Friday, April 30, 2010

Let there be laundry (and light)!

A while back, a friend of mine moved into a new, swanky apartment. He showed me pictures of the spacious living room with balcony and fireplace, the gorgeous master bedroom suite with marble bath. But it was when he got to the picture of the in-unit washer and dryer that I shrieked, "Oh my god, you lucky bastard!"

We renters all know the bane of the building's public laundry room -- or worse, not having one at all and having to schlep down to the laundromat. Having a washer in your own apartment seems like the ultimate luxury.

Electroluxe is looking to make that reality a bit more attainable for those of us living in tiny-ass apartments. At the Eurocucina expo in Milan they debuted their SHINE concept washing machines. Both are teeny-tiny and slicky-cool. One is a floor model meant for integration into the bathroom (under the sink, for example), and one is meant to be wall-mounted (like in the picture above). The wall-mounted version uses less than a gallon of water per cycle! Sure, it looks only big enough to wash a pair of socks and a thong, but I guess that's your incentive to not let your laundry pile up!

The appliances are still only in their concept stages, but you best believe I'll put myself on a waiting list for when they're manufactured for real.

Moving on to more basic (and thankfully affordable) necessities: light. PerpetualKid has this adorable flower-bloom lamp with clamp mount. If you're someone who can't even fit a nightstand in their TAA, clip this to your headboard for a cute reading light. After all, we all may not be able to do our laundry in our own apartment, but we should certainly be able to read a good book in bed!

Via Boing Boing, Inhabitat, Electroluxe, Outblush, and Perpetual Kid.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pets on Furniture @ Desire to Inspire!

I can't believe I almost missed this! Desire to Inspire has "Pets on Furniture" Mondays featuring pictures of, well, pets on furniture. My baby Fancy was in this past Monday's post! She's sitting on my IKEA HEMNES dresser in front of my "Keep Calm" poster. She's not supposed to be up there, but dang is she cute.

Photo by Liz Fish

Be sure to check their amazing site for more fuzzy babies and great design to boot! And be sure to submit your own -- I know a lot of you TAA dwellers have adorable and design-forward pets out there!

REPOST: Livin' Large in Hong Kong

Simone's note: In case you missed it the first time, I'm reposting the entry I did on Gary Chang's amazing transforming Hong Kong apartment. Since I originally posted this over a month ago, Gary's place has hit the YouTubes and totally blown up. A lot of people have asked if I've seen it, so I thought I should bring this baby back for another round! (And this time, I'm including the YouTube embed.)

I've been entertaining a lot of out-of-town guests: first my mom with that whole helping-me-with-my-surgery thing, then one of my besties, fashionista Elena, and now my younger brother. I'm trying to keep posting in between squiring them around Los Angeles, but don't worry, I'll get back to a regular posting schedule soon!

(Originally posted March 24, 2010.)

I am typing this with my mouth still hanging open. I just watched a video tour of one of the smallest, most amazing apartments I have ever seen. Tiny Palace linked to this video by "The World's Greenest Homes" on Planet Green from the Discovery Channel.

Gary Chang is an architect in Hong Kong, which is easily one of the most densely-packed cities in the world. He lives in a 330 square-foot tenement apartment that once housed himself, his parents, his sisters, AND a tenant when he was younger. Now that he's got the place to himself, he's made a few changes...

You have to watch the video to get the full impact. Using moveable walls and hideaway furniture, Gary's apartment has 24 different configurations. Move a wall, bam, there's the kitchen. Move it back, drop down the sofa -- there's your living room. Flip up the couch and pull down the bed -- bedroom. They guy even has a SCREENING ROOM with a HAMMOCK. It's incredible.

The apartment's footprint is small even in terms of environmental impact. He installed floor-to-ceiling windows with an amber tint to bring warm light into his place, and mirrors and shiny metal further reflect the light to brighten up the whole space. He says he almost never has to turn on the electric lights.

I hope this guy brings his small-space skills to the U.S. I'd love to live in his "transformer domestic" apartment. It's the closest I've seen to the Fifth Element apartment!

Via Tiny Palace and Planet Green by Discovery.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Reverse Sofabed: The Bed-Sofa

Living in a studio and having a bed in your living room is kinda awkward. When you have guests over, you’re essentially inviting them into your bedroom. That can get weird when you don’t want to have sex with them, and extra-weird when you do.

