Our Guests - Tim and Sydney Goodwin
Tim and Sydney live in Astoria, Queens just outside of Manhattan. Sydney is a photographer and actress, an incredible talent in the world of musical theater. Her husband, Tim, is a teacher, pastor, and podcaster in New York City. They are not only our family, but our best friends, and we are so excited to have them on the podcast today talking about living in small spaces in New York City!
Question: How is NYC different from where you guys grew up in Texas?
Tim and Sydney grew up in Spring, Texas, and describe it as a perfectly normal place. As a suburb of Houston, Spring is fairly generic without a ton going on within Spring itself. New York City couldn’t be more different than that. Not only is any culinary or cultural experience you could want is available and accessible at all times, but if you want to get out of town and into nature, that’s only an hour away. It’s a really great place to live with a lot to offer even past the typical concrete jungle one might think of.
Tim and Sydney describe living in different areas around NYC.
Tim moved to NYC without ever having even visited! Crazy right? They first moved into a 400-sqft 4-story walkup in the Upper West Side. We always loved visiting them there! It’s such a fun neighborhood - very family oriented and only a few blocks from Central Park.
After their Upper West Side experience, Tim took a pastor job in Long Island and moved into a parsonage on the church property. In a fun turn of events, we actually flew up there and helped them renovate the whole thing! Check out a couple of our blog posts on the project:
This was a really special project for us, and we are so glad we got to help Tim and Sydney create a place where they could thrive for the time they lived in Long Island.
After 2 years, Tim and Sydney moved back closer to the city, to a neighborhood called Astoria in Queens, which is where they currently live. They have an 850-sqft apartment with more closest and storage then they’ve ever had before! They’ve gone from a “1-butt kitchen” in the Upper West Side to an “at least 5-butt kitchen” now in Queens, and they are loving the neighborhood.
Small Space Living Misconception: Furniture with Storage
Tim remarks how furniture with storage is not the answer when it comes to creative ways to make the use of your space. Often furniture with built-in storage is bulkier and makes your limited space seem even smaller!
Working from home in a small space
Sydney does a lot of her photography work from home. To begin, she started with a permanent editing station in the living room (an iMac with a vintage typewriter table). She had a dedicated work spot and could convert other living space in the dining room into a photo shoot space.
Recently, Tim and Sydney have done a switch-up at their apartment! They took what was their bedroom and turned it into an office for Sydney with a full-time photo shoot setup. To do this, Sydney and Tim had a murphy bed made for their apartment, so that they have more every-day usable space in addition to their office.
On having a true office and having clients in your home
Having a true office allows Sydney to have a place to GO to work. It also affords her the luxury of LEAVING work, instead of having the permanent work station in their living room. They are LOVING this change so far.
Having clients come to your home requires a number of unique considerations. Obviously, it is really important to keep your home and office very clean and organized if you are having clients come. Secondly, you don’t want to decorate with overly personal decor - i.e. you don’t want a bunch of family photos or childhood memorabilia in the areas where your clients will be, as it can make the space seem like a less professional setting. Sydney tries to create a relaxing space for her clients by having a neutral aesthetic that is still warm and inviting. Being in her home also allows Sydney a unique opportunity to get to know her clients and help them relax by offering them some of the luxuries of home, like a cup of coffee.
Storage Tips and Tricks
Tim and Sydney gave us some great tips for storage they use, and we think you’ll find them helpful too!
If it doesn’t logically get stored somewhere, don’t keep it
Storage doesn’t mean going to the container store and buying more containers. It means thoughtfully and intentionally creating a place for everything you need, and getting rid of things you don’t.
Hospitality in Small Spaces
Tim and Sydney have placed a big emphasis on hospitality, which isn’t the norm in NYC. Most people meet up outside of the home, whether at a pub or whatever. Tim and Sydney prioritize bringing community into their home and really investing in people, which is really cool! The way they are currently doing that is through their Thursday Night Dinner Club, in which they invite people to come over and eat a meal (cooked by Tim and Sydney) and have real and open conversation about life. NYC can be a tough place to find true community, and Tim and Sydney are working to create that in really cool ways through their dinner club. If you’re in the area, you should join!
Thanks so much to Tim and Sydney for being on. If you want to keep up with them, you can find them here:
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Things They’re Loving
Syndey is loving her Fiddle Leaf Fig she got from Home Depot! Click below to check it out!
Tim is loving having a dish washer for the first time in his adult life! Click below to check it out!
Links and Extra Resources
We updated the dropped ceiling in Long Island, and it was a GAME CHANGER for the space. Check it out here.