Creative ApartmentYou don't need to live in a big house to make room for style. From a fabric lover's warm, one-bedroom New York apartment to a craftsman's tiny handcrafted house in Texas, homes are a reflection of the individuals that live in them.
Patrick Hamilton moved into a smaller New York apartment with a view. He resisted the theory that minimalist style and undersized furniture were the only way to go in a small space. Instead, he chose to make his favorite furnishings fit and to cull his belongings down to the essentials. Hamilton basks in a new appreciation for what he can do with less.
Hamilton's entryway is actually his bedroom. He defined and concealed the space with color and textures so that people don't feel as though they've just stepped into a private area. He didn't want to fully enclose the bed with wrap-around curtains but also didn't want to feel like he was sleeping in the middle of his apartment. Painting the dividing wall and entry hall wall the same color defines the space as a room. Painting a floor or a ceiling can also visually define a room in an open space.
Room With Many ViewsThe tiny apartment is filled with a big home's worth of furniture. Ample seating options give various views of the apartment and keep Hamilton from going stir crazy in one-room living. The large sofa sections separate the living room from the rest of the apartment and orient everything toward the windows. Light wall and fabric colors and simple window treatments echo an open feeling throughout the space.
Every Square Foot CountsHamilton carved out some open space between the living room and kitchen; empty is good when you have a lot of stuff elsewhere. The glass sofa tables are used as a sleek workspace for paying bills and computer work. Hamilton pulls the tables away from the couch and places them side-by-side to create a dining table.
Hallway Clothing StorageThe narrow hallway between the bedroom and bathroom was a logical place for clothing storage. Hamilton originally planned to cover the shelving unit, but couldn't find the right way to do it. Eventually the open closet grew on him and now he enjoys the big graphic grid of color. He maintains an orderly appearance by using a cutting board as a folding template for his shirts.
Shack to Dream HouseWhen Thor bought his Texas home, he was undaunted by the fact that it had no plumbing or electricity. A musician, Thor has a unique and creative take on just about everything. He decided to learn carpentry and build his dream house for himself. Without a clear picture in mind, Thor set out to construct his comfortable, livable, organic sculpture.
Found objects set the tone as visitors approach Thor's home. He knew he wanted the front of the house to look like a hobbit castle, so he set about collecting cool-looking stones and rocks that he later used for the pillars and the porch. He added a few gargoyles just to make it feel like home. Many people spend a lot of time decorating the inside of their homes: be sure not to neglect the entryway—it sets the tone for the rest of your house.
Thor's DoorThe front door looks like it was stolen from an old cathedral. Actually, Thor made it by hand out of wood from native Texas trees. He traveled throughout Europe as a musician and found the cathedrals to be the most amazing works of art so he wanted his front door to have that same style and feel.
Handmade StairwayThere's no doubt that Thor's spiral staircase is the centerpiece of his living room. The handmade staircase was constructed without screws or nails. The stairs are cantilevered into the spindle and the banisters are doweled into the stairs. The curved railing securely ties all the pieces together. The high ceiling and ridge vents allow Thor to live air-conditioning free.
Making Room for TwoJust when Ellen Schwartz found enough space for all of her things in her tiny one-bedroom apartment, her fiancé Dean Schulz and all of his stuff moved in. With some creativity and compromise, they figured out a way to save their Upper West Side location and fit both of their lives into 675 square feet.
With a textile design background, Schwartz loves fabric and playing with subtle changes in texture and light. She uses rich materials to create warmth and a minimal approach that exudes a serene, yet happy feeling.
Kitchen CompromisesSchulz is the cook and wanted a kitchen that would suit his needs. The couple opened more counter space with an above-range microwave oven. More cookware storage was added with a skinny cabinet. Schwartz wanted a flooring material that had the feel of a natural woven, grass-like sisal. She found a woven vinyl flooring that has the look she wanted with durability for the wear and tear on a kitchen floor. Easy cleanup is a priority when choosing kitchen materials.
Built-In StorageThe heating and air conditioning unit is a permanent fixture in both the bedroom and the living room. Schwartz got creative with built-ins that encased the units and made them part of an architectural feature in each room. Built-ins usually don't cost much more than store-bought furniture and are a better use of space in nooks and crannies.
Shoji Screen ClosetThe couple built a second closet into a wall in the living room. The shoji screen slides away to reveal the closet that stores all of Schulz's clothing.
South Beach SophisticationDennis Wedlick is an architect and a writer with a mission to let people know that they can do more with less space. He doesn't just write about technique, he lives it. With tropical plants and minimal large-scale furnishings, he creates the expansive feeling of being at the beach in his modest Miami apartment.
The kitchen takes up a full third of the open floor plan in the apartment. Wedlick takes advantage of extra counter space and cabinets. The counters are workspaces for a variety of projects while the cabinets store tools and other items as well as kitchen supplies.
Make It BigThis couch is an all-day hangout with cushions and pillows that can be rearranged for various seating options. Two people can even sleep on it. Wedlick finds that one huge couch and a coffee table can suit many functions. Large furniture can work in small spaces, especially in ones with high ceilings and lots of light. Balance oversized furniture with large accessories.
Non-Traditional Murphy BedThis shelving unit conceals a Murphy bed. The entire unit pulls out from the wall and swivels around to reveal the bed. A stationary wooden cabinet houses pillows and extra blankets. This unconventional take incorporates storage, hides a bed and allows for daytime living space in the apartment. Large plants add life and also define different areas.
Inspirational Office NookThis is Wedlick's favorite spot: the little corner he can crawl into when he wants to get serious about his writing. The multilevel desk houses his printer and a small stereo. The window opens to a view of South Beach and keeps him connected to the outdoors even when he's stuck inside working.