The ingenuity of the contemporary urban dweller can be seen in the truly exceptional—and often truly small—spaces that serve as “home”. Whether from an economy of resources or a wealth of materials, the five lofts featured here highlight city-living creativity at its best. Though each has its own story, they all put smart use of small space on display. In each, there’s a sense of optimism, vibrancy and individual flair—exactly as home should be.
Curate to Narrate
Marina del Rey, CA
In small spaces, thoughtful curation has a big impact. Furniture pieces might need to serve several functions while storage space may need to be created in unlikely hideaways. Eschewing the unnecessary, the owners of this loft in Marina del Rey, Calif., deliberately acquired objects—like a handmade bed with storage underneath and a plain, structural wire baker’s rack—that fit their needs and personal styles. The result is a minimal space
with just enough personality to maintain an air of simplicity and casual cool.
Color Your World
New York, NY
Color can be the key to opening up a tight space and giving it a splash of personality. So Bradford Shellhammer, founder of design-y goods site Bezar, understands this well. He decided to think outside the box by breaking out his box of crayons to create a loft that pairs kid-like playfulness with a dose of sophistication. A domestic manifestation of life lived colorfully and boldly, the Shellhammer loft provides a dazzling distraction from the reality of limited square footage.
Reflections of You
New York, NY
Veteran rockstar Robyn Hitchcock sings, “Two mirrors make infinity”. And what better solution to the dilemma of tight quarters than to use the power of reflection to create a more expansive sense of space and possibility. Bright-white walls paired with reflective surfaces lend a mix of heavenly and gallery-like qualities to designer Amee Allsop’s loft in SoHo. Spare yet comfortable, the space provides an almost boutique-like setting for objects both beautiful and functional, including sleek, modern appliances for the urban kitchen.
Find New Heights
In the 1980s, architect, author and professor Charles Moore and his colleague Arthur Anderson, also an architect, built a compound of small living and work spaces in Austin, Texas. One of these—a 9’x9’—was later refurbished by the Charles Moore Foundation, who sought to create an inviting, introspective space for architecture students and design enthusiasts alike. Faced with some code issues that prevented the Foundation from building out, they opted to build up—into the attic space, which brought a new sense of grandeur to a small room by allowing it open up vertically.
By weaving together unique textures, which include cork, reclaimed wood and seagrass carpet, DISC Interiors have designed a space that is lush, dimensional and highly curated down to the smallest detail. A wine connoisseur’s dream, the Sonoma County loft is a converted commercial space that takes kitchen living to a whole new level, bringing outdoor elements in to create an open, truly Californian experience. For all the tasteful design features, this functional kitchen is built to handle any appliance needed, from a full-sized fridge to a cozy wine cellar.
Photo: David John