This Is the Loveliest, Most Organized 200-Square-Foot Studio We’ve Ever Seen

This Is the Loveliest, Most Organized 200-Square-Foot Studio We’ve Ever Seen

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Name: Skylar Pittmon
Location: Greenwich Village — New York, NYC
Size: 200 square feet
Type of Home: Studio Apartment
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

Before moving into this teeny studio apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village, Skylar was living on a sailboat she had remodeled in North Carolina. So, she wasn’t too intimidated by a home that’s only 200 square feet. “I found my apartment online during an uncertain time in the pandemic,” Skylar explains. “I wasn’t able to physically see the apartment and location prior to signing the lease, so I just had to go with my gut feelings.”

Small spaces tend to benefit from customization that maximizes every square inch. Which is exactly what Skylar did, with the help of family. “My family knows a good amount about woodworking and they helped me make all of the furniture in my apartment. With my apartment being incredibly small and with zero closets, I knew I needed to find a solution for storage,” she begins. “We built a large storage unit that serves as a place for my books, clothes and other items. I also really value sitting at a table to eat, so having a normal sized table was important to me, even in this small of a space. My apartment serves a multi-faceted place for me — a place where I can work, rest, cook, feel inspired and everything in between.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: It’s hard to describe my style as I don’t think it fits perfectly in any category. I think about how things make me feel and if I like it, I like it. I really love supporting artists and being surrounded by objects that remind me of a person, place, or particular time period in my life.

Inspiration: I find a lot of inspiration in visiting artist homes and going to art museums. My favorite places I have visited have been Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in New Mexico and Donald Judd’s loft in New York. I think there is a lot to be said about how artists live.

Favorite Element: My favorite element is how quiet my apartment can be. To be in a busy city and on a busy street and to find such quietness really amazes me. I am someone who really needs my solitude, so it makes this apartment feel like home.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is getting into my lofted bed area. I had no other place to put my bike other than right at the staircase of the loft. It does make it harder to get up there but I like to imagine that I’m rock climbing!

Proudest DIY: Every piece of furniture is DIY but strangely, my favorite piece of DIY is the trashcan. I kept a knob from the original cabinets on my sailboat and used it on the trashcan. It holds the most meaning to me and I love the simplicity of the design. It’s a piece I know I will take with me to my next place and so on.

Biggest Indulgence: My biggest indulgence was my rugs. They were made to order in Morocco and took about two months to arrive. They taught me a lot about deferred gratification and how much it means to me to get the things that I really want instead of settling for something that doesn’t meet all of my needs.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Something unique about my home is that despite the size of my studio, I still feel like I have the space to do all the things I need at home. I tried to lay out the design in the most versatile way. Tables are something that hold a lot of meaning to me because I think it’s beautiful the life a table gets to live — the centerpiece of so many moments. I made sure to prioritize having a decent-sized table that I use as a place to eat, work, do crafts on, or have a conversation with a friend.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My favorite things that I have bought for my home are my books. Over the past few years, I have realized how much value I find in books and how much beauty they hold. 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I try to take advantage of vertical space and store things that I use the most at eye level. Also, hooks! I love hooks. I use hooks inside my kitchen cabinets to hang things like pan lids, strainers, etc. They are another great way to take advantage of vertical space.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My best advice is to be intentional about the things you let into your home. I think it’s important for everything that’s in your home to hold meaning to you. That way, when you are at home, it feels like a sanctuary that is so unique to you and filled with your memories.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

Erin Derby

Photographer

Originally from California, but turned New Yorker since 2000, I’ve been shooting my entire life and am still inspired and excited about it. Lately I have been putting my energies into my Fine Art, which can be seen on my website and on Saatchi Art. Being infatuated with interior design doesn’t hurt either, which mixes well with my love of photographing interiors.

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B&A: A Shabby, Dated Loft Is Revitalized with a Reconfigured Floor Plan

B&A: A Shabby, Dated Loft Is Revitalized with a Reconfigured Floor Plan

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Name: Roanna Cochrane (she/her) Simon Phillips (he/him) and our daughter
Location: Toronto, Canada
Size: 713 square feet
Type of Home: Converted loft
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

As two actors, my husband Simon and I work from home a lot so it was important for the space to be both multi-functional and in a style that inspired creativity. When we first viewed this turn-of-the-century loft, it was pretty run down with lime green walls in the kitchen, a horribly shabby curtain dividing the bedroom from the living room, and no light fixtures to speak of. It was all very uninspiring, to say the least. We knew the bones of the building had loads of character with exposed red brick walls, an original hardwood ceiling, and gorgeous beams. But the challenge was figuring out how to make a 700-square-foot open plan into a multifunctional space without putting up drywall and creating separate rooms.

