Small Wonders: Design Tips for Space-Starved Homes

Good things come in small packages. An elegant New York studio, a hotel-chic bungalow in Venice Beach, a library on wheels in Washington, D.C., and a New York City mini-loft open up to reveal some wonderful surprises.

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White walls and floors maximize the light, open feel of the space.

Minimalist Mini-Loft

John Protos and Tup Thomas gutted their 520-square-foot New York apartment and molded it into a sophisticated mini-loft. They've maximized every square inch. A narrow staircase leads to an almost full-height sleeping loft; the space below houses a huge walk-in closet. Creating a perfect example of modern minimalism, they have selected a few large pieces to set the tone for their living space.

The homeowners opted for additional counter space in the kitchen. An under-the-counter refrigerator and a swing-out table built into the counter maximize the space they have. The smaller fridge poses some challenges; for instance, they have to shop more frequently and buy items fresh for larger meals. They enjoy a full-size oven but had to compromise with a smaller dishwasher.

Carefully selected, contemporary furniture perfectly complements the loft vibe.

Everything in this New York mini-loft is painted white, including a brick wall and the floors. John and Tup decided to use a few long, large pieces of furniture to accent the depth of the room. Built-ins for books, electronics and to cover the radiator keep the space clean and uncluttered.

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