To try and mitigate this cringe-worthy situation, you need to make your bed feel less like a bed. While it'd be pretty cool to make your bed feel more like a bathtub or refrigerator, the most reasonable solution is to make the bed more like a second couch.

One trick is to keep your bed as neat as possible. Be sure it’s made before anyone comes over. Tucked-in sheets and propped-up pillows make it look smoother and more couch-like. Rumpled sheets only make people think about things you do to get them rumpled, so practice those hospital corners.

From Design*Sponge

Daybeds are great for studios, as well as other rooms that you'd like to have double as a bedroom. If you're so lucky as to have two-bedroom and want to have an office but also a guest room, going for a daybed makes it easier to dress the room as an office and back to a guest room when needed.

From Habitually Chic and Apartment Therapy

From Small Furnish and Design*Sponge

From Design*Sponge

You can still achieve a daybed look without actually purchasing one. Ditch your bed's headboard and foot if you can, or opt for ones that are of equal height. Add large bolster pillows to the wall-side of the bed, and pile on the throw pillows to create the illusion of a sofa back. (The example pics below look great, but I imagine it'd take you at least fifteen minutes to get all those pillows off the bed if you actually want to get INTO it.)

Use simple linens, opting for something more geometric as opposed to floral. Think about if you'd purchase a couch with the same pattern as your linens. We're going for a stylish pseudo-couch here, not something your Aunt Gertie would have under a plastic slipcover. Apartment Therapy writer Sarah Coffey discovered that using striped sheets visually gives your mattress a more cushion-like edge.

From Apartment Therapy and Domino

I also like these bedskirts that are designed for daybeds (aka daybed covers). They're super-tall, and hide the bed behind their folds. Your bed now just looks like a really, really tall couch. Just tell people you're expecting LeBron James later and you want him to be comfortable. (I'm so proud of myself! A sports reference!) The skirts come in handy when hiding underbed storage bins, too.

Now all you need to do to complete the pseudo-sofa look is to scatter some loose change amongst your pillows and lose your remote somewhere under your mattress. But don't forget the true identity of your bed-sofa. Remember: if someone asks if they can "crash on your couch," you gotta make sure they're cute first.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Have a Seat (But Not To Sit On)

Nearly everyone I know has a JOKKMOKK dining set from IKEA (as well as an EXPEDIT bookshelf, but that's not a part of our post today). I had one, Vanessa has one, Brian has one, Elena had one before she moved to China, Dave has one... I'm not talking smack about it, no way. It's an awesome set: a table and four chairs with a medium wood finish for a very reasonable price. The only reason I got rid of mine was because I inherited an antique table instead. I love you IKEA, but blood is thicker than an allen wrench. (In this metaphor, anyway.)

But I just couldn't get rid of one of the chairs. It's such a USEFUL chair! Solid wood, very sturdy. I kept it and used it in the closet area of my old studio to throw clothes onto that I didn't feel like folding. Of course I also used it as extra seating when I needed it, and I pulled it out every time I needed a stepstool. Even upon moving to my one bedroom, I still certainly couldn't get rid of it! This time, I got to try a configuration I've loved in magazine pictures: chair as nightstand.

My current favorite bag, my favorite shawl, and my favorite JOKKMOKK chair

Chair-as-nightstand has such a carefree and shabby chic vibe to it. It's less formal and more haphazard, almost romantic. If I were into Twilight, I could imagine that creepy fucker Edward sitting in it and watching me sleep. Er... nevermind. Ew.

Having a chair double as a nightstand is ideal in a TAA for a few reasons. First, a single chair can be bought for next-to-nothing on Craigslist or at a thrift shop, and though nightstands come in varying widths, most chairs are fairly narrow and should fit in even small spaces. But the reason I like using them is because anything that pulls double duty saves space. Your chair can hold your books and alarm clock until you need it to seat an extra guest at the dinner table, or until you need to reach something on the top cabinet shelf. You get multiple uses out of it, all depending on where you choose to drag it.

From Aesthetic Outburst

From Domino via This Is Glamorous

From Apartment Therapy

Now, how to put this delicately? Oftentimes a lady (or gentleman, I don't judge) will have a few personal items she needs to keep tucked away in her nightstand drawer. (Or if you're my friend Queerie Bradshaw [uh, NSFW], a single drawer will not suffice!) So how to get the look of a chair-as-nighstand while keeping your private items private? Simple! A chair with a drawer!

