Shared SpaceCreative design can really open up a space. A family renovates a San Francisco flat to fit them all; high design and environmental efficiency distinguish a Houston home; the first off-grid and portable home has high style; and practical storage makes a New York condo feel spacious.
All in the Family
This San Francisco flat has been passed down through five generations of the Schaefer family. When David and Dawn Schaefer inherited their home, they sought a remodel that balanced modern design with historical character. They salvaged original details like flooring and molding and reintroduced them into the new design.
This family has figured out how to use all 930 square feet for two adults, two kids (soon to add one more) and two cats. They knocked down the original plaster ceiling to expose the vaulted roof and merged the kitchen and living room to create one central gathering space. Benches on either side of the fireplace provide extra seating and storage for the kids' toys. The dark chocolate color on the fireplace wall is another great design element; deep colors can make a small space feel intimate and rich.
Desktop DesignDawn Schaefer designed this home office desk that shares the space with her bedroom. The bottom cabinet doors open to support a drawer that pulls out above them. Another cabinet door above pulls down and rests on top of the drawer for a sturdy desktop. The cubby holds essential equipment: files, computer, etc.
Central DiningThe Shot-Trot
David Kaplan's architect friend, Brett Zamore, created a hybrid of two regional housing types: the shotgun and the dogtrot. He calls it the "shot-trot." Zamore's design respected the history of the Houston neighborhood while incorporating a modern feel. Using durable materials and energy efficient ventilation, he constructed an environmentally responsible house. Kaplan loves his unique home with the lowest utility bill on the block.
By adding a freestanding wall in the center of the long house, Zamore defined a dining area and also created an entryway for the front door.
And the Living is BreezyThe louvered barn doors on both sides of the home slide back to open the living room to outside space. This also creates wholesale ventilation.
The miniHome PrototypeThe "miniHome"
Architect Andy Thompson has been exploring just how small a person can live without feeling that he is making ridiculous sacrifices. His prototype for the "miniHome" is an ecological design that is affordable for anyone. It combines resource-saving features like solar power and a composting toilet with luxury items like a full soaker tub in a cedar bathroom. It's ultimately designed to feel like home.
It's a mere 325 square feet but is packed with great style and all the modern conveniences of a typical 2,000-square-foot home. Yet, it uses just 1/10th of the energy. When people walk through the miniHome, they often guess that it is 550 square feet — which just goes to show that good design in a small space can make it feel double the size!
Kitchen AplentyIt may be small, but this kitchen has all the amenities: plenty cabinet space, a double sink, a gas stove and range and a refrigerator. The dining area features flexible furniture.
Lots of OptionsThis versatile table can fold down and tuck against the wall for an end table or can be opened fully to accommodate several people for a meal. The stationary bench provides more seating in this configuration. The bench folds into a single bed and houses storage below.
Queen Bed in a Bright LoftThe staircase that leads up to a lofted queen size bed was inspired by ship design. The Plexiglas barrier is a smart safety feature that allows light from the loft's skylight to flow through the space.
One Space, Two FunctionsMinimalist Color Scheme, Warm Details
When Elizabeth Blitzer purchased her 625-square-foot New York condo a year and a half ago, she set out to renovate. The most surprising challenge was finding a refrigerator and counters that would navigate her building's narrow stairwell. Living small is okay by Blitzer.
By assigning areas of the apartment for specific purposes and designing each distinctly, the space feels larger. The awkward sized living room was too narrow to feel like one space, so Blitzer split it in two. To keep the rest of the space feeling less cluttered, she arranged all of her artwork on one wall.
Book BoundShe found the perfect opportunity to display and store treasured books, photos and knick-knacks by installing built-in bookcases to frame her bedroom doorway. They've become the ultimate practical storage system.