Contemporary LivingWhen Keith and Beth Miller moved into their 600-square-foot downtown Seattle condo, they realized very quickly that a small space fit them like a glove. They loved the design challenges, efficiency of living and less cleaning. The Millers are proud of the job they have done. In fact, Beth will be presenting her abstract submittal called Creating Abundance in 600 sq.ft. or Less based on their Seattle condo to a national organization this summer.
Their funky living room furnishings are not only beautiful, but the couch has adjustable arms and back so that it can fold down completely flat to accommodate overnight guests. Keith often works from home in his tiny but efficient 5- by 6-foot home office, containing organizer boxes, shelving and workspace for his laptop. Hidden storage throughout the space makes the condo seem surprisingly spacious.
Swivel TVTheir colorful bedroom is simple and can be a private space or open to the living area through the use of translucent rolling panels. Just outside the bedroom is the fireplace with swiveling TV stand, allowing them to see the TV from the bed, couch or kitchen.
Splash of RedUsing wood and stone, Keith and Beth created a rich and serene space with red accents. The top of the vanity holds a basket with a hole cut in the bottom that leads to an outlet — Beth leaves her hair dryer plugged in and neatly hidden in the basket so she doesn't have to fuss with plugs and cords every morning. A strange notch in the wall was turned into a floor-to-ceiling cabinet, allowing them to store all linens and bathroom supplies in the bathroom.
Wide OpenBianca Lanza lives on the top floor of an 1827 Federal Style house, reportedly once the home of renowned artist Jackson Pollack. She made major architectural changes, but the sloping roof creates some design and storage challenges.
When she bought the building in 1973, it was a depressing and cramped placed. In a small space, hallways can waste valuable square footage. So she knocked down the walls of the four rooms to create one open space. She also knocked out the ceiling to expose the architecture of the beautiful A-frame roof and add four skylights. At the highest point of the peak, she created a sleeping loft for guests, some of whom stay for months at a time!
Low-Profile KitchenAn open, low-profile kitchen is in the center of her main living space. She put in a stacked freezer and microwave against the wall and built in a series of four drawers. Because the freezer is against the sloping wall, there was still space behind the freezer. Lanza took advantage of this wasted space by creating two cabinets that can open from the side. She also created an island in the kitchen that houses a fridge and two drawers. Because she used to be a caterer, she loves cooking and has tons of kitchen stuff, which she stashes in two storage areas built into the wall. Keeping her catering skills sharp, she has had every sort of gathering in her small space — from a dancing party with 125 people to an intimate dinner party with 12 friends. The kitchen allows her to entertain while she is cooking right in the middle of the room, while both the dining table and coffee table can extend to accommodate more guests.
Tucked in BedTucked under the sloped roof is a small bedroom, complete with a skylight for star-gazing. Floor-to-ceiling bookcase and under-the-bed drawers provide ample storage. A vibrant quilt from Brazil rounds out the cozy room.
Compartmental LivingSunil Bhuta spent 6 months looking for the ideal place to rent and knew he had found it when he stumbled upon this simple condo one block from the beach. Immediately he began getting rid of the clutter and bulky furniture in the space. As a minimalist, Bhuta wanted to strip the condo down to the basics, creating the illusion of space.
The downstairs consists of four quadrants: a living room with a couch that opens up to a queen-sized bed, a chaise and a plasma TV with floating shelf storage; a kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, a bar with stools and enough room for a wine refrigerator; a small bathroom; and a closet carved out from under the stairs. In the kitchen, an island with bar stools doubles as a dining table and food prep space; nearby a large chalkboard provides an area for temporary "art."
Open and AiryThe upstairs loft is a wide open area, with wall-to-wall, built-in cabinetry that provides more storage than Bhuta could ever use. The headboard of the built-in platform bed serves as the backing for a built-in office, which he takes great advantage of as he often brings his work home with him. The railing around the platform sleeping area is made of steel cables, which keeps it open and airy. Translucent glass is another good option for a railing that lets light through.
One Orange WallHakarl Bee hails from Berlin, Germany, where apartments are much bigger and cheaper than in New York. But he was determined to make art out of his bland "white box" by thinking out of the box. Living in a city that's notorious for its basic blacks and grays, the first thing Bee and roommate Jili Jimenez did was to introduce color—bold and vibrant color. A red entrance, orange living room and a yellow dining area give the place a sunny attitude. According to Bee, different colors for each area of the apartment helped structure the space and make it feel larger.
They set aside one wall in the living room by painting it vivid orange and added molding to give it an Old World touch. Depending on the time of day and natural lighting, the orange dramatically changes the mood of the room.
Sunny StripesThey planned to paint stripes on the dining area wall, but when they adhered the yellow tape to the wall, they decided they liked the look of the tape itself, especially when they hung their yellow artwork. The natural sunlight from the nearby window adds even more dimension to the yellow wall.
Dreaming in Black and WhiteThe large floral graphic on the headboard is the focal point of the bedroom. "Supergraphics" are a great alternative to painting or wallpapering a wall, too. They're available online and adhere to a wall in minutes for a dynamic look. Across from the bed is a creative closet solution. With only one small closet in the apartment, they devised a bedroom clothes closet using several discarded mirrors found on the street. They attached the panels with hinges and mounted them in a zigzag formation to the wall, keeping four segments on wheels for easy access. Not only did this solve the closet crunch, but the mirrors really helped expand the room visually.