Apartment Therapy: San Francisco has a great roundup of chairs with drawers already built in. But if you're a DIYer, you can follow Kate Pruitt's how-to on Design*Sponge here. Her end result is fab!

So what say you? Do you like chairs as nightstands, or should I make like Potsie and "sit on it?" (I am WAY too young for that joke.) Feedback is always welcome in the comments. And don't forget, you can always email me at tinyassapartment (at) gmail (dot) com, become a fan on Facebook here (actually, I think you can only "like" me now, but it's the same thing), or follow me on Twitter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Know When to Fold 'Em

You know those pictures where a friend emails it to you saying, "Stare at this and figure out if you can see what's 'wrong' in the picture lol!" Then you stare at it and all of a sudden one of the demons from The Exorcist jumps out at you and you scream out loud and your roommates come running to see what's wrong and then they look at you pityingly when you try to explain the scary-faced guy was hiding in the picture? This is not one of those.

If you'll recall, this is is a picture from our Real-Life TAA: Ana's (Spiral) Staircase to Heaven. Take a close look and see if you can spot the subject of today's post.

Okay, here's another one, this time from Megan's Downtown Digs. See it yet?

I've been seeing more and more TAAs that have dining tables of some sort, but no chairs. The chairs are folding chairs, and have been hidden away until company comes a-callin'. (Ana's folding chairs are hidden behind her staircase, Megan's are under her dresser.) It makes perfect sense from a TAA standpoint -- after all, you're not having six-person dinner parties every night, so there's no need for all your dining chairs to be out every day. But I will admit it's slightly strange to see chairless dining tables in peoples' homes. They look lonely. (Maybe they just need a nice centerpiece to keep them company. One with a great personality, who likes to laugh.)

Folding chairs have come a long way from the sheet metal ones used to turn your grade-school cafeteria into an auditorium. They come in varying materials, looks, and price points. Sure, some are more fold-able than others; it's a balance you have to figure out: ones that fold up to something the thickness of a sheet of paper probably aren't going to be that comfy, and the ones that do have a little padding are going to be a little bulkier. But the choice is up to you.

Here are a few folding chairs that could easily double as dining chairs in a small home.

This chair from Overstock looks like the iMac of folding chairs (remember when they came in different candy colors?). These would look great in a young, funky, colorful room with a metal or metal-and-glass table.

I think this one, also from Overstock, is gorgeous! Although I like its natural wood finish, one might say that it looks too much like a patio chair (which it is). A coat of white paint and a colorful cushion would take care of that nicely.

It may not look like it, but yes, this one folds up. It's of sturdier wood and has a bit of padding, so it may take up more storage space than the others, but it still takes up less room than a non-foldable chair!

This one's my favorite -- I'm in love with bamboo chairs these days, and this one is so cool and exotic.

So you see, when life deals you a small apartment, your best bet is to fold. (Ha ha, see what I did there?) But if you can get past my bad pun, you'll see that me and Kenny Rogers are right: you gotta know when to fold 'em.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

(On and) Off the Rack

The key to getting those little annoying chores done is to figure out exactly why you don't want to do them. I'm not talking about big things, like doing your taxes or going to the dentist -- everyone knows why we don't like doing those! -- but the everyday things that you just keep putting off. Do your dishes pile up in your sink? Do you get dust and pet hair tumbleweeds rolling across your living room? They're such small, easy chores, and you know that, really, you do, but you still just don't feel like doing them.

I totally understand. I used to hate doing the dishes, and I'd turn a blind eye to the cereal bowls and spoons that were growing their own green fuzzy sweaters. But then I realized it was because I didn't like getting my hands wet doing the dishes -- the hot, soapy water irritated my skin and caused it to dry out. So I started using kitchen gloves, and it wasn't a pain anymore! I used to hate vacuuming (and my poor cat Bubo really hates me vacuuming), but I realized it was because it was so loud it hurt my ears. I started using my iPod while cleaning, and ta da! I now have clean floors and a terrified black cat who's hiding in his litter box. (Ick, I know.)

The trick is to remove the invisible roadblocks to getting things done, and to even make them more fun. I love listening to Josh and Chuck on the "How Stuff Works' 'Stuff You Should Know'" podcast, so while I'm not running for my vacuum every day, I do look forward to some quality listening time.

In a tiny-ass apartment, you can't let cleaning tasks go undone for long. You don't have the room! If your laundry gets out of control, where will you sleep? I'll freely admit this -- more than once, I've put my clean laundry on my bed, but put off folding it all day and ended up sleeping on the couch. You don't want to live like me! Learn from my fail!