It was all about how we reconfigured the floor plan. When we bought the loft, the bedroom was in the best area of the home — the corner of the unit that gets the most light, privacy, and the best city views. The original kitchen was tucked into a windowless area with a ceiling mounted furnace attached directly above the stove! Not exactly the kind of noise you want humming above your heads as you mix your pre-dinner cocktails. So we hired our friend, Matthew Chong from Greenroom Design Inc., to help us.

The catalyst for our final design choice was when we moved that ceiling mounted monstrosity from the kitchen to the entryway, so you bypass it on entering the unit and never really see it. At that point, Simon turned to me and said, “Hey, why don’t we swap the kitchen and our bedroom around?” It made so much sense now that we’d opened up the space above our heads and could see the room in a completely different light. This also allowed for us to use the corner of the unit with wall-to-wall exposed brick and all that character as our main entertaining space, which also made sense as that’s really where you want to sit with your family and friends to eat and drink and enjoy the city skyline.

When you work from home, like we do, it is important to be able to feel like each room is a different space. Directional lighting and dimmers helped this, rugs defined spaces such as the living room. I truly believe that your home should be an extension of your style, and now with more people working from home than ever before, it needs to also be multifunctional and certainly should be inspiring. You also need to design your home with room to grow. We certainly found that to be the case.

Interestingly, this renovation influenced us in more ways than one. It kickstarted my husband’s passion to pursue a new career in real estate and he is now working with Dream Homes Vancouver Island Group. As for me, I am in the thick of renovating our new mid-century courtyard home in a Palm Springs style. Who knew that buying a tired looking condo would change the trajectory of our lives forever?

My Style: Modern vintage. Clean lines but with a quirk! I like to give a nod to the era that the property was built but make it functional for the modern day.

Inspiration: The true artist’s loft. Living, working and playing in an open planned space that inspires! I found Pinterest to be so helpful for inspiration and helping me to think outside the box.

Favorite Element: One favorite? That’s hard! Hmm, it has to be the abundant red brick walls that cover half of the loft. They are so warm and inviting and tell such a story. It was important to let them take center stage in the design. As a Brit who has moved to Canada, finding a home that had history and character was important to me. This neighborhood, and very building that was once a working factory, was bursting it!

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge was the layout. The original layout had the bedroom in the focal point of the loft with a hospital style curtain cutting off the space and the kitchen tucked into the corner with a loud, exposed furnace above. Once we relocated the furnace and swapped the bedroom for the new kitchen, everything made sense. Suddenly the new kitchen was in the brightest, most social part of the house with views of the Toronto city skyline. A kitchen is the heart of the home so it needed to be in the prime spot. I had all these ideas to go with retro colored cabinets or a bold backsplash but as we lived in it, we felt it was important to let the natural features speak — the brick and beam. We couldn’t avoid the large industrial air ducts, so we lent into it and made the metallics our feature colors.

Proudest DIY: I took a plain IKEA mirror and made it into a gold leaf, vintage looking mirror. It turns out that the worse you are at applying gold leaf evenly, the better! Who knew?! It looks so authentic and I feel so proud when I see it. We also made curtain rods and hand rails out of industrial pipe and spray painted them matte black to tie in with the sprinkler pipes in our loft.

Biggest Indulgence: I’d say our two biggest splurges were the countertops and the floors. We went for a waterfall edge on an enormous island and it really makes the kitchen feel like a chic bar. We really felt it was worth it in the end as we’d sit at our bar and drink cocktails overlooking the Toronto skyline! It looks so classy and is also easy to clean. When we bought the loft, the floors were made of gypcrete and the sound travelled between the units a lot. We wanted to create some privacy, and so we put soundproofing between the floors. Both sound-wise and visually, it was so worthwhile. And why buy a loft if you can’t entertain in it?

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? As actors, we used our space to self tape from home so we wanted to keep the walls neutral to tape against and the abundant light from our big loft windows was perfect for this. During the pandemic, we also used our closet as a sound studio and even recorded characters from Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla from our loft!

