Open House: A Video Tour of the Condo

Just last week the Georgia Straight – the main weekly arts and culture paper here in Vancouver – did a video interview with me as part of their “Open House” series. Open House is a new feature aimed at looking inside the abodes of urban creatives. I qualify as creative because one time, I painted something.

The video turned out pretty well. Ironically, I could envision our landlord eventually using this video t sell the place out from under us, but c’est la vie… it’s just that good.

In any case, enjoy the tour of our cozy corner unit.

Many thanks to Amanda Siebert for interviewing, shooting and editing this piece! Was tons of fun to do.

Look for a few more upcoming video interviews as well. It seems to be that season.

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Adrian Crook is a father of five living in beautiful downtown Vancouver, Canada. When he's not mobbed by his brood, he runs a successful videogame design consulting business.
  • Hol

    This is great, Adrian! I’m a fairly new reader, but am already so impressed with your work and insight.

  • Stephanie Maurer

    Found this blog tonight and am loving it already, can’t wait to follow along!

    • Thanks a lot, Stephanie! I’d love to hear feedback as to what content you want more of. :)

      • Stephanie Maurer

        I love the ideas you are presenting on minimalism while having 5 kiddos! I would love to see how you go about leading this in their lives. I have one child still at home age 12, and while we do not watch TV, only DVD’s somehow the materialism sneaks in and we have bouts of the “gimmies” The area this is the biggest struggle is toys, I need this to go with that or I want to collect all of these….ahhhhhh!!!!!
        Since relatively new to minimalism and Kon Mari which I adore, tips on how to reel the kiddo in would be amazing!

        • Well yours is 12, so you’re in uncharted territory for me. Perhaps I won’t be able to encourage them to live as minimally by then. ;)

          One thing I stay away from doing is provided too much storage. The more shelves, drawers, closets, etc you have, the more they’ll be filled with forgotten stuff. I try to put the stuff we use on display, so we remember to use it, and the rest can be junked or donated.

          We also occasionally dump everything out and sort through it. That helps pare down.

          • Stephanie Maurer

            Ah yes less spaces to stash stuff! Hence why we have no dressers in our bedrooms or
            closets. Love the suggestion about display for often used items! Thanks for the tips.
            Curious about the family I think they were called spirit animals? Would love too see a post on those and how they came to be.
            Thanks much

  • Kelly Sangree

    So, you have your kids 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. How do you think that impacts the minimalism at your house? Do you think it would be harder if they lived there full time?
    Without throwing your ex under the bus, do they have more stuff there? I ask because if there is “accessible abundance” outside the home, it’s easier to be minimalist inside your home.

    • No, quite frankly, I don’t think having the kids full time would be more difficult in any way more nuanced than having kids all the time would be more difficult in and of itself.

      I’ve heard this excuse for ages (the “if you had them full time you couldn’t do this!” excuse)… there’s nothing in our lives that is warehoused elsewhere. No off-site storage unit, no using their mom’s place as an overflow area, no abundance of stuff at their mom’s that isn’t found at my house. They have bikes at my place, they have bikes at their mom’s place. They have toys at my place, they have toys at their mom’s place. They have an Xbox One at their mom’s place, they have a PS4 at my place. They have full-sized beds at my place, they have full-sized beds at their mom’s place. The boys share a room at my place, the boys share a room at their mom’s place. The girls share a room at my place, the girls share a room at their mom’s place. And so on…

      And beyond that, is “more stuff” inherently good? I.e. if there was more stuff at their mom’s place, does that make it objectively better or worse? I’d argue that simply having more stuff that isn’t used – and is just stored/forgotten – is the broken part of our consumer culture that minimalism/simple living is meant to address. I couldn’t care less about the Dwell aesthetic of minimalism – I am all about focusing only on what matters, not worrying about consumer goods, and keeping life simple and not oversaturated with crap. The amount of re-use my kids get out of modular toys like Keva, Lego, Plus Plus, etc is in part a function of creativity/resourcefulness driven by not having hordes of throwaway single-purpose toys that get stored for far too long, then become landfill.

      In any case, I appreciate your comment but I often get comments like it. Yours, and the “just wait until they’re teenagers” comment are the two most common refrains among people looking for reasons why they can’t do this. But the most obvious reason they can’t do this is that they just don’t believe it’s possible.

      • Kelly Sangree

        I appreciate the thoughtful reply! I agree that more =/= better, but I was curious if there was the “overflow” at moms. Some “minimalists” do that, you know! And I’m sure you get tired of answering questions like that – I know it can get old.
        I like your method, but I’m not sure I could get the husband on board – he’s security-minded about stuff. I have a friend who does this by necessity, since they have 8 children in a house about the size of your condo (no basement, no attic), and I keep explaining to my husband that if they can live with less, we sure can too!

        • 8 kids!? Woah. Huge respect. I’m about to publish a guest post from friends of mine who live a few blocks away – they have 5 kids in 900sqft… full time. So it is of course possible. Whatever you want is possible. Question is whether you (or your partner) really want it. ;) I know this isn’t something that would have happened when I was married, that’s for sure!

      • MotherR

        Ha! “Just wait until they are teenagers”? Even easier, I would have thought. The Lego gets put aside, and all they need is a screen and a phone! Quite compact. The other thing that gets easier is that you can just send them out the door into the city for exercise and recreation, without having to go yourself. So much more for them to do in the city.

  • Miteymiss

    Hi Adrian – After having been Twitter peeps as fellow condo-dwellers, it was nice to finally “meet” you through this new video. And yes–huge respect. :-)

    • Hey thanks! I appreciate you coming here, even though I hardly ever update it. Will have to get back to that! For now, let’s chat on twitter. :)

  • qianna

    Who’s the Koala family mascot?

    • My oldest daughter!

      • qianna

        Nice. Koala’s are my favorite.

        I know many have said it but thanks again for sharing your minimalist living strategies!

  • L. A. McDonough

    We have been minimalists for decades and chose to be child free, several other couples we know likewise. I like smaller living quarters and compact suv’s we drive. I was oldest of four and realized later minimalist living is harder with kids and their stuff.

  • Elaine Shanks

    Hi Adrian. Just discovered your blog. Wonderful. I am a 69 year old married woman who just this year downsized from 2200 square feet of townhouse with my disabled husband where we raised 2 kids and cared for elderly mothers … to a 1360 square foot senior condo. In downsizing I followed many of the minimalist ideas I have read about in other blogs such as yours. Now that we are settled here I believe completely that less is so much easier to take care of – and in fact, we could have lived in a smaller dwelling than we have moved to. I am enjoying your blog and as I continue to shed stuff (don’t want to leave 1360 square feet of stuff for my kids to sort through some day) I gain inspiration from your story.

    • Sounds like a positive change! Thanks for reaching out. I totally share your feelings when it comes to less-is-more: less means more time for those we love, instead of maintaining things and stuff. Love it! Take care!