsight, I didn’t really need, but I filled the space anyway simply because I had it. Two winter jackets multiplied to six and four pairs of shoes became ten, but it was fine because I had the space to keep it all.

Or was it? When I moved from my two-bedroom into my studio I quickly realized what I needed and what I could do without. I started to see very clearly what was a necessity and what just caused me anxiety. Sure it was a luxury to display every book I had read, every DVD I had watched and still have room for a few bins of holiday decorations or specialty cookware, but that stuff, I found, was really only inhibiting me. I realized the more stuff I had the more time I spent maintaining it, and the more time I spent maintaining it the less time I had free to do other things.

Choosing to live in a smaller space was like a self-imposed ultimatum. It forced me to keep only what I needed and cut the extraneous. No longer could I hold onto the t-shirts I wore in college because I couldn’t fit them in my dresser anymore. That warm-up jacket I had been carrying around since high school, though it had sentimental value, had to be ditched to accommodate a simple blazer for work.

This process of weeding out the superfluous introduced me to the Joy Of Less and I found having less gave me the freedom to enjoy other things. Instead of 1,000sf to clean I now had only 300, and 700 square feet can be the difference between having an epic weekend versus just a mediocre one. Not to mention the cashsheesh I was saving! Just think about it: a smaller home means a smaller commitment, a smaller commitment means smaller bills and smaller bills means more money to download every Fleetwood Mac album on iTunes. Simple math! Also a smaller home means the things I put in it have to be my absolute favorite things because there simply isn’t room for anything else. Period. Exclamation point.

At its core downgrading to a smaller space just required me to give value to things. Without the extra space everything I owned had to matter in a very significant way otherwise it was totally unnecessary.

I don’t think living in less that 300sf is a sacrifice. In fact, there are many people living with far less and doing far more than others who are living with ten times to amount of space. I’m grateful for the space (or lack thereof) I have. It’s been a real eye-opener to say the least.