Monday, August 06, 2007

SHELTER: A Study of a Small Space

Months ago, when I came across the home of fellow blog writer Chez Shoes, I was amazed because this lovely space looked very much like my imagined future cottage. She has done an incredible job with this space; though cozy, it seems very bright and airy. Please enjoy this tour in her own words.

"I live in a 400-square-foot studio (or single) apartment in Los Angeles. It’s one of three units in a converted bungalow, built in the 1920s. While my unit looks vintage, it’s actually new – it was built out of the basement and original laundry room just a couple years ago. I’m lucky to have the best of both worlds: vintage charm and modern plumbing!"

Would you consider yourself an artistic person? Is it something that you use in your career or daily life?

I’m not sure that I’d say I’m artistic, as much as creative. As a visual thinker and learner, I’m constantly inspired by what I see around me in my daily life. I work in the stock photography industry, and while not a photographer myself, the colors and images that I am surrounded by daily at work often inspire me in my home life.

What specific difficulties did you have when decorating your space?

Two come to mind. The biggest obstacle, living in a studio, was getting a clear separation of sleeping and living space within one room. Since the space is visually dominated by the bed, I’m still working on this one!

The other was decorating the wall above my bed. Since I have spent my entire life in earthquake country, I have a phobia of having anything hanging over my head! Just this weekend I solved this by hanging a picture wire over the bed, which I use to display lightweight things that pose no danger.

How comfortable are you in your living space?

Very. I moved into my apartment last December, when I was seriously thinking of leaving Los Angeles for good. While a move is still under consideration, I find my apartment to be so pleasing that I’m becoming a bit hesitant to do so.

Is your favorite color represented in your home somewhere?

That was part of the reason I fell for this place while I was apartment-hunting – the colors it was already painted were exactly what I would have chosen myself! The kitchen trim is red, which is my all-time favorite color. The bedroom and bathroom walls are painted a sunny yellow, which I have painted other spaces before and I love. I didn’t need to change a thing!

How would you describe your personal style?

Flea-market modern meets big-box store, with some handmade thrown in for good measure and a little bit of Japanese kawaii.

Do you think your décor style matches your personal style?

Absolutely – my home, like my wardrobe, is a mixture of vintage, handmade, and new, a mixture of purchased, found, and hand-me-downs from friends.

What was your biggest influence in choosing your current décor?

Prosaic though it may be, I’d have to say cost – but along with this goes my personal ethic of using what I have, recycling, and avoiding buying new whenever possible. By being forced to work within budgetary constraints, I think I’m also forced to be more creative than I would be if I had the money, say, to just go to Design Within Reach or Shabby Chic and buy new off the showroom floor.

Well, let's say that you receive $1,000 that you could only spend on your home, what would you do with the money?

I’d probably buy a vintage armoire that I could use to hide the TV in! And since I’d be buying used, there might be enough money left over to score a washer and dryer on Craigslist – then my life would be truly complete. :)

Have you done any of the décor yourself (DIY projects)? What did you do?

Living in a small space, organization is always important. I just made a wall organizer from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing book, so that I can keep all the little necessities at hand next to my sewing table.

Since you sew, are there any other projects you have planned to make for your home?

Next up will be café curtains for my kitchen. I’ll be using the pattern in Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing, my current favorite source of sewing inspiration.

What changes have you made that make you feel the most proud?

After realizing that my kitchen goes mostly unused, several weeks ago I decided to dedicate my kitchen table to being a full-time sewing space. Since doing so, I’ve had a lot more inspiration and motivation to make little things for the home – things like placemats, napkins, aprons, and those café curtains that I plan to do soon. When my sewing machine was tucked away on a shelf, I was much more of a procrastinator about projects, and far more willing to just go out and buy what I wanted or needed. Now, before buying I consider “Can I make that?” and usually the answer is “YES!

Is there one item in your home that you love the most?
I have two, actually: my 1950s vintage rocker, scored at a thrift store as it was being unloaded from the delivery truck (“Hey, I’ll give you $20 for that chair!” and it went straight from the truck to my car). And my owl eyeglass holder.

What do you plan to do next in your space?

The aforementioned kitchen curtains, and I’d also like to seriously re-do my walk-in closet so that it is organized optimally. The latter will probably not be a DIY project, though – just a matter of finding the right storage system to install.

What kind of homes do you most admire or lust after?

I love small cottages, and trailers too. My dream home would be something from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company with a large plot of land on which I could have a vegetable garden and an Airstream.

Have you seen any homes in movies that you would want to live in?
Oh, so many! The first that comes to mind is Amelie’s apartment, of course. But I also like the décor of Meg Ryan’s apartment in You’ve Got Mail, and Steve Buscemi’s apartment in Ghost World.


Ghost World

How different is your grown-up style from the place in which you grew up?

Very different, but with some remaining influences. My parents’ tastes ran toward the antique side when I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s, so things were much more traditional – I remember lots of dark wood, which I don’t especially care for. But my parents were also big thrifters and flea-marketers, so clearly I've been influenced by this.


Christina said...

I love it! What a cheerful, well-put-together space. I am so jealous of all people who have the eye to spot great finds at flea markets and similar places; I wish I had that skill but I really require "editing" or I just get overwhelmed. Great profile!

Gina said...

Hanging the antique hankies on a line over the bed is genius! I have some but didn't know what to do with them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks all, and thanks lsaspacey for inviting me :)

Little Grey Donkey said...

I have the same fear of things falling on me while I'm sleeping. You've found a lovely solution!

Anonymous said...

I want to see a picture of that rocker!

Anonymous said...

To clarify, the rocker is the little chair with the pillow on it in the first picture. It rocks, but doesn't actually have the big rocker things on the bottom, so it doesn't take up a huge amount of space - which is why I was so excited to find it!

Another view is here.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's right. I forgot that chair was a rocker.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, it really is adorable!!!! Charming indeed!