If sweeping and mopping are your downfall, here's a tool that might help. I purchased this myself when I moved into my current apartment, and after installing and using it a few times, I stood in front of it and declared, "You are the best purchase I have ever made."

My Container Store handled tool holder may not have understood me (maybe it speaks Spanish?), but that's okay. I still love it. I can store my mop and broom in the teeny-tiny space between my fridge and my wall, and grab them off their "hooks" without a second thought. It's like magic, the way the roller-balls inside the unit clamp down on the handle, but release them with a light upward motion.

I wish I had seen the sliding version when I bought my rack; I might have married it. This version allows you to utilize space that was previously out of reach by sliding your tools out for easy access, then back into the depths again. It's absolutely brilliant.

Using every nook and cranny, and keeping your home clean -- 'cause a clean TAA is a happy TAA (unless you're my cat).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Starched Fabric Walls: Look What My Mommy Made!

If you're of my same generation (and today is my 27th birthday, so y'know, around that same age) and you grew up in California, chances are you had to make a model of a mission in elementary school. The white-painted brick and stucco buildings -- part church, part plantation -- go up the length of the California coast. As schoolkids, we'd each pick one of the twenty-one missions, and we'd do a report and make a model of it. I picked San Juan Bautista.

My mom helped me create the most beautiful model mission ever. We didn't use styrofoam and construction paper, no sir. We used high-quality artist's materials, and my mom brought her considerable artistic skills to bear on it. What was just a little kid's class assignment became something that looked like a professional architect's model rendering of their latest project -- if their latest project involved converting Native Americans to Christianity.

I am so thankful that my mom is still helping me with projects! As you may know, I'd been trying to schedule surgery for a torn ACL as well as get my home ready for inclusion in Apartment Therapy's Smallest, Coolest contest. I thought I would have enough time before surgery to get everything done, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. I'd managed to get just about everything done before surgery day... except for my living room wall.

My living room wall is the biggest wall in the house, and it has been my biggest challenge. I tried hanging a few paintings, but it's so huge and blindingly white that it seemed to swallow up my art. I'm not allowed to paint or wallpaper in my apartment, so I was at a loss.

A fabric wall from Apartment Therapy

I can't remember where I heard about starching fabric to a wall in place of wallpaper -- probably Apartment Therapy, let's be real. I was really taken with the idea; I mean, what's not to like? The look of wallpaper, but renter-friendly, without the cost of temporary wallpaper, and with a healthy dose of DIY-ness!

I first tried it in my newly-created "closet office." I decided to go the laundry starch way -- that's what most of the online tutorials recommended. Use laundry starch to adhere the fabric to the wall, let it dry, and ta da! Fabric wall. Only problem was, I couldn't find laundry starch. The stuff in the can you use to iron shirts, yes, I could find that easily. But it wasn't strong enough. I needed concentrated liquid starch, like Linit starch -- or preferably Linit's "Starch n' Crafts," which is just for projects like this. But I couldn't find it ANYWHERE! I went to every grocery store, drug store, fabric and crafts store, and home improvement store in Hollywood and just couldn't find it. I thought about ordering it online, but then I saw that Linit's own website doesn't even sell Starch n' Crafts! I ended up buying a spray bottle of Niagra ironing starch from Target, reasoning that because it was a spray bottle instead of an aerosol can, the formula would be different, and I could always dump the liquid into a bowl and apply it with a sponge if the spray method didn't work.

The fabric wall in my office; though it looks fine, it's the staples at the top and the bulletin board that're keeping it up

The laundry starch... kinda worked. I stapled the fabric to the top of the wall with a staple gun, and using a combination of the Niagra spray starch, a sponge, and a little bit of water, I soaked the fabric thoroughly and stuck it to the wall. At first it looked like it worked beautifully -- it was totally stuck to the wall, it was even and the pattern matched up perfectly, and there were no air bubbles. Then it dried... and it came away from the wall! Thank god the staples were there to hold it in place. It still looked okay; the fabric was only sagging slightly at the bottom, and the starching and drying had ensured that it was wrinkle-free. I decided to leave it and move on, but I knew that for a larger wall -- like my living room wall -- I'd have to try something different.

