Happy Clam and Mr. Handsome’s Minimalistish Home

Guess what folks, it’s another minimalistish community spotlight! Who’s decided to be brave and show off their minimalistish home? Mrs. Happy Clam and her husband Mr. Handsome. Just who is Happy Clam? Well that’s an international secret, but you can find out all about this mysterious digital nomad over on her simple living blog Happy as Clams. You’ll find a delightful menagerie of posts ranging from photography around the world to minimalist cooking to sustainable living.

Today I’m honored to share their inspirational home with you. Want to be in the next minimalistish community spotlight? I’d love it and so would everyone who swings by the Minimalist Packrat blog. If you feel like sharing head right over to this spot and send me your story and a few pics!

Now let’s see Mrs. Happy Clam and Mr. Handsome’s serene minimalistish home. Take a look and get some serious minimalistish inspiration!

Happy Clam and Mr. Handsome’s Minimalistish Home

Happy Clam: My first thought when I read the first entry of this little (genius! Love seeing people’s homes!!) series was that we probably don’t actually qualify for it because we own stuff. There are certainly more than 100 things belonging to our household right now. That hasn’t always been the case though – stuff levels are fluctuating depending on where we live and for how long.

When me and Mr. Handsome merged our lives, each of us came from a tiny studio and moving was quite easy (170sq. ft for me, 200sq. ft for him). Shortly before, I owned only one suitcase full of personal stuff and a box full of work-related stuff. I never had any significant furniture of my own.

The housing market is tough here and we were under time pressure, so we had to take what we could get. Our new 2 bedroom flat seemed huge (750sq ft), so we bought furniture. I got more excited than I anticipated over having my first own sofa, and we thoroughly enjoy having it. I got even more excited to see that our green IKEA sofa is featured in Jessica Alba’s flat in the movie Machete :).

Happy Clam’s Modern Minimalistish Living Room


I didn’t take pictures of the second bedroom, because we have a visitor living in there at the moment. Come to think of it, there is always someone staying in our guest room, friends, family, colleagues – it’s good to have that extra space. We also love cooking and spending time eating together and with friends, so we own kitchen stuff. Add the pets (three snakes and a fish). Together all of this makes our home less than empty.

Happy Clam’s Vibrant and Fun Kitchen


However, despite that “excess” of space, we still try to live without excess of stuff – for example, we don’t own a TV or entertainment system, or a microwave. Also, we don’t have much closed storage furniture – just two closets and the kitchen cabinets – so what you see is pretty much all we own.

Happy Clam’s Lovely and Simple Bathroom


We keep a strict regime as to what is allowed to enter our house and what has to stay out. While I consider myself a true minimalist at heart, I don’t believe in self-deprivation or making our elderly parents sit, sleep or eat on the floors. We surely don’t believe in the accumulation of material items, but we definitely do believe in appreciating what we are able to own – our perspective coming from having seen with how little the rest of the world has to get by. So, I would like to make the case here to say some *gasp* nice things about our stuff.

I love my collection of souvenirs. Yes, you heard that right. Souvenirs – a minimalist’s worst nightmare. I knew early on that I won’t be able to stay at one place for longer periods of time, but I also like to take little pieces of the big world outside back from my travels with me as a memento of the memories and what I have experienced, but I am very choosy in picking them. They need to serve a function.

For example, the wooden bowls that hold our fresh fruit, vegetables, onions and potatoes come from Kenya and Madagascar. A wooden cutting board comes from the Dominican Republic. Our tablecloth (that we use only rarely, usually the table is bare), comes from Zimbabwe. The salad fork and spoon, a small mortar and pistil for grinding spices, and the salt container come from Madagascar. A small woven basket from Ruanda holds coins for the community washing machine. Our placemats were a present from South America. The hubby brought a cheap Mexican cooking pot set made of aluminum that looks super ugly but is 100% non-sticking.

Happy Clam’s Office Full of Fishy and Snakey Priorities


Years ago, I wanted to own a piece of art that would make my tiny studio I was living in at that time more of a home, but that I wouldn’t have to leave behind when I move. I purchased a hand painted Japanese scroll painting featuring pines and crane birds, which are supposed to bring luck to the home, from an art collector’s auction. You can roll it up, so the scroll made it into my one-suitcase move, and now I am able to make any home my home instantly just by hanging up my scroll painting.

Happy Clam’s Soothing and Serene Bedroom

Three hand-drawn pictures from my mom are hanging above the sofa. The avocado painting in the kitchen has been done by one of my husband’s aunts.  The good thing is, that for our next move (in about three months), we can simply put all of these items in a single moving box, ship it to our next place, and make that place our home again. Probably for the next place we’ll downsize to one-bedroom. It’s going to be temporary again (only for a year). But I won’t complain – there are up- and downsides to every lifestyle, and I think we arranged ourselves with ours pretty well.


