Pint Size Design
Jill Kleiss

Meet Jill Kleiss

I am an accidental designer.  In 2001, my affordable pick was a 660 sq ft historic house.  The 120 sq ft attached garage could barely fit a Smart Car.  The misaligned fixer-upper contained non-operational windows; creative plumbing that allowed the owner to water the outside yard when the bathtub drained; a refrigerator in the dining room closet; and a washer/dryer combo and water heater that resided in the master bedroom closet.  The gravel back yard and the cute exterior were the only positives, and they failed to impress me.  I walked out.  I reassessed my pocket book.  I walked back in; sold.

Fast forward 17 years.  I repaired the rope-and-pulley double-hung windows, fixed the plumbing, and purchased small-sized appliances and put them in the proper place.  A tankless water heater moved outside.  Finally, I converted my mini-garage to two rooms of livable space: a new master bath and a small den.  In total, my 660 square foot house grew into a 780 sq ft home: two bedrooms, a dining room, a den, a kitchen (with seating nook), a laundry room, and two full baths.

One might think I compromised luxury for space.  No way!  I have heated floors in both bathrooms, a kitchen sink tap for reverse-osmosis water (which is piped under the house into my 6’3” deluxe refrigerator’s ice maker), a built-in towel warmer that keeps me toasty after a shower, and lit make-up mirrors in both bathrooms.  Add to this equation a mattress pad to pre-heat soft-as-butter sheets, and the stage is set for a cozy abode.

​If you have a 600-1,300 sq ft home, I can help you utilize every inch of space. If you are downsizing or want to leave a smaller eco-footprint, I can help you with a workable plan to make your home comfortable and utilitarian and still be able to have family movie night and seat six for dinner.


Guest Bedroom

This bedroom has undergone trial and error.  I wasn’t sure what it should be.  Making other spatial changes gave me the direction I needed.  For example: A wall formerly separated the dining room from the new den.  When I tore this wall down, I moved the faux fireplace that used to stand next to that wall and relocated it to the back room to make a cozier space.  I added my only bookcase above the fireplace mantle.  To me, it is pure luxury to have one room purposed for one function—a spare bed for expected, or unexpected, company.  However, no corners are skipped for the remaining space of the room.  A vintage combo chair/table (not shown) is beside the bed and there are two storage areas: a loveseat under the large window, and a closet (behind the curtain) that has space for hanging clothes and has pull-out shelving.


Dining Room;
Kitchen in Background

First-impressions count. I believe a home should be cute; not cramped. By taking out two walls (one that separated the dining room from the kitchen (visible), and the wall that divided the dining room from the old garage, I visually expanded my 12’ wide dining room by making a 9 ½ x 9 ½ adjacent den. I re-used the boards to return the dining room closet (the one where the refrigerator used to live) to its old form.  Keeping true to my first-impression motto, I replaced the plain closet door with a carved wood one and added stained glass. The table seats six comfortably. Wall space utilization includes sconces (for plants and candles) and hats clipped to the wall to free up closet space. The new den, which used to be the garage, is to the right of the door.


Kitchen Sink

Without gutting the kitchen I re-“ordered” the placement of appliances. By downsizing the stove, I upsized functionality and practicality. Now, I have two ovens instead of one, and the stove is next to the sink instead of being on the other side of the room. My taller, narrower refrigerator backs up (to what used to be) the garage door and sidles against the back of the rebuilt dining room closet. To give the illusion of more space, I used the original cabinet doors, but cut out the wood center and added glass. By sacrificing counter space (which I gained back with my tip), I was able to install my 24-inch wide two-oven stove. I also gave up cabinet space to add a 24-inch dishwasher.  Small appliances shown here are the space-saving microwave, coffee pot, and utensils (in wine coolers). I use vintage bread boxes and porcelain refrigerator dishes for storage. Jars of spices magnetically hang on the wall, and pots and pans hang above my stove. Window treatments multi-function as blackout blinds or become privacy opaque.