iPadWhen William Charnock moved into a small two-bedroom apartment in his favorite neighborhood, it was "just bearable." Instead of trying to squeeze everything into 800 square feet, Charnock and his designer Pia Richter decided to keep it simple. They took down all the existing walls and used innovative, beautiful design to create a space that seamlessly accommodates all of Charnock’s needs.
Charnock nicknamed his apartment the "iPad" because everything in the design is white and metal. The kitchen is a cube that separates the living space from the bathroom. The cutout above is an interior window that allows one to see beyond the kitchen into the space behind, increasing the sense of depth in the apartment. Charnock loves to cook and have dinner parties. The kitchen was enlarged and moved closer to the dining room so he can cook and still feel like part of the action. The kitchen itself is furnished with a double oven, ample cabinets and two oversize drawers beneath the stove that hold all the necessary cooking utensils and pots and pans.
BeautilityCharnock finds his home so beautiful because it is all so functional. The sectional sofas offer flexibility in the space and pull out into two single beds that can be pushed together to make one larger bed. The flat screen TV is suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the space and swivels 360-degrees to be viewed from anywhere in the apartment. An entire wall of closets provides more storage than is even needed. The bedroom can be sectioned off with a double curtain. One layer is a sheer curtain, which creates a nice soft see-through effect; the second layer is a special light and sound-blocking solid curtain that closes up the space from view completely, creating a cozy nest within the drapery.
Living in a clean, modern space doesn't mean having to buy everything new. Charnock loves to find unusual pieces at flea markets to add character to the utility. He even chose a character walnut floor for the apartment. It already has all the knots and mistakes many people don't want and the tung oil finish makes the wood incredibly hard and durable. Charnock likes living in a space where everything can be used and enjoyed.
Open Floor PlanJuan Carlos Alonso moved to Miami from Venezuela via Mexico, so he was certainly used to sunny spaces. But normally they were a lot bigger. He bought this place because it had so much potential — very high ceilings, tons of light, and serendipitously all his furniture matched. Since the walls and ceiling were gray concrete, Alonso decided to paint on pizzazz.
The original flooring just didn't have the vibrancy Alonso was looking for, so he painted his floors a deep red. When living in an open floor plan use the same flooring throughout; it keeps the eye moving and makes the space seem bigger. Alonso keeps the flow in the space with glass tabletops for dining and coffee tables. He also hung the curtains that separate the bedroom lower than the ceiling. This elongates the space and draws attention to the high ceilings. It also allows light flow throughout the space even when the curtains are drawn.
Colorful KitchenInspired by the use of yellow in the kitchens of Mexico, Alonso painted his kitchen a bright yellow. He used garage paint on the concrete walls, which is very durable and washable. Since he used to be a bartender, he says he has more glassware than anyone else in Miami. To gain extra storage in the small, visible kitchen, he uses his oven to stow away pots and pans. If you don't use the oven for cooking, take advantage of the storage space—even for unseemly items like sweaters or books. Just be sure the oven stays off!
Alonso loves to cook and entertain. He painted his front door with chalkboard paint – where he encourages guests to leave notes and extemporaneous artwork. He also painted a pipe that runs vertically through the space with chalkboard paint. He didn't want to cover it up since it is a structural element in the loft, so now he embellishes it in a playful way.
Soul of the HomeJames and Lynn Garnett thought about the design of their tiny galley kitchen for almost 10 years before they started to renovate. Their ingenious ideas include a ladder/spice rack combo, a pantry/baking nook and a cabinet that consolidates rolls of plastic and foil wraps.
Every inch counts in a 100-square-foot kitchen. A 1955 janitor's sink salvaged from an old school provides character in this cozy space. The extra depth and width offers lots of extra room for dishes and for food preparation. To utilize every nook, the homeowners built back into walls all the way to the ceiling to maximize space. A built-in wine rack, cabinetry and shelving hovers at ceiling level. Since they didn’t want the track needed for a rolling ladder, James Garnett developed the idea of an inset oak ladder to provide easy access to the upper storage. It conveniently stows away into the wall and features spice racks in the empty spaces between the rungs.
All the ExtrasA commercial stove, a hood with heat lamp, a glass front refrigerator and under counter freezer push the limits of expectations in this small kitchen. Some of the homeowners' favorite elements are less immediately impressive, but add the extra touches that bring luxury into this small kitchen. A wrap cabinet holds the rolls of wax paper, tin foil and paper towels. A large wooden cutting board slides out from underneath the counter; the board is removable to make cleaning a snap.
Baking PantryWith an exceptionally organized storage system, the homeowners managed to carve out a baking area in their pantry. All the dry goods are kept in large canning jars; the uniform size and clear medium allow them to evaluate their inventory at a glance. A soapstone counter offers a stay-cool surface to roll out perfect pastries. Extra deep drawers in the pantry house the silverware and gadgets in custom built compartments. The rolling pin even has its own holder on the wall to keep it readily accessible. A wall-mounted wine rack, often found in an airplane galley, also keeps another favorite delicacy at the ready.
Open LivingArchitect Neil Kaye was working on this building when he realized the opportunity to live here. An open living area makes the space feel much larger and works perfectly for his and wife Loren's lifestyle. With sliding glass doors and light filling this bright white space from three sides, the Kayes feel like they live in a home that’s double the size.
The main feature of the empty loft-like shell is what Neil Kaye calls the "Service Area." All of the functional service components are compressed to create a linear bar across one side of the space, including the fireplace, kitchen, two closets and a three-room bathroom: one with sink and shower, another with toilet and sink, and a room with only a tub that Loren Kaye calls her "private spa."
The living space is minimalist and modern with classic 1950s furnishings and clean, sleek lines. When you have a design based on square geometry, offset those elements with rounded edges. The oblong table in the center of the living area and the textured rug warms up the look of the space and softens some of the hard edges. Across from the kitchen, sliding glass doors open onto a courtyard. Finding outdoor space in the landlocked buildings of San Francisco is rare, so they created a space between the buildings that is open to the sky above for a private outdoor area to take in fresh air and sunlight.
A Counter that Measures UpThis kitchen counter exceeds the standard measurements of most counters. At 16 feet long and 3 feet deep, it offers a good foot extra in depth than the average counter. That extra foot is nice for tucking away often used appliances. Due to the extra dimension, the fridge and freezer tuck neatly under the counter. Though when you can shop every second day, you don't need a lot of extra storage for perishable foods.