What Do You Think?

What a great tour! Thanks Happy Clam for sharing your space with us! I especially love your gorgeous brick accent walls in the dining room and living room, as well as how serene and simple your bedroom space feels. There are other little details that I loved too, like the intriguing use of storage space in your bathroom and they way you’ve added in fun splashes of color.

So what do you all think? Let Happy Clam know what you think of her minimalistish space! And if you’re feeling brave share your own minimalistish home! Comments below…



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54 Responses to “Happy Clam and Mr. Handsome’s Minimalistish Home”

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  1. Jill Foley says:

    Love it! I love all the pictures and how so many of your items truly hold special meaning to you.
    Jill Foley recently posted..Declutter the Mind

  2. Very comfy looking home. I particularly like the kitchen shot with the knife block. Who says you have to fill all the slots! :-)
    Allan Douglas recently posted..De-Fanging the Credit Monster

    • Happy clam says:

      right! And who said knives have to fit the knife block slots, when they are perfectly fine lying in the drawer ;). I think i got the minimalism, but the perfectionism is something I still have to work on…
      Happy clam recently posted..Link- About music and life

  3. Kathleen says:

    Tanja, I have just finished reading all of your archive posts and caught up today. Reading it has really been fun, inspiring, and uplifting for me on many levels–thank you! I also love seeing people’s spaces, and this apartment is lovely, one of my personal favorites so far. I enjoy the minimalistish slant as it’s more relevant to my own goals right now, though the bare spaces are fun form me also. I loved the way Happy Clam hangs art that comes from people they care about, and collects functional items to commemorate the places they’ve been.

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my blog! Happy Clam’s space is beautiful. I love showing off people’s spaces, it’s just tough finding willing victims sometimes! The fun thing about the minimalistish spotlight is that it’s not strict, extreme minimalism. It’s moderate minimalism, showing what well-organized, functional and somewhat minimal spaces really look like. It’s real life stuff instead of polished magazine shots! I agree with you about how nice it is that Happy Clam has stuff that really holds MEANING for her, special memories from trips (that are also functional items) and art from her momma! It’s a beautiful space. :)

  4. Liina says:

    Your wood floors are so beautiful & I love the wooden shelving you use in the kitchen and bathroom, and the wooden bowls for fruit & vegetables. I love to see how “real” minimalists live!
    Liina recently posted..Compact Discs- Not so Compact

    • Liina,

      Maybe you’re next! Show us how it is in the Pacific Northwest, baby. We’d love to see your space! I’m a sucker for old wood floors and Happy Clam’s got those gorgeous brick walls to go with them!

  5. Tracy G says:

    Perfect! To my eyes, your decor beautifully balanced–not too much, not too little. I especially like the Japanese scroll. There’s a similar one in the meditation room at my office, except mine features a full moon on a blue background with a blossom-laden branch in the foreground. I bought it at a local antique store and have never needed to move it, but it’s a neat idea to be able to take your art with you! Your green sofa and your family art and functional souvenirs are wonderful, too.

    • Hey Miss Tracy,

      I love all this talk about scrolls, I’d never thought about the fact that they roll small for moving (something I’ve always got on my mind lately). I have a cloth chakra banner that rolls real small. It’s my only piece of wall art right now and between you and Happy Clam I’m contemplating the antique Asian scroll concept for my future space. Ahhh, a girl can dream. :)

      • Tracy G says:

        Here’s someone else who hangs scroll paintings. Diana prefers to display these in rotation, with only one hanging at a time, and just for one or two evenings per week.

        Innermost House: Emptiness

  6. Her home is very serene! I love the empty space. I am working so hard to get there! It is slowly happening, bit by bit. I am not brave enough to submit pics yet! I guess I should take some before and after pics for myself! That way I can *see* the progress!
    Thanks Happy Clam, for sharing!
    Living the Balanced Life recently posted..The journey of a work-at-home mom

    • Hey Bernice,

      The best thing is you’re getting there! I do recommend taking some before shots. I didn’t and now I wish I had a whole roll of “Hall of Shame” shots showcasing my old mess.

  7. What a treat to come back from my blogging hiatus to find another post from my favorite feature! I’m so jealous of your small space & those funky brick walls. If you don’t have room for the avocado painting when you move, I will gladly find a home for it. ;) Hopefully someday soon our minimalistish (heavy on the -ISH) home will be featured too…Spring cleaning is happening here soon, with a huge yard sale/donation run. Can’t. Wait.
    Elle Dougherty recently posted..My Staycation Is Your Vacation

    • Happy clam says:

      Ellen, it’s funny that you refer to our flat as “small space” – when we moved in it seemed HUGE and EMPTY to us (former studio dwellers)…. That makes me think how much the perception of “space” depends on your perspective!
      Glad you got motivated for your yard sale – good luck and hope to see your home soon too!

