Space-saving tricks help an editor's apartment feel less like a closet and more like a castle.
Sarah Humphreys, an editor, was seduced by this quaint one-bedroom apartment in New York City's West Village. There was a lot to be seduced by: An 1830s row house, a courtyard entrance, rosebushes climbing the walls, birds chirping, a fountain gurgling -- a hushed, idyllic oasis in the middle of the metropolis. When she moved in, however, she realized the apartment was cramped. Soon, a team of home editors came to her rescue working their magic on her itty-bitty abode.
The overstuffed furniture was swapped out for trim, tailored pieces, including a 69-inch-long sofa and a Danish-modern replica chair. With a small space, your primary furniture should not only be compact, but also sleek, without much embellishment, and, ideally, neutral-toned. To that end, the sofa is skirtless and lichen-colored, making it seem less imposing, and the chair is simply wicker and stainless steel.
The kitchen boasts only a mini-fridge and the oven barely fits a Cornish game hen. The cabinets fit only a few plates, leaving most of the pots, pans, and dishware in moving boxes and utensils stuffed into resealable bags since the kitchen was drawer-less. One last point: The kitchen was a real eyesore -- an affront to the living area.
With a few basic steps, the outmoded cabinetry turned modern: The team first removed the doors, then they painted the frames white and the back of the cupboards the same blue as the walls. Removing the doors made the kitchen feel more open. Food is stored in the white canisters on the shelves and the large storage boxes above hold platters and holiday decorations.
This console table sufficed as a place to rest a lamp and deposit bags (as the team did during their visit). But when it came to eating dinner or working, Sarah's only choices were her lap or the lowly coffee table. Another sticking point: Even if she were to find a surface to sit at, Sarah had no chairs to sit on.
The team installed floor-to-ceiling shelves on either side of the fireplace. The shelves' symmetry makes the apartment feel orderly. And their height makes it feel lofty. Although freestanding shelves may work for some, cut-to-fit, wall-mounted versions were essential here -- not only did they allow Sarah to use every inch of space, but also nothing prebuilt would sit flush (the floors are tilted and the walls are lumpy). Her utensils now live in egg-shaped vessels. And the white boxes hold votives, cookie sprinkles, etc.
This 9-by-7-foot chamber receives no light, and the Silly Putty-colored walls didn't do anything to remedy this. The bed was crammed in the corner, college-dorm-style, because the room had to accommodate two dressers, and even then bins of shoes and sweaters were stacked everywhere.
Although there were just 13 inches left on either side of the bed, the home editors centered it against the back wall. Then they added a headboard -- really just fabric hung from a wooden dowel. There was no room for a headboard with any depth, so this serves as a stand-in. They used the same fabric here that they did for the sofa pillows, so the apartment felt unified. The law of symmetry prevailed again, this time in the form of bedside tables.
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