What are you favorite products you have bought for you home, and why? My cheapest and most effective item was our enormous frameless gym mirror that opens up the space like nothing else! It makes our loft feel double the size, like a window to another room. It was also a great mirror for home workouts and the occasional group selfie!

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: In a small space, you’ve gotta be creative. For us, we had the ceiling height but not the square footage so we went up!

And finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Look on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for secondhand gems of the exact piece you would have bought full price! It’ll save you money and you’ll also be good to the environment at the same time. Win win. Secondly, be bold and be brave with your design choices. You’re the one that gets to live in it! And finally, in my opinion, the sooner you get the reno done, the longer you can enjoy living in the space. So if you’re thinking about doing it this year or next year or maybe the year after, get it done, rip off that plaster and enjoy your home for that much longer!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

B&A: A Dated Co-op’s Reno Has Budget Hacks, Smart Built-Ins & Divine Dining Nook

B&A: A Dated Co-op’s Reno Has Budget Hacks, Smart Built-Ins & Divine Dining Nook

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Name: Meng Ai, Andrew Pelkey, and Max (Boomba), our cat
Location: Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City
Size: Just under 1000sqft
Type of Home: Our apartment is part of a large co-op. The co-op consists of four buildings, with nine floors in each building, and 10 units on each floor.
Years Lived In: 2.5 years
Rent or own: The co-op board would hasten to point out that we do not own this apartment, but rather shares in the corporation that owns the building. We are happy members of this co-op!

A couple of years ago, while living in Greenpoint, we saw a listing for an incredible, classic pre-war, two-bedroom sublet in Jackson Heights (our favorite neighborhood in Queens). However, after slamming together a 20-page application overnight, we found out another couple got theirs in just minutes before ours and took the apartment. The silver lining was discovering that real estate in Jackson Heights was much more reasonable compared to Brooklyn and we could actually afford to BUY a place. The city even had mortgage assistance programs with some of the larger co-ops that offered below-market 30-year fixed mortgage rates.

Unfortunately, every co-op we saw in a pre-war building was still over our budget. We eventually found an unassuming two-bedroom in a post-war building that was just the right price and size for us. The apartment had sat empty for several years after the previous owner passed away. It was covered in dust and had lime green carpet throughout, except for the paths she must have walked everyday, where the carpet fibers had completely worn away. We’ve since learned from the neighbors that our predecessor, Rosalind, bought the apartment with her husband as a young couple before the building was even completed in the mid-1950s. We imagine that all the sharp lines, the boxy aesthetic, the giant square pillar in the middle of the living room, must have looked exciting and new for them. Suddenly the simple post-war architecture started to feel like a blank canvas for us to give the apartment a second beginning, as its second occupants. We aimed to transform the space into a timeless, functional, and comfortable home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We are interested in many styles: minimalist, maximalist, modern, classic. There’s a precept in gardening, “right plant, right place,” meaning that you can’t just plop a plant anywhere in your garden because you like the way it looks. We try to follow that same idea with decor,  matching the appropriate style with the functionality and story of the space.

Inspiration: We had Scandinavian mid-century modern in mind when designing this apartment but made sure to infuse it with a little more warmth and life.

Favorite Element: There used to be a large square post in the middle of the living room that made it difficult for us to decide how to break up the space. So we connected it with the nearest wall, creating a dining corner on one side, an office nook on the other and a perfect recess for a built-in bookshelf the depth of the post.

Another favorite element of ours is also all of our guests’ favorite: the round dining table tucked into the corner against the curved sectional couch. A friend turned us onto online auctions several years ago and we bought the mid-century modern sectional at an auction before we even knew where we would use it. By a stroke of luck, it ended up fitting perfectly as a banquette. It simultaneously opened the space up and became the anchor point of the whole apartment.

Biggest Challenge: This was our first ever gut renovation and we were very wary of our limited budget ballooning out of control. We kept costs down by buying almost all of the furnishings and art second-hand from various online auctions and estate sales. We logged hundreds of miles in our Honda Fit picking up our bargain finds around the tri-state area. 

The tiny kitchen was another major challenge. It was made to feel even more claustrophobic because it was an enclosed room with a door. We decided to knock the wall down to open it up to the living room and made a breakfast counter. To save some money, we used IKEA cabinets dressed up with Semihandmade fronts. We had Benjamin Moore match the cabinet door colors and hand painted $1 wooden knobs. The end result is an extremely functional kitchen where everything is at your fingertips, and you can even fit more than one person in there.

