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House Calls – Tale of a Small Space

May 28, 2010

Lyn’s studio apartment is a small space at a mere 300 square feet. She only uses it when she’s in the District for business during the week. Although it’s not her full-time home, while she is there Lyn needs the space to work for her better than it is right now. She enjoys entertaining, but isn’t very keen on inviting people over to her place at its current state.

View of Lyn's Studio Apartment

When we first talked with her to establish what her needs were for the space, she identified the following “must-have” areas that needed to be considered in the final studio design:

  • Area for social gathering
  • Area for sleeping that was permanent (no Murphy beds!)
  • Area for computer use or other such tasks
  • Area for dining that included an actual dining table and chairs (no eating on the sofa here!)

Her space was simply too small to accommodate all of these functions with each activity having its own dedicated and distinct space. We knew right away that the design challenge would be to create these areas to serve double duty. We grouped her space into two functional areas: an active area, which included her dining, working, and entertaining needs; and a quiet area for sleeping and TV watching. After multiple revisions and only two breakdance battles, this was our final solution:

Space Planning for Lyn's Studio

In order for the space to be multi-functional, the furnishings had to be flexible. For the living/dining area, we chose an adjustable height table that can be lowered to function as a coffee table or raised to act as a dining table. This one was found at Overstock:

Adjustable Height Table from

When Lyn needs to get things done, she splits her time between working at a desk, and working on the bed in front of the TV. If you have a similar working style, consider using a desk that folds down when you need a surface, and then can be folded out of the way when not in use, much like an ironing board. We found this solution at World Market, one of Lyn’s favorite stores:

Fold-Out Desk from World Market

In addition, it was our goal to provide a subtle division of the space without building a wall. Not only did her budget not allow for a full height division, but it would also make an already small space appear even smaller. To achieve spatial division but still maintain access to views, we placed an open bookcase we found on Overstock on its side. By doing this, it serves as storage for the living area, a headboard for her bed, and also an extra horizontal surface to display items or rest her keys.

Open Bookcase from

Above the bookcase, we proposed hanging a series of open glass frames from Pier 1. This allows for a division of spaces while displaying her Erte prints yet still giving visual access to the outdoors.

Open Frames from Pier1

Horizontal Bookcase with Floating Frames Above

Want to know what other goodies we used? You’ll have to check back next week to see the rest of the furnishings and accessories we selected to give Lyn the studio apartment she had always wanted!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2010 4:35 pm

    You guys are so talented! I love seeing what you come up with. In fact, I’m getting married and going to be combining households with my new husband in August. Maybe we should talk…

    • May 31, 2010 12:54 am

      Thanks Alison!! We would love to chat with you about transforming two single lives into your new husband and wife home – sounds like a lot of fun!

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