Modernly TraditionalHaving a small space doesn't mean you can't be whimsical in design. Meet a woman who's not afraid to mix and match to create her custom interior decor. See two designers who decorated their legendary NYC studio "Carnivale" style, a California designer who uses modern closet systems to maximize her space and a couple who renovated their pad to make room for entertaining.
Bright and Sunny Beach Cottage
Emily Kroll lives with her boyfriend and works out of an 800-square-foot beach cottage in Santa Monica. Kroll designed her small space with a mix 'n match aesthetic. She used her own furniture along with pieces made or given by friends. Sure she'd like more room, but she loves her charming cottage and its location just steps away from the beach and the boardwalk.
Continuity of color also brings together eclectic furnishings from a variety of eras. In the living room, low furniture makes the ceilings seem taller. In an unused fireplace, they stowed their TV. Kroll rethought traditional in a modern way, while still appreciating the original details. In older homes, find inspiration to update by looking at the elements that were there when the house was built.
Closet CatalogerShe stores like items in clear plastic bins and created a numbered label system to organize and identify the bins. A photo album coordinates the numbered bins with photos of what's contained in each numbered bin.
Wall of InspirationKroll uses every inch of her office space. She uses dressers to house office supplies, shelves to contain an extensive library of design resources and a bench draped with textiles that hide the storage bins below. She even uses the walls as a vertical design board where she plays with groupings and inspired design schemes.
When it was first built, London Terrace Towers in Manhattan was one of the largest apartment buildings in the world. Today it's still one of the most luxurious. Alton Dulaney and Andre Da Costa love their 450-square-foot alcove studio with its air of "Carnivale." A lot of the furnishings, especially the eclectic lighting fixtures, are one-of-a-kind finds from the flea markets of Brazil.
This closet offers just enough space for an antique full bed. Dulaney and Da Costa prefer having a sleeping area that does not interfere with their studio living space.
Hip to Be SquareThey decided to play off both the classic Deco design of the building and the hip spirit of the surrounding Chelsea neighborhood. They chose a square geometry for tables, sofas and chairs. A muted palette of taupe, sage and white allows for continuity throughout the space and makes the space look bigger.
Chic BoutiqueMid-Century Modern Chic
After purchasing a tiny studio apartment in downtown Long Beach, California, Marnie Dorf committed to creating a well-designed space with practical function. The highlight of her studio is her boutique-themed, walk-in closet. Originally designed to fit a Murphy bed and built-in dresser, she decided that sleeping in the cramped space wasn't her style. The closet is now completely dedicated to voguish storage.
By keeping her belongings neatly tucked away in a modern closet system, she has been able to reduce clutter and streamline her 398-square-foot studio space.
Stylizing StorageDorf also found that using vibrant wallpaper was a funky way to give energy to a small space. If you enjoy looking at what you have, display it. Express your style in the space you have.
The Heart of Their HomeA Tiny Refuge for a Family of Three
When Rob Mank and Lauren Wein first saw their railroad style, 600-square-foot New York City co-op, the thing they liked best about it was that they could afford it. While fitting a family of three into a small apartment certainly involves challenges, Mank and Wein love their tiny refuge; it's easy to keep clean and they're never far from anything or each other.
The couple defined the dining area with built-in seating and lighting fixtures. They are able to seat eight guests at the very long and narrow dining room table. The seating also conceals huge, sliding storage drawers below.
Kosher KitchenFor this, they need lots of storage. Cabinets that use the full height of the room and a few large drawers provide them with the space they need. One of Mank's favorite features of the kitchen is the continuous stainless steel counter, sink and backsplash. It's easy to keep clean and it looks smart, too.
Keeping It TogetherTo highlight this connection of the rooms, the couple built an entire wall of custom cabinetry that conceals both Mank's and Wein's clothes, a linen closet, a coat closet and their daughter Sadie's toys and baby things. The cabinetry also conceals a home office complete with desk. When building closets along a long wall, it's best to use a smaller number of larger doors to keep the area from looking too cluttered or compartmentalized.