There was also the issue of relatively low ceilings and boxy soffits throughout the apartment. We killed two birds with one stone by painting the walls only up to the level of the soffits, leaving a strip at the top that connected with the ceiling. It almost looks like crown molding, and softens the look of the soffits.

Proudest DIY: The bathtub and toilet were so grimy that we thought they were permanently stained. We were ready to replace them until our super suggested trying Bar Keeper’s Friend. With some elbow grease, they came out sparkling new and ended up being the only original fixtures that we kept. The tin of Bar Keeper’s Friend cost $3 and we only used half of it.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest splurge was replacing the tattered lime-green carpet with herringbone oak floors. Totally worth it. 

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We didn’t want a TV in the main living space, so we opted to take the smaller of the two rooms as our bedroom and make the larger one a den. When we have overnight guests, we put a comfy Japanese folding mattress right on the rug. When the pandemic hit, we had to add a desk in there to create another workspace, so now it’s a den/guest bedroom/second office.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Our best bargain find was a nine-piece set of antique E. Dehillerin copper pots for $300 at auction.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: We discovered that simple, custom built-ins are much more affordable than we expected, so we squeezed in as many as we can. They completely transformed the apartment, and have given us much needed storage. In an empty spot in the kitchen near the fridge, we added open shelving for larger appliances. Where we connected a pillar to a wall in the office nook, there was space for a built-in bookshelf. And between the kitchen and dining corner, we added a combined unit with open shelving and two closed cabinets. Servingware goes on the open shelves and bathroom supplies are hidden in the cabinets.

We also came up with a vertical storage solution in place of a messy tool “drawer.” In our lounge closet, we put up a peg board that you’d find in a suburban garage. It’s so helpful to have everything within reach, and it takes up so little space when it’s all spread out on the wall.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Be patient! Don’t try to furnish every room all at once. Start with some of the essentials, then live with it for a while to see what else you can add. You’d be surprised at how much your mind will change from your initial impulse. Also, take a picture if you’re stuck. You’ll get a different perspective of the room.

DEN/GUEST BEDROOM/SECOND OFFICE

B&A: Every Inch of This Renovated 210-Square-Foot Airstream Was Designed

B&A: Every Inch of This Renovated 210-Square-Foot Airstream Was Designed

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Name: Reilly Dowd
Location: Ojai, California
Size: 210 square feet
Type of Home: Vintage Airstream Sovereign Travel Trailer
Years Lived In: 1 Year, owned

I bought the airstream on Craigslist sight unseen because we were in the midst of pre-vaccine Covid. We had just lost our family home in Sonoma to a wildfire. And at the same time, I was working to finish my first feature documentary film, Dreams of Daraa, for a U.S. broadcast deadline. I needed a space to work, so my vision for the airstream began as an office. I wanted to bring in elements of the places that inspired me the most: Architect Patrick Ahearn’s storybook homes on Nantucket, the Royal Mansour in Morocco, Hotel Cuixmala in Mexico, Brooke and Steve Giannetti’s Patina Farm in California, and Linda Bergroth’s tiny glass house on a lake.

But this is definitely not a love-at-first sight story. When the Airstream arrived, I soon discovered that beneath some new vinyl floorboards was 40 years of dead rodents, sewage, loose screws — and worse. It needed to be stripped down to the frame for a complete subfloor replacement. Around that time, I met Loren Crawford, who runs Matilija Vintage Trailer Restorations in Ojai, CA. I sourced most of the materials locally and gave him detailed renderings of the cabinetry, desk, bed platform, and archway wall. 

I wanted to rewrite the story of this tin can rotting away in an RV park. It felt like a year of taking one step forward and ten steps backward, but it was so beautiful to see it all come together. The thing I love most about it today is how much childlike joy it brings to friends and family who get to see it for the first time. It’s such an inspiring place to write and reflect. It’s an island in the storm.  

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: The places we live and work in should shape us, and if we are intentional, they bring out the best in us. This is especially true in a time when many of us are still working remotely. In reimagining the Airstream, I was after openness, symmetry, and calmness — a place for ideas to take flight. My decor style is directly a result of my travels. And it’s always changing. I’m inspired by simplicity and spaces that reflect the world around them. A sort of playful elegance drives the way I think about design.

