Magnificently Minute Spaces

Designing a small space can stretch the imagination. Meet two Los Angeles designers who revamped a tiny shack; check out a Brooklyn house built around a tree; tour a labor of love outside Boston; and visit a West Village Victorian.

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Let's see: cut down tree = build a bigger house. This equation didn't work for Margarita McGrath and Scott Oliver. The 60-foot-tall, noble maple was part of the neighborhood. So, they stripped the house to its bones and carved out a tiny "vertical loft." A window "slot" runs the vertical length of the house for added natural light and ample views of the maple.

Not many people think to incorporate a guest bedroom into their kitchen space. These homeowners took advantage of the space and raised an extremely low second floor ceiling to build a "mezzanine" guest room. Security bars across the back wall of the kitchen slide over and lock into place to double as a ladder to the guest bed. Indirect lighting and cabinet lighting (narrow strips of light that illuminate cabinet space through a glass shelf) give the space an intimate, cozy atmosphere.

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