Local Designers Demonstrate how to Maximize Small Space in Marin

ONE OF THE things Marin is best known for is its vast amount of open space that can be explored and admired, but even if the outdoor space on your property is closer in size to a garage than a park, that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful. To spark your imagination, here are some examples from designers who have made the most of limited square footage to create an area that’s both suitable for entertaining and enjoyable for everyday life.

Five Senses Art Consultancy, Neo-American Gardens

christopher stark

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED Last month Mill Valley’s Alexandra Ray caught our attention at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase when she and Frank Eddy of Neo-American Gardens transformed a 600-square-foot space into a Zen-like oasis. Ray’s company, Five Senses Art Consultancy, fashions spaces and assembles collections that reflect clients’ interests and tastes. In a recent courtyard project that put a unique piece of contemporary art center stage, a custom weatherproofed energy-efficient LED light box is the focal point, with wallpapered planters by Eddy lending added style to an unexpected environment. Three different sizes are available for the light box and you can choose from a selection of alternate artwork or provide your own.

Pool and spa

GET WET Stricter water regulations have significantly reduced interest in swimming pools, but contrary to all the talk about their wastefulness, there are several things you can do to make one more drought friendly. Why not consider a spool? A spool is a small pool somewhere between a pool and a spa in size, making it ideal for compact spaces. Using covers to trap evaporating water also makes sustainable sense, says Jim Bradanini of Bradanini & Associates. An expert at creating pools that fit anywhere, he designed this endless pool-within-a-pool to maximize its potential.

Portable outdoor shower

SHOWER TO GO Tracking sand into the house after beach adventures is not on anyone’s summer-fun list. Fortunately, The Wooden Duck in San Rafael has a solution that’s both pretty and practical. With a look that’s bound to spark conversation, this outdoor shower can easily fit into a modest spot, keeping your indoors pristine.


This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “Think Small.” 

Kasia Pawlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.