This Airstream was my first renovation project. I thought of this space in the same way I think about putting an outfit together: Each element should be in concert with one another. If something is the main event, like a jacket or a pair of shoes, nothing else should really try to compete. Natural fabrics are always better. Texture is essential. The way it makes you feel matters more than how it looks. And always, add something unexpected.  

I started out in the airstream with natural, light hues: an off-white paint, a beige linen fabric, white oak floors, birch plywood, but the rug was always the main event. I wanted everything to complement that, to let it shine. 

My biggest challenge was probably practicing restraint. There were so many things I found and loved, but this entire renovation — from colors, to fabrics, to appliances — was an exercise in restraint.

Inspiration: There are few colors as stunning as the cerulean blue of the dome-capped buildings in Greece. I started to incorporate this color by painting some old wooden rowing oars and the wrought iron stove.

The coastal theme wasn’t always the plan. But I loved how the watercolor coffee mugs brought in the color variations of the sea. Pieces of this china set were the only thing that survived the fire. So there was something meaningful about them, too. They should have burned.

For the kitchen area, I wanted a built-in furniture look. I studied the materials, color schemes, dimensions, and craftsmanship of companies like Devol Kitchens and British Standard Cupboards. From there, I created a 3-D rendering using Floorplanner’s online software and was able to give a pretty specific roadmap to the guys at Matilija Restorations. These cupboards not only disguise the wheel wells, but also appliances like the microwave and mini-fridge.

Favorite Element: I used my grandfather’s vintage New Mexican belts to tie up the curtains. He had great style. I thought it was a fun way to honor him and bring in a pop of color to a space that was becoming a blend of beiges.

Biggest Challenge: Nothing in this airstream has a straight edge. And no measurement is standard. Form and function were equally important, but in trying to find materials, I realized everything I’d saved on my Pinterest board weighed a gazillion pounds: Cotswolds stone, Zellige tiles, and stucco walls.   

This thing is meant to travel down the highway at 60 MPH, so I was limited by both weight and balance. I was also restricted by things that couldn’t change — the frame of the trailer, two wheel wells, and fixed windows. I started by thinking about the trailer’s rounded shape. Adding the arched wall in the center seemed to flow naturally. I stuck with that in designing the firewood storage area and selecting the cabinet hardware. I was always trying to have each new thing I added be in conversation with and balanced by the structure itself. 

Proudest DIY: I lost a solid week of my life trying to figure out how to make a tumbleweed chandelier happen. I found it on the side of the road in New Mexico and checked it in a huge cardboard box on my flight back to California. I spray painted the tumbleweed with a high heat polyurethane and left it outside to dry. But it tumbled off my porch that night and I had to go hunting for it a second time. 

Once I recovered it, I had to figure out how to actually make it work. I wanted it to play off the other natural elements like the rattan door shade and the firewood. Almost nothing threatened the warm aesthetic more than the wrong color electric cord. So, I was excited to find Creative Cables, a company which sold the perfect shade of jute wire. It all came together with a clear glass pendant light shade. The shadows of this tumbleweed chandelier are especially beautiful at night. Definitely my proudest DIY. 

Biggest Indulgence: The wood-burning stove. I wanted the airstream to feel like home warm and inviting. And nothing captures that more than the crackling of a wood-burning fireplace. I first saw these tiny stoves in the coal-burning houseboats along the canals of Oxfordshire. I was romanced by the image of the old British couple boiling a tea kettle on their stove. I got this idea in my head to make it white. And with that, my biggest indulgence quickly became my greatest headache.

What cost the most wasn’t just the actual purchase of the stove (gulp), but the huge amount of hours it took to actually make it work inside the trailer. A few things come to mind: Opening the 120-pound wooden box it arrived in, connecting the multi-part flue pipe, making eight cans of white spray paint cover the black, curing the paint, building a sturdy platform, retrofitting a metal heat shield, cutting a hole through the aluminum ceiling, securing and riveting a chimney to the roof, and finally chopping eight-inch pieces of wood. And then, of course, figuring out how to make it safe. A totally over-the-top indulgence that’s not at all needed in Southern California. But I do love — and actually use — this thing.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The Airstream now serves primarily as my office, but also doubles as a guest bedroom. In the beginning, I focused on the elements that make up a functional workspace. I didn’t need it to be fully livable off-grid, but I designed it so that a bathroom could easily be added just behind the arched wall. The desk in the back also doubles as a platform for a twin mattress.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Burnt orange was kind of a rogue second color to bring into the mix, but the Moroccan lumbar pillow from Berberology is one of my favorite purchases. And adding the smaller cobalt blue pillows on each side helped to tie it into the rest of the space.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: A few oversized furniture pieces in a small space are better than a lot of small ones. I wanted the couch/bed area to feel like one huge piece of furniture. I didn’t own any cushions that would fit this space, but I had a bunch of random throw pillows of various sizes. I got a sewing machine and learned to sew by watching YouTube tutorials. I bought some cheap muslin fabric by the yard, sewed new pillow inserts to fit the measurements of the Airstream and used all of the down feathers and stuffing I had to fill them. 

