ObjectologyBig ideas can expand any space. Meet an artist who has sculpted the perfect small space; visit an innovative studio in New York; see the science of storage in San Diego and discover a house that opens with the push of a button.
David and Im Schafer downsized from 1,300 square feet to only 400. The downsizing was worth it. The Merrimac is a celebrated warehouse renovation in downtown San Diego. With its industrial height ceilings, it became clear that vertical was the secret password to harmonious cohabitation. He's an avid collector and she's an avid organizer: together they have found the perfect balance of form and function.
When planning the kitchen, the Schafers measured every item they use in the kitchen. They drew meticulous plans via computer program and created the ultimate customized shelving for glasses, plates, silverware and miscellaneous kitchen gadgets. The chairs on the wall are another story; they claim it was a late night epiphany. Actually finding some cables and hooks on hand was serendipity.
Cheers!Enjoying dinner with each other and friends is a big part of life in the Schafer loft. The couch interacts with the dining room table so that they can sit across from each other for a cozy meal.
The Science of StorageAgain, for the Schafers, planning was essential when organizing their storage space. They sized their possessions and grouped them into uniform spaces. They bought the same size containers all at once. They even bought a computer case that matches their stereo system for a continuous look. Their home office is tucked away to the left. To the right is their space-saving ship's ladder that leads to the loft. When the curtains are drawn, it all disappears.
Big GesturesSculpting the Perfect Small Space
Sculptor Mary Brogger relies on thrift stores and street finds for her design inspiration. To live in Wicker Park, just minutes away from downtown Chicago, Brogger had to sacrifice space. She is always strategizing how to store things out of sight.
Brogger finds it's important when living in a small space to make big gestures to keep the space feeling big. The daybed doubles as couch and guest bed and is positioned as a centerpiece in the room.
It's the Little ThingsThe cabinet was a thrift store find and provides lots of storage. Brogger taped velum to the inside of the glass doors to conceal the cabinet's contents. She also chooses furniture with legs that provide storage underneath. Brogger removed all the doors in the apartment as the swing of a door takes up a lot of space. She replaced the door to the bedroom with a tri-fold door that she found on the street.
Cool StorageAt first, the side of the refrigerator was the first thing one saw when walking into the apartment. Brogger placed a wall unit along side the fridge. She pulled the fridge out to make it flush with the cabinet and opened up storage space in the process.
Home Sweet HomePushbutton House
The "Pushbutton House" is a shipping container that opens to reveal a sectional apartment. When asked if it's a home or an art project, Adam Kalkin, a conceptual artist and architect, says: "It's a theater piece; it's a sculpture? I don't know what it is. It's a machine." While clearly not practical as a primary residence, Kalkin's project challenges our ideas of what we call home.
You'd never know by looking at it that this shipping container houses, well, a house. A few years ago, Adam Kalkin was commissioned to create a house that would travel around the country. That project fell through, but the idea of a space that could totally transform itself lingered, and Kalkin began work on the "Pushbutton House."
Open HouseThe real trick to this house is mounting everything so that it stays in place when the container is in motion yet fits together like a puzzle inside the closed container. The lamps were one of the most troublesome aspects of the maneuver.
Same As It Ever WasOnce open, each room features the classic representation of bed, couch, lamp, etc. The objects not only provide their functional role, but also the quintessential essence of their thingness. Kalkin purposely furnished the house with refined pieces as a contrast to the powerful hydraulics that powers its transformation.
One Room LivingInnovative Studio
At first glance, Milan Hughston's West Village studio seems to be one small room. But the west wall contains the apartment's functional core: shelving, a Murphy bed, a tabletop that slides on tracks to serve as desk, dining room table and kitchen island.
Hughston wanted to create a home that has a minimal aesthetic but a lot of impact. He chose all of his furniture for its relationship to the size of his apartment. Scale is everything in a small space. Two of his favorite features are the glossy black floor that creates a reflective pool that makes the furniture appear to float in the space, and the silvery curtain against the far wall that adds shimmering sheer sexiness to the studio.
Fun With FormicaThe kitchen originally had flat white cabinetry. Sanders replaced them with silver Formica that has an aluminum look and reflects the color of the curtain on the opposite side of the apartment.
It's All ThereThis wall of curtain panels covers the storage space that holds a lot of Hughston's belongings. Sanders created a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor space that is 20 feet deep. It houses separate areas for different uses, such as kitchen items, clothing, and the Murphy bed.