Small Feats

That Key West real estate is precious and in high demand is no secret. Many residents manage to live in remarkably small spaces—which is easier when you’re able to spend a lot of time outdoors, but does discourage hoarding and frippery. Every item has to count and contribute and mean something. What a great lesson for us all.

Archeo staff member Allise Blackman and her husband, Willie, live in an apartment less than 400 square feet in size (these two: total lovebirds.) Yet, Allise may own more Gabbehs than any of us at the gallery, with six at home and a large one in storage for “someday.” The couple’s dwelling offers enough space for Willie’s guitar-playing, Allise’s cult-coffee-brewing, travel mementos from journeys (Ecuador, Morocco) and family keepsakes. If the apartment were a suitcase, it would be perfectly packed and yet effortless to carry. How did they do it?

With a degree in interior design, Allise possessed practical skills that enabled her to maximize a minimal amount of space. Willie, son of a builder, has built many a stage for The Waterfront Playhouse here in Key West, and was able to construct a loft bed over the sitting area of the home, as well as a “stair shelf” to the loft. No wonder these two get along.

Allise describes the décor as “inspired by the travel culture of Archeo,” with personal touches like a throw blanket made by her grandmother. We’re impressed that she manages to pack so much personal style into such a compact statement and delighted that–-from a tiny runner next to the bed, to an area rug defining the living space––Gabbehs are part of this success story.