My queen mattress didn’t quite fit the space, so I did the same thing to fill in the gaps between the mattress and the curved walls. Then I sewed a coverlet out of the same linen fabric to go over the entire area. I brought the remaining fabric to a local seamstress to help with the zippered pillows. Adding the skirt beneath it just made the whole thing feel more finished. 

I was inspired by Maker & Son’s couches. I wanted to create that same comfy and casual vibe, while also having a sort of sophisticated edge. Achieving this built-in custom look for the lounge area probably took more time than anything else, but also saved the most money. Thinking about ways to reimagine what you already have is such a useful design hack.

Other small space maximizing tips:

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Major construction projects or custom home builds often have remnant pieces that are left behind at the factory or wholesaler. The kitchen countertops came from one large remnant piece of Caesarstone textured quartz in Ventura, California. They sold me a slab for a fraction of the cost and were able to cut and polish it for me. I used a remaining piece for the fireplace hearth. 

I was also able to find plywood remnants from a local lumber yard and the heat shield for the stove from a nearby steel mill. These wholesalers all had the machinery to make specific cuts on site. And because they are used to much larger scale construction projects, you can often suggest the price for a one-off piece yourself. 

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

B&A: A Chicago Fixer-Upper’s Layout (and Staircase) Was Beautifully Opened Up

B&A: A Chicago Fixer-Upper’s Layout (and Staircase) Was Beautifully Opened Up

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Tim and husband, Ravi, plus Hobbes (orange tabby cat, who loves running up the rooftop stairs)
Location: Prairie District — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 1,500 square feet
Type of Home: Condo penthouse
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Three years ago, we were enjoying an unseasonably warm Easter and decided to enjoy a beer after a long bike ride. I tricked Ravi into visiting this spot to notice the old factory building across the street. I had been eyeing it for months for available lofts. We looked up its tall façade and saw an amazing multi-floor unit that we agreed would NEVER go on the market. Who wouldn’t want to call it their forever home? Close to downtown, near the lake, cute neighborhood with tons of history…

To our surprise, that exact unit went on the market in a few weeks and had an open house. It had everything I, Tim (lake/park views, lots of sunlight, an outdoor space), and Ravi (multi-floors, tall ceilings) wanted. I was nervous to get Ravi’s opinion during the open house because it was a fixer-upper, but to my surprise Ravi immediately said, “I love it.”

Over the next few weeks, I spent many sleepless nights drawing up renovation floor plans and budgets to beat the closing hourglass to make sure we could make it our dream home. It needed a lot of love.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern Bohemian

Favorite Element: The 20-foot tall ceilings! Our home feels like an escape from the city every time we come home.

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge was figuring out how to get our kitchen closer to the living space. Our solution was to build a dry bar for setting out food and drinks. It actually works really well because our guests see their food/drinks instead of our messy kitchen!  

Proudest DIY: There were multiple DIY projects, but my favorite is our bi-fold closet door makeover. It was a MUST to beautify the louvered doors since they were front and center in our living space, while not messing with the air flow needed for the mechanical room. The solution is modern, discreet, and creative.

Biggest Indulgence: Our bathroom vanity units. We had a terrible time finding vanities made of quality material. The splurge was totally worth it.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Our home originally had a large staircase and an ensuite guest bathroom. By modifying both, we were able to create a dining space, a dry bar, a larger guest closet, and a guest bath closet!

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Matching is overrated. It’s always a struggle for me to convince Ravi that we don’t need to get things that match. What’s more important to me is using color/scale to create focal points. I suppose we’re still pretty match-y. Also, it takes a lot of time and teamwork to find finishes you are in love with. Pro tip is be as specific in your google searches as possible (ex. “White matte 1×5” modular tile”)

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.