      PS Aunt Betty would kill me if I gave away her avocado painting :)
      Happy clam recently posted..Link- About music and life

      • Hey Elle,

        I just had to run over and check out your Hawaii vacation post! Glad to hear your back :) and that you had such a wonderful time over there. Your yard sale is going to be wonderful! We just did Cora’s last sale a few weeks ago and got all the remnants picked up by a charity. She’s got a garage that you can walk from end of the other again! I can’t say the house is perfectly cleared out, but a huge chunk of junk has moved on to new lives elsewhere. Good luck with yours!

  8. sonrie says:

    This is what I strive for–a home that can host guests, be cozy for the inhabitants, and also seem clean and streamlined.
    sonrie recently posted..gnome watchguard

    • Sonrie,

      Isn’t it lovely? Happy Clam has really covered her priorities well, especially with being able to host guests all the time! I love that it’s simple and yet colorful and fun at the same time.

  9. Dee says:

    You have a utensil jug on your counter! Bad minimalist! ;) I really like your kitchen. Homey and calm.

    • Happy clam says:

      haha, I was actually seriously contemplating to remove the jug for the picture because I know that “thou shalt have empty counter spaces in the kitchen”
      - but you know what? These utensils are sitting in the perfect spot for us there, having had them in drawers before made me crazy because everything always got messy and tangled up in there and you wouldn’t find the spatula while the food starts burning. SO no empty counter space for us, and also i left the open drawer and the dying onion in the picture because that’s how we really live (though not permanently with dying onions).
      Happy clam recently posted..Link- About music and life

      • Dee,

        You’re so funny. You’re going to scare people off minimalism with that kind of talk! :)

        Happy Clam,

        It’s awesome that you showed it as it “really” is instead of tidying up. I didn’t notice the dying onion, but I did notice the open drawer. :) For me minimalism is about finding out what works best for you. If you’re utensils on the counter bring ease and comfort to your life, they’re in the perfect spot! I did the big utensil on the counter thing for years (to show off my wooden spoon collection), then I got rid of the collection and started storing the remaining utensils in 2 drawers.

  10. vee says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Hi Vee,

      You want to get highlighted next?

      • vee says:

        Tanja – I will take you up on the offer but not just yet. I just got started since we moved. Soon though. You know that layering process when things are losing thier importance? I’m there and shedding stuff like crazy. Each item that leaves is providing more space to breath and I am left feeling more motivated to let more go. I am truly enjoying the process of it all.
        Jo my co-bloger is just getting started as well. But maybe a few more months and we can do your highlight thing.
        May you feel God’s Peace this day,

  11. Beautiful, breezy and fresh home. Thank you so much for letting us peek inside your world!
    Jenny @ exconsumer recently posted..Nostalgia- Sentiments and Stuff

  12. Mia says:

    I really like that space! I especially love the lizards. Beautiful home!

  13. Happy clam says:

    Hi everybody!

    Thanks for your kind words about our home, and thanks to Tanja for featuring us in this cool series :) ! It became an instant favourite to me and I hope all of you got inspired to join in too, so that I can see more minimalistish homes in the upcoming months. Pants down, people!

    Happy clam
    Happy clam recently posted..Link- About music and life

    • You hear Happy Clam,

      Pants down folks! Start showing off your minimalistish home! Here’s the link for how to submit!

      Seriously, when I was going minimalist it was the one big thing I wanted to see. I kept finding minimalism blogs (that were awesome) but they often didn’t show off their homes. I craved those pictures! So thank you Happy Clam (and Tracy G.) for being the first two awesome folks to step up and share here at Minimalist Packrat. You two rock!!!

  14. very comfortable and peaceful home!
    marianney | A Life Set Free recently posted..Taking Action Update Mar 17- 2011

  15. jaime says:

    I’m late on this, but I do want to joi in. This sis such a great example of exactly what we are trying to achieve in our home. I love the use of white and wood. The wood accents really warm everything up. I love that it looks so pulled together. Well done!
    jaime recently posted..spring!

  16. Layla says:

    Ooh I like very much. Maybe it’s the light, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s minimalist but not bare/sterile looking.

    Anyway, I think if/when my boyfriend and I move in together I’m going to show him this link and we could use it as inspiration (he thinks TV is the best thing ever, so we’d definitely have a TV though.)

