In our new series, Following Now, we go inside the homes of cool Canadian creatives.

Imagine having to distinguish between what you think you need and what is truly essential on a daily basis. That’s how Alison Mazurek of navigates living small with a family of four. Yes, she sometimes dons headphones for peace and quiet or has a time-out on the balcony, but her 600-square-foot Mount Pleasant home — with its high ceilings and close proximity to cool restaurants and shops — is perfect in every other way. Even when she and her husband, Trevor, had their children, Theo and Mae (now 7 and 4 respectively), they stayed. She’s now turned her living situation into a resource for those living in compact spaces, not just by necessity but by choice. “Many Vancouverites can’t afford a traditional home anymore,” says Alison. “This is our reality — we’re all living in apartments or creative small-living situations — so how are we going to do it comfortably and sustainably?”

Here are Alison’s tips for doing it right, and making it look good, too.