Back to the Internet, where I found recipes for paste using water and cornstarch. I got all my materials ready... And then I ran out of time. My doctor called and scheduled my surgery for way sooner than I expected. Obviously, I couldn't tell him no, reschedule it 'cause I have an interior design contest I'm working on! It took weeks just to get a consult with this guy! So I had to grit my teeth, have the surgery, and turn to others for help.

I enlisted my friend Vanessa, who is a fellow design enthusiast (we love oohing and ahhhing over the linens at Anthropologie). My mother came down from the Bay Area to help me through my surgery, and she said she could help as well. We made our first attempt at the living room wall the day after my surgery. I couldn't even stand! And unfortunately, it was a disaster. Even though I'd had a tiny bit of experience with the office wall, neither Vanessa nor my mother had done this before, and we just couldn't find a good technique. We were trying to sponge the starch mixture onto the wall, smooth the fabric over it, and sponge some more over the top. But it was taking forever, it was messy, and the starch wasn't being applied evenly. We decided to call it a night and try again the next day with a new method.

The next morning my mom and I got wallpapering supplies, including a roller brush and trays. Then we went back at it -- or really, my mom did. There was another unsuccessful attempt at applying the starch with the roller brush before my mom tried taking down the fabric panel, soaking it in the starch, then stapling it back up and smoothing it out. THAT finally worked.

Once my mom had her technique down it was a lot easier, but still no less time consuming. We were trying to finish this project before my photographer friend was scheduled to come shoot the place, so we didn't have a choice. Knowing what I know now, I would say one should alot an entire day to a project like this, starting in the morning.

After the fabric panels were up and drying, my mom became concerned about the seams in between the panels. It turns out we didn't allow enough of an overlap, and the fabric was shrinking apart, leaving a gap. That's when my mom had an absolutely genius idea: take strips of the unused fabric, iron them to hide the raw edges, and staple them up over the seams. I have to say I was doubtful at first (mostly I was just tired!), but I complied and set to work with the iron. After my mom stapled them up, I was amazed. It looked like molding! It was totally cool, and added real polish to the wall.

The last step was to trim the excess fabric, and we were done! At long, long last!

So, if you've read all this, and you want to benefit from our trial and error and do it yourself, here's what you should do to apply fabric to your own walls.

1. Measure your wall

2. Purchase your fabric -- go with something lightweight like a cotton (mine is a linen blend). Take into consideration how wide the fabric is, and ensure that you have enough fabric for some overlapping.

3. Cut your fabric into panels. I suggest tacking them up on the wall in order to get the length as well as to match the pattern if you have one.

4. Draw a pencil line on your wall where the seams will be between panels. You'll match up the fabric to this line to ensure your panel is straight. Fabric stretches and shrinks and moves, so it's good to have an unmoving guideline.

5. Make your starch mixture: add 1/4 cup cornstarch to 1/2 cup water in a large pot on the stove. Heat and add another 4 cups of water slowly. Stir the mixture to get the lumps out and make sure that it is evenly heated, and keep stirring until it thickens slightly. Allow to cool.

6. Dip the fabric into the mixture until it is soaked through.

7. Staple the fabric to the top of the wall, then smooth it down, sticking it to the wall. Use a roller brush to both smooth it out and also to apply extra starch where needed. Use staples or thumbtacks to pin down the edges as you go.

8. Allow to dry completely.

9. Using a craft knife, cut a seam where your panels overlap. You should be able to pull away the extra strip of fabric from the top panel easily, then carefully reach under the top panel and pull the extra strip from the bottom panel. Reseal the seam with starch.

10. Trim the extra fabric from the top, bottom, and sides of the wall.

Of course, I recommend doing a smaller wall for your first project, and bribe or blackmail a friend into helping you. I know I would still have an ugly white wall without my mother's help. I knew that she thought my idea was crazy, and I could tell she was getting frustrated with me and with the project, but she never gave up. She saw I needed help, and she came through for me. And even though I didn't really contribute much, I still liked the feeling of working on a project together with her, just like that mission model in the fourth grade. Thank you, Mommy!

For more information on starching fabric to your walls, check out these links:

Rental Decorating - The Quick Fix Fabric On Walls

Apartment Therapy: LA - How to Make Removable Fabric Wallpaper

Apartment Therapy: Chicago - Flickr Finds: Meg and Ross's Updated Bathroom

Ruche - DIY Decor from Ruche's Lookbook

eHow - Homemade Wallpaper Paste

How About Orange - Starched Fabric Decal Experiment

The Artful Crafter - Applying Fabric To Walls Using Starch

Friday, April 16, 2010

TAA Giveaway winner!

