Step-by-Step SeatingLiving small doesn't mean you can't live big. Check out a tiny row house transformed in Washington D.C.; visit a cozy getaway in Lake Placid; a new addition calls for changes in a Miami home; and take in an artist's space in Chicago.
This 12-foot-wide row house was just barely inhabitable when Nic and Aleka Baker purchased it. In their renovation, they gained space by adding a third level and a three-story glass window. To accentuate the feeling of a loft-like space, the second floor stops short of the glass window. The large gap allows the light and space to flow vertically between the floors.
These homeowners have found some standard solutions, including having a couch that can double as a guest bed. They also use two metal cabinets that are on casters as side tables that provide storage. Bringing them together in front of the couch turns them into a coffee table. An innovative solution to provide extra seating is found in the staircase. They used open treads when rebuilding the staircase to leave it open to the living room. The stairs double as seating that provides conversation spaces as well as conversation pieces.
Incognito KitchenThe living area, kitchen and dining room are all on the first floor. It was important to the couple to have a very streamlined kitchen – one that wouldn't interfere with the modern, clean-lined decor of the other rooms. The cabinets have no hardware and appliances are concealed behind a facade that blends in with the cabinets. Keeping the countertops clear helps them meld with the adjacent spaces. What's the point of hiding the refrigerator if you're just going to set out a toaster?
Tradition With a TwistGo Cottage
As a competitive cross country skier, Todd Carter and his wife Sharon Middendorf were spending so much time in upstate New York that they decided to look for property in the area. They found a 980-square-foot cottage in Lake Placid. In a record-breaking nine weeks, they managed to restore it back to its pristine state.
One of the great features of a 1920s cottage is the built-in hutch. In a modern twist on that component, the homeowners ripped out the sheetrock behind the hutch and attached glass doors on both sides of it. Now they have a pass through to the kitchen and a whole lot more light flowing into the space.
Room for HappinessFrench doors connect the two bedrooms in the cottage. To accentuate the bright, sunny guest room, Middendorf created an all-white color palette. Everything is white: the walls, bedding, curtains, trim, rug, light fixtures, etc. It's the universal solution for opening up a space. You can also do variations using multiple tones of white in one space to create more visual interest.
The Everything RoomBaby Makes Three
This young couple barely finished unpacking when they discovered they were expecting their first baby. Plans for their 697-square-foot Miami apartment changed quickly. What didn't change were their stylistic choices. Mike Morel adds the rustic organic feel to Annhy Shim's more modern, minimalist interior design sensibilities. Wood floors, grass wallpaper and a collection of Indonesian masks define the character of their main living space.
You can have it all; you might just have to fit it all into one room. A secretary in the corner folds down to reveal a fully functioning office, and then closes right back to disappear back into the room. A large closet houses the European all-in-one washer/dryer. Morel cut the legs of the dining table to better fit the sofa and bench they use as dining seating. When they have overnight guests, they just slide the table off to the side and open the sofa into a double bed.
Wall HeadboardWhile the homeowners like the idea of a traditional headboard, they just didn't have the space to spare for one. Instead, they placed a mural of a bamboo forest on the wall behind their bed. The effect gives dimension and depth to the room.
Baby ClosetLife can be unpredictable. Living in a small space can require a constant reevaluation of your needs. In this case, it was a matter of a need for a closet versus a nursery. To maximize space the homeowners converted a closet into a baby nook with shelves and an area for hanging clothes. They also hunted around for a crib that fits into the nook space. The oval crib on casters can be rolled out into the room or tucked away when they want a neat, open space in the bedroom.
Living Room StudioBig Art, Small Space
Three years ago, Frank Fruzyna moved into his small Chicago apartment and had to use his abundant creativity to overcome some space challenges. First and foremost was the lack of light and view due to the apartment's position between two apartment buildings. Vellum on a few of the windows obscures the undesirable views while still allowing the light to pass through.
The bathroom doubles as the slop sink and paintbrush cleaning and storage area. The living room has given way to his art studio. As the floor gets covered in paint whenever he works, Fruzyna developed a clever system. He covered the floor in cardboard and masked it off around the edges. When he's ready to clean up the paint, he just lets it dry and then paints over the mess with a cardboard color, eggshell finish house paint. The more coats he applies, the more durable the cardboard floor becomes.
Bamboo MatsWhile a lot of Fruznya's dishes and glassware were attractive to display, some things like the tuna and cereal boxes didn't look so good exposed. So, he came up with the ingenious idea of tacking individual bamboo placemats to the shelving to create cabinet doors. Bamboo mats are one of those inexpensive materials that have great texture and can hide a multitude of sins.
Stacked SculptureFruznya designed the stacking storage unit for the space between the two windows to hold his books, television and even shoes below. With some artistic arrangement, Fruzyna finds it takes on a sculptural presence in the room.