More Than It SeemsMike Butler is an architectural photographer who takes pictures of Miami mansions, and then goes home to a 400-square-foot cottage. That cottage, a grotto hideaway called Coral Gables, was created by architect Gladys Diaz with a vision of an artists' village. Butler was instantly drawn to the energy of this one-room cottage.
He moved from a 1000-square-foot place into this 400-square-foot cottage. He admits that he had to sort through gobs of junk and pare right down to the basics. At this point in his life, he wanted something a little different — and this place is just that. What's important is that it works for now.
Two in OneInstead of using a screen as a divider, Butler uses the furniture and the aesthetics of the room to create two spaces. By backing the furniture against each other, the focus of each area is its function and not the other room with which it shares floor space.
Simplifying StorageButler's sleeping loft is just big enough for his bed. Luckily he has a walk-in closet that is large enough for all his clothing and extra storage. Having one central storage space is a great idea for small spaces; things can get lost or forgotten in a multitude of nooks. This way you know where everything is, and you can get to it right away. Another trick for de-cluttering a bedroom is to hide a dresser in a closet.
No Need to ScrimpThe biggest trick in this teeny kitchen was to fit a full-size cooktop stove, refrigerator and dishwasher into the space. Diaz found a manufacturer that made a dishwasher that allowed for a sink to be installed above it—an unusual and great space-saving feature.
Expansive EconomyWhen Aeryn Seto and Shan Johnson walked into their San Francisco loft, it was merely cement and dust. Then they saw a rarity in the city: gorgeous exposed brick. The 1908 brick building was the original telephone exchange for the area. The renovations resulted in an open loft that blends their modern sensibilities with traditional accents to create a home that is uniquely theirs.
The benefit of the kitchen being open to the rest of the loft is that Johnson can still be connected to the rest of the space while working in the kitchen. He can enjoy the view of the skyline from the huge windows as he prepares meals. Using space efficiently is paramount to Johnson; luckily he and Seto are tall enough to reach the top shelves in the cabinets that extend all the way up to the ceiling.
Secret StudyEveryone needs a little privacy, but how do you manage this in an open loft? Seto's love of books made a library a must-have treat. It's the only room with doors in the loft and she retreats into the space to close off from the rest of the world. Another option is to create a covert corner with curtains.
With Room to SpareThese homeowners are not into collecting a lot of stuff. They like the clutter-free, minimalist lifestyle. Having minimal furnishings and decorations keeps the focus on the architecture of the space and on the view from the large windows.
Oh What a Sight!Moiz Alladina is a hair stylist in New York City. When Alladina first saw this apartment, he loved it immediately for the windows. Then he saw that one of the views was of the Empire State Building. Sold!
His friends are always dropping by for a quick trim, so he turned the foyer of his small Chelsea space into a mini-salon. With the help of an architect, Alladina created a one-bedroom apartment out of a studio. Alladina also made sure to include personal touches that make the space his home.
Stylishly SquareAn unconventional square sink sits atop the counter. It's a classy look that also frees up extra storage below. Alladina installed a Japanese tub, which is extra deep for a great soak. The glass divider keeps the whole space open while keeping shower water contained.
Unifying ElementThe marble ledge is incorporated throughout the apartment as a design theme. You can achieve this effect with any material: wood, glass or even linoleum. To make a small space feel unified, stick to one color palette on the walls.
Flexible EngagementsWhen most people think of adding on to their homes, they usually build up or out. Not architect Bernardo Charca. He lifted his original house and built a new structure underneath! In doing so, he created an open floor plan with huge windows and skylights to bring the light, air and warmth of Venice, Calif., right into his home.
Al Fresco CookingThe kitchen is the heart of Charca's home. He takes advantage of the southern California climate and combines his kitchen with the outdoors. Adding natural touches to modern decor gives instant warmth to the space. Anytime you can open an indoor space to an outdoor one, it makes the room feel bigger.
Work FlowThe wrap-around desk creates two work areas and defines the office space. Central shelving and cabinets offer clutter-free storage and organization.
Storage SystemAn inexpensive, prefabricated storage cabinet does the job as Charca's closet. He suggests taking stock of what you have to store beforehand, and then provide for it with a storage system. He also says not to overlook a dirty clothes bin within a system.