*Sound of drums rolling*

And now, to announce the winner of the first Tiny-Ass Apartment Giveaway, with an ah-MAZ-ing prize from Wilson Graphics...!

The winner is...

Heather (FullMoonOverTampa)!

Congrats, Heather! You'll be receiving an email from me shortly with instructions on how to claim your prize. I hope that once you've got your decal, you'll be so kind as to show us a snapshot of what you got! *Hint, hint!*

Thanks to everyone for participating! The response was really great, and you can bet I'll be doing another one of these soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Night night!

The doc's gonna be putting me under in a bit -- I'll just close my eyes and dream that I'm sleeping in this gorgeous loft from Flickr user house_dreams' photostream.

Via Pretty Lovely Things.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Evening Edition

Hey guys! Got some late edition updates for ya...

First of all, I wanted to thank Apartmentalizing for their sweet review of TAA. Aw, you guys. This is why I write this blog, to help inspire others with small spaces. That, and the groupies. Aw yeah, the groupies.

And to follow up on my post about terrariums yesterday, I found this really cool terrarium pendant on ArtFire from user shesthatgirl last night. This is a perfect example of how you don't need a lot of space to have a little green in your home -- or around your neck, apparently.

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a blackboard wall decal from Wilson Graphics! Leave a comment on the contest post here, and the winner will get a decal of their choice! The deadline is Thursday, so move it!

I also just got back from Michael Levine, an amazing fabric store in Los Angeles's Fabric District. I'm kind of a space cadet sometimes; I was looking all over the internet for cool fabrics for a few different projects, when my cousin Amy (who's quite the crafty lady -- or 'bot, if you will) pointed out that, duh, I live in L.A., and there's a whole neighborhood dedicated to just fabrics! The wonderful Jackie Page of ALTER pointed me in the direction of Michael Levine, and off I went. I wish I'd had more time to browse, and more money, and that I had a working sewing machine, but I had to just get what I came for and leave again. If you're in Los Angeles, definitely check it out. I know I'll be back for sure.

Now, the reason I didn't have much time at Michael Levine is because I'm running around doing errands and trying to finish projects today. You see, my knee surgery (I tore my ACL back in January) is scheduled for tomorrow. I was trying to get everything done for the Apartment Therapy Smallest Coolest contest (my ladyfriend Liz is shooting my place on Saturday!), but now my timetable's moved up since I'll be pretty useless after having a cadaver ACL put in my left knee! Eeek!

So, if my posting gets a little more irregular, you'll know why. Or if I start posting about how I rode unicorns through marshmallows, you'll know why. My doctor asked me what I do, and when I said I was a writer (in the loosest, loosest sense of the term, but he doesn't need to know that), he said, "Well, you'll probably write some interesting things while you're on Vicodin..." Hah.

And for that very reason, I've told my friends that they're welcome to visit, but not to bring any video cameras. I'm don't want to end up like poor David here...

God, I LOVE that video.

Real-Life TAA: Megan's Downtown Digs

Megan is another friend of mine in our "Lostensday" group, like Stacey (in K-Town!). She has amazing style, both personal and decorative. The first time I saw her apartment in downtown LA I was blown away: not only had she found a great place with cement floors, high ceilings, and the biggest windows ever, but she did a top-notch job in putting it together. (The first time I saw her apartment we'd also gone ice skating then drinking, and she called me a betch for not trying her homemade lemonade. In a totally hilarious way. Megan, you betch! I don't even remember if that was really lemonade!) I took so many pictures during my visit to her place for this post that I couldn't possibly fit them all -- check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post, or go here for the full gallery!

The entryway; the metal magazine holder was salvaged from the lobby of a sound recording studio that went out of business
Megan's lived in her 625-square foot loft for almost two years. Before this place she lived with her friend, Nada, in East Hollywood. Their place there was (and still is, now that Nada's got the place to herself) bright and colorful, but Megan was looking for an aesthetic change. She says she sat down and wrote out exactly what she wanted: a change of neighborhood, high ceilings, hardwood or cement floors, stainless steel appliances, and a "bathtub no one else has been in before." And she found EXACTLY that. Megan looked for six months before finding her current place. Her building was constructed in 1907, and converted into lofts in 2007/2008 -- and so, no one else had ever been in her bathtub before! It's amazing how she was able to get everything she wanted. Now she says she just wishes she had included closet space on her list...

