Hanging OutSome of the smallest spaces are filled with the biggest ideas. Visit a tiny, industrial bachelor pad in Miami, built-ins galore in New York, a simple and sophisticated loft in San Francisco and a hidden office in Oakland.
Bachelor Tree House
Andrew Primavera wanted to live by the beach, so he found himself a tiny apartment where he loved the light. Everything else, he gutted.
Primavera removed the drywall ceiling and gained an extra foot of space and open beams for a more contemporary, industrial feel. He installed outdoor flood lights and a warehouse fan for industrial touches. He hangs his bikes from the ceiling for handy, out-of-the-way storage. Exposed rafters are a great place to hang heavy items and to hide wires and speakers.
Double DutyPrimavera removed a wall between the kitchen and living room and built in a dining room table, which doubles as extra food prep space.
Sleeping AloftWith minimal space, Primavera went vertical in his combination office/bedroom. He built a loft for this bed that is six feet six inches off the floor, with a unique narrow staircase and a closet underneath. A built-in shelf by the bed holds a TV, DVD and surround-sound speakers.
Kitchen CutoutStorage Galore
Ruby Lerner found potential in an apartment with a strange layout, an ugly bathroom and no kitchen. She admits to being messy, but custom built-ins and lots of storage keep her space tidy. She has found creative ways to maximize and use the space. And with an innovative way to display her costume jewelry, her bedroom sparkles.
The apartment originally had a small wall of appliances but no real kitchen. She defined the space and added counterspace.
Creative Living SpaceA low seating area in the corner has hidden drawers underneath and a colorful, modern light fixture.
Dining NookIt's open to the entryway, kitchen and breakfast area. The dining table doubles as an extra work space, where she likes to write, and is pulled out with extra chairs when she entertains.
Bedroom Built-InsShe created a window seat with colorful cushions between the shelving units where she exhibits her art and photography. Unique slide-out shelves by the bed display her collection of costume jewelry, with additional storage underneath.
Exposed PipesFishbowl in San Francisco
Downtown San Francisco is the oldest part of the city, full of fabulous restaurants and other exciting venues. With so many amenities just outside his door, Bill Williams doesn't need a lot of space inside. His tiny 487-square-foot loft is right next to a freeway, but he doesn't mind; he even waves to the morning traffic. Williams created a separate bedroom in his space, with a loft bed above the bathroom.
Williams accentuates the industrial elements of the old building. High ceilings with exposed pipes make the apartment feel more spacious than it really is.
Sleeping LoftBecause the space is out of sight, he doesn't have to worry about making his bed when friends come over.
Window to the WorldThe window in Williams' living room overlooks the freeway. He says it's like having a fishbowl but he doesn't have to feed the fish. Heavy curtains can also block unwanted street noise, but Williams keeps his windows bare.
Historic FireplaceColorful Oakland Bungalow
Lots of people cross the bridge from San Francisco to Oakland looking for more space, but even there, it's not easy to come by. Architect Mercedes Corbell managed to preserve the historic details of her Oakland bungalow duplex and blend them with her modern taste, bringing the two together with color.
The original masonry fireplace features three tiles that show different historical California scenes, which is common in 1920s bungalows in that area.
Closet OfficeHidden in a three-foot-deep closet in her dining room is Corbell's office, just big enough for a desk propped on a two-drawer filing cabinet and a small bookcase. When she finishes her work, she just closes the door and the office disappears.
Light and Airy KitchenCorbell restored some of the original elements of the 1920s kitchen, which is relatively spacious for such a small home. The upper cabinets go to the ceiling, which provides plenty of storage and makes the room feel taller.
Hallway BookcaseIn the long hallway leading to her bedroom, Corbell added a narrow bookcase to store all her books and provide a display area for photographs and artwork.