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Entries in small space living (4)


how to: live in small spaces

1. Think outside the box when it comes to settling into a small space. Start by asking what are the basics needed to keep you comfortable, functional, and safe—then wonder and research ways to make it work for you.

2. Keep it simple and edit to essentials.

3. When you have minimal floor space, go up! Loft a space if possible, stack hive or other storage units when not.

4. Let the light shine in for an airy, open, free mood—privacy considered, skip the curtains.

5. Choose furniture for maximum function in a minimum amount of space—the alpine bed with a nightstand/shelf integrated into the headboard is a perfect example.

6. When any storage is better than none, a narrow wall-mounted hyde storage unit in ‘dead’ space is sheer genius—bonus is that it also keeps counter-tops free of clutter.

7. Multi-use furniture, like the peekaboo console, can be used as a desk, an entryway landing pad, or a buffet when entertaining.

8. Look for glass top tables or acrylic pieces to reduce visual clutter—like the yield coffee table or the wall mounted format cube.

9. The torino grey side table not only fits into extra-small spaces, the storage drawer is a bonus!

10. Furniture on wheels makes it easier to rearrange small spaces for any event.


setting small outdoor scenes

Think of an urban balcony as a small corner of a larger—outdoor!—room by using one or two big-scale furniture pieces to define its use. Outdoor living is relaxed and leisurely and how better to express that, and use it as such, than with bold playa. The white woven base is visually airy while the wide, platform seating is inviting for long summer reads in sun or shade.

And if floor space is too tight to plant greenery—go up! with titan, pony, or shore polyterrazo planters.


how to: fit the space

Buying large furniture, like a sofa or a bed, is a mix of art and science. The ‘art’ part is usually the fun and easier part: Do you simply love it and does it coordinate with existing pieces? But the ‘science’ part is more calculating: Does it functionally meet your needs? Is the price right? Will it fit in the space—and through all the entryways?

1. For all doors and hallways the item will have to travel thru, measure the heights and widths (A,B) and the entry clearance (C). Don’t forget any other obstacles, such as ceilings, unremovable lighting fixtures, stairwell banisters and tight turns.

2. Make sure that the width of the furniture piece is less than the entry dimensions A or C and the diagonal depth is less than B. Hint: CB2 specs dimensions in this order: width x depth x height. For example, the movie sofa shown above is 88” wide x 40” in depth x 26” high.

3. To determine diagonal depth, place a straight edge from the highest point of the back frame to the front of the piece. Then measure from the bottom rear corner up to the point that bisects the straight edge. Example: The sofa shown below has a diagonal depth of 25.5”.

Think about the idiosyncracies of the space and “live” with a new item before buying. Make sure the opening and closing of doors will clear sofas and that you don’t lose access to windows over bedroom furniture.

To help you decide if the footprint of a piece fits the floor space, try one of these three options:
—sketch the room onto graph paper and include existing pieces that will also be in the room.
—use blue painter’s tape and  mark the floor space using provided dimensions.
—tape newspaper together to create a full-size footprint of the piece, position it in the room, on the floor. Lastly, “build” it in 3-D by placing objects to fill in the height such as plastic storage boxes, etc. 

These suggestions are to be used as a guide to measurement and do not guarantee your furniture purchase will fit. For the smoothest move, consider every scenario and size constraint that may occur from the delivery truck to the item’s final room placement.


designer solutions for small(er) space living

When CB2 Soho opened in 2007, I relocated to Brooklyn from Chicago as store designer. New York being a bit more densly populated, once I found a place it was time to get creative with my smaller space. Especially since I’m not the kind of guy who has only 6 pairs of shoes—and gives up one when he buys a 7th.

I got the biggest bang for my footprint buck with floor to ceiling shelves in the hall. They stow a space heater or A/C unit, tax files and a printer, air mattress and extra blankets, a suitcase and 12 pairs of shoes! A canvas tarp as a curtain not only hides the stash, it adds texture and dramatically heightens the space.

In the living room, a halogen credenza doubles as a media center and library storing audio equipment and art books. The high gloss finish contrasts nicely with a ladder, left behind by the painters, that’s been repurposed as a magazine rack.

But I’m proudest of the kitchen. With so many to-go options, the oven is great for storing pots and pans. Martini glasses fit perfectly in the refrigerator crisper and freezer—and they’re pre-chilled!

A reclaimed 3-drawer dresser not only makes a great work island, it’s closed storage for less display worthy treasures while format shelves give a museum quality to my Kidrobot® and Hot Wheels® collectibles.

All said and done, my dream of modern minimalism has become my eco-conscious reality—especially in winter when my bike fits perfectly above the kitchen cabinets.

Thanks to vance, store designer soho, for this submission.