The sitting area, framed by the sectional and bookcase
The loft itself is roughly L-shaped and has an open floor plan. When you walk in you've got the living room with its cool white leather sectional and the kitchen area, then behind the ever-present and ever-beloved EXPEDIT bookcase is her office area and a small dining area, and beyond that is her bedroom, bathroom, and single, solitary closet.

A sleek, stainless steel kitchen. The IKEA storage boxes above hold things like out-of-season clothes and camping gear. Limited cabinet space means more things have to be out on the countertop, so Megan picked her appliances to go with the black-and-steel scheme.
Megan is a grad student getting her PhD in Latin American Art History (with an emphasis on Mexico) at UCLA, and clearly being surrounded by original art is a priority for her. On her walls is an amazing collection of original paintings, photographs, and prints, and lil' sculptures and objets d'art are on just about every surface.

The print was something Megan had seen in a gallery downtown, and was later gifted to her by a friend
Megan does extensive work and studying in the Mexican city of Oaxaca, and that's where most of the pieces above come from. She told me that each of the villages in the area specializes in a certain kind of craft; the large painted skull is from a village that does woodworking, and the smaller black skull is from a village that makes an incredible-looking black clay. I don't think I had ever seen anything like it; it was really cool.

Though she doesn't have much time for it now, Megan's a fantastic artist; she did the painting that hangs above her desk
Because Megan's also a smarty-pants professor, she needs a distinct office area in which to work (or stare out the window). The EXPEDIT divides the space from her living room and kitchen, and multiple drawer units provide much-needed storage.
A high cocktail table and stools stand in for a traditional dining table, and good lord I need to eat breakfast because those strawberries are making me hungry. Megan's home staging skills are formidable, I must say.
Okay, I had some cereal, I'm back. Where were we? Well, as I mentioned before, storage space is extremely scarce in Megan's place; she has one closet in her bedroom that has to hold everything one might have in a clothes closet, linen closet, and hall closet. Basically, her vacuum is right next to her shoes. So, Megan has had to create storage, such as with this wardrobe and boxes. But what separates the women from the girls (so to speak) in terms of putting together a beautiful home is making even that storage beautiful. The white wardrobe with the white IKEA storage boxes looks clean and uniform, like it was planned to be that way all along. Who needs a closet anyway?
Each piece of furniture in Megan's home has a history to it, just like her art collection. She likes having a story to go with each piece. The century-old dresser above belonged to her great-grandmother, and even still has the funky cool drawer lining her grandmother installed. (The painting above? Made by her grandmother!) Megan's color palette is largely neutral; after having brightly-painted walls in her old place, having big white walls was a refreshing change. Her bedding is a mix of earth tones, and most of her furniture is unpainted wood or otherwise neutral. Still, it took me a while to even realize that because her accessories, like these folk crafts, are so bright and colorful (and glittery!).

Gorgeous. Imagine waking up there every morning!

The painting was done by a friend of a friend, and the tin skeletons and clay skulls were picked up while traveling. The dresser (and matching nightstands) are original mid-century, from her grandparents.
Megan's goal for her bathroom was for it to feel like a spa, and she damn well nailed it.
I love how the table lamp looks on her counter, and her shelf unit with the Buddha, rolled towels, and bath goodies look like they're straight out of a fancy day spa. Megan loooves her baths. She even finds the time to take a bath in place of a shower before a typical work day. It's such a good idea. She starts her day off with something most people do at the end of the day (if they even do it at all!) to relax. When you're got a small home, having an outside space makes a big difference. Megan's rooftop is so awesome that you could practically live in a cardboard box in the building's basement and you'd still be cool with it.

Jealous? Yep.
The rooftop has a lounge area, a barbeque, a hot tub, and incredible views. The walls are high enough, especially with the plants, that almost all wind is deflected, leaving the rooftop sunny and warm. Ah, Los Angeles. 72ยบ and sunny 300 days out of the year.

Old school "skyscrapers"...

... Plus actual skyscrapers.
As I mentioned earlier, there were too many good pics to fit into one post, so check out the slideshow below or go to the Picasa album for the full tour. Also, Megan's entering the Apartment Therapy Smallest, Coolest contest! I know I'm biased, but I think she's gonna stomp some heads. I'll be sure to let you know when her entry goes up! Thanks, Megan, for letting us take a look around! I think I will have some lemonade now, thanks...
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