Space is expensive, and a tiny apartment may be the price you pay for the convenience of city living. But packing a lot of living into just a few square feet is simple and economical, if you know what you're doing.
To show us how, designer Eileen Brown, assisted by Stephanie Christie-Carrion, borrowed furniture and accessories off the Shofer's Furniture showroom floor and put together a 435-square-foot living/dining room at Henrietta Square condominiums in South Baltimore. Not a thing shown here is custom-made to fit. Nothing is built-in. Everything is movable to the next apartment, or house.
Ms. Brown began with a monochromatically sponge-painted wall to match existing wall-to-wall carpet. Furniture colors were kept in the taupes and beiges, with black accents for drama. "Such a scheme won't jar the eye, and visually expands the room," she says.
Ms. Brown decided to mirror a single wall to brighten a windowless corner and reflect the landscaped courtyard into the living room. "The mirrors cost $500, but they can be reused in another residence," she says.
What appear to be custom window treatments are actually pieces of unhemmed fabric. These are affixed to and twisted around stock spiral brackets.
Much of the furniture is scaled down, but not all. "Comfort is too important to start scaling down the seating," says Ms. Brown. "That's why the sofa is full-sized." She notes that the three pieces can be separated and reconfigured in a new home. A full-sized antique armoire from Gaines McHale Antiques provides a much-needed focal point, and houses a complete entertainment system as well as linens for the dining nook.
The dining nook is made glamorous thanks to a reproduction French "fainting" couch, which acts as a banquette. The glass dining table slides out on casters, so although it's in a tight spot, it is extra-generously sized. Two upholstered dining chairs can double as living room chairs, as can the desk chair in the study corner.
"When space is tight, attention to detail is as important as [finding] just the right pieces," asserts Ms. Brown. "Do it right, and you'll forget about size, and think about beauty."