    He wants there to be a big walk-in closet for me. Apparently I’m supposed to want a walk-in closet. I’ll have to let him know that I don’t actually want a walk-in closet :)
    Layla recently posted..Envying Charlotte’s life

  17. Sarah says:

    Lovely home! The exposed brick walls are great, I miss that about my last place. Do you not keep photos of family around, or did you just take them down to retain anonymity? That’s the area I have the most problems with. It’s so hard for me to pick just a few favorites so I have a ton.

    • Happy clam says:

      Hello Sarah,

      we do have a few family photos. Behind my desk is my husband’s (same setup), and he has a small shelf too on top of which we keep the pictures.. all together, so that there is less visual clutter in the rest of the flat. Luckily we have some family photos taken on occasions where everybody was together, so we have to have less photos in total :).
      Happy clam recently posted..Choice conflict

  18. Gena S says:

    Aloha to Happy Clam & Tanja too :) I’m late to the feature party too since I was in deeper than usual sniffle recovery, zero fun=semi digital sabbatical…so since I’m catching up…I really do enjoy this feature of yours Tanja; great idea, I’m talking my shyer housemates into letting me share parts of our abode, I’ll send something soon I hope, and Happy Clam! Love your name and your space! :) Serene, spacious, peaceful space you’ve created there, people have paid me (I’m an interior designer) to get just that effect, I think that’s what most really want; a peaceful, restful place to come home to. I especially like the use of objects like your wooden bowls, ours are from Kenya and I so enjoy using something simple and beautiful that invokes great memories instead of storing it. So glad you shared your space!

  19. Mark says:

    What you refer to as a minimalist home was what almost every home looked like in the 1950′s :P

    Clutter started becoming an issue in the 80′s, when Americans were brainwashed with incessant advertising that suggested they could never be happy unless they owned more items than their neighbor.

  20. Tonia says:

    Just found this site through miss Minimalist and love it!

    Happy Clam, i like the thingy you have your toothbrushes in!

  21. rago says:

    I love your lounge space. So cosy with the colours and lights. This is my aim in a minimalist home. Only just enough things to make for a functional yet warm and cosy space to live. Thanks for allowing us to view your home.

  22. Megan says:

    I love a good ish post. I feel ish about everything . I’m minimalistish, greenish, organizedish (well maybe ish is stretching the last one). I try, and that is what I can do. :) Cool pictures.
    Megan recently posted..Day 62 – We all need throw pillows for our lawn furniture- no

  23. Ah, I feel more relaxed just looking at these pictures! This is great inspiration for some much-needed decluttering around here. My parents’ impending visit (yes, they’re staying with us in our one-bedroom apartment for a week!) is a major incentive to get the ball rolling. I’d love to be featured here someday. :)

  24. Karin says:

    What a lovely, peaceful place – thanks so much for sharing it with us, Happy Clam! And it’s so inspirational – I’m still in the uber-clutterish stage, but looking at your place I find that it’s what I’ve been dreaming of all my life…

  25. PAULA says:

    Happy Clam!
    You have a very lovely home! Very warm and cozy. Would love to make my home look like yours. I’m glad i can get some ideas from your cute pixs! Love the brick walls as well!
    I’m looking to get a communal table to replace my very tiny kitchen table and my desk. Any suggestions where to get an inexpensive one?

  26. Happy clam says:

    Thank you all for commenting again :)

    As we already knew for a while, we’ll be moving overseas at the beginning of summer, and therefore we will sell all our belongings, and our home as you saw it here will not longer exist. However, we had a great time here from 2010-2011 which will live on in our memory. I hope you enjoyed the little peek into our lives.
    There is a great deal that can be learnt from transience, and I am excited to be “back on the road again”.
    Happy clam recently posted..And on it goes

  27. di says:

    One-room simplicity:

    To eliminate media, use a computer.

    Store wardrobe and kitchen items in baskets beneath a sofabed.
    Use a sofa to study, dine, etc.

    Vertical storage is claustrophobic.
    Shelving, cupboards, closets, desks and tables are not really needed.

  28. Orion Pond says:

    I like how this looks minimalist, but isn’t sterile or designer. My aunt is a designer minimalist, and while I love her house, she likes white, and I would never want white (too bright and shows dirt too easily), but I can’t afford to emulate her style, and I want a smaller living space (her house is huge and beautiful, it looks like it was right out of a magazine).

    This looks more like what I could afford.


  1. [...] of all, welcome  to everyone who stumbled over our blog coming from Tanja’s site – hope you enjoy this little excursion into our life. I’d be happy if you leave [...]

  2. [...] of clashing mind sets being the choice of my wardrobe. Of course, associated areas like home decor (functional versus comfortable), and generally all things pretty fall under this challenge, but the female wardrobe most often is [...]

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