Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wallpaper Brizilliance

My friend Victoria likes to use her own word, "brizilliant," for stuff that's amazing and brilliant. This tip from Lonny Magazine (via Oh Joy!) definitely fits that description.

I long for the day when I can wallpaper my home, whether it's in the traditional style or in renter-friendly style like the tip above or with temporary wallpaper. My current building managers are, shall we say, a little uptight? I'm terrified of putting up temporary wallpaper because I know they'll pitch a fit, even if I explain to them that methods like the one from Lonny or temporary wallpaper are designed to be non-damaging. I was having heart palpitations putting starched fabric on the walls, but they haven't been inside my apartment since I did it, and I'm leaving in a month now anyway. I'd heard horror stories from my neighbors; one said she painted her walls, expecting to just lose her deposit when she moved out, but instead the managers brought down the hammer and said she needed to repaint it to white immediately or they'd evict her. Yikes. People like that, who make turning your apartment into a home, frustrate me to no end. I won't be sorry to leave those buzzkills behind!

Via Oh Joy! and Lonny Magazine.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Resource Furniture: More Than Meets The Eye

Out of all the transforming furniture we've featured here at Tiny-Ass Apartment, the most remarkable have come from Resource Furniture, a New York-based retailer that carries Italian-designed pieces that'll make your jaw drop. In my earlier post, we took a look at a couch that turns into bunk beds with a few motions. Now, thanks to Core77 and Walyou, we have a whole video of their amazing creations.
Ron Barth, the president of Resource Furniture, walks us through the collection and explains the process by which they're made. Designing them requires a furniture designer, mechanical engineer, and hardware company to collaborate on each piece's look, multiple functions, and how to transform it from one kind of furniture to another. I'm really impressed with the ease of use; the moving parts use hydraulics and are perfectly balanced so that it requires only a few fingers to move whole panels, shelves and desks remain parallel to the floor so that you don't have to clear them off before moving them around, and Murphy beds have a safety catch so that it doesn't come crashing down when you try to lower the bed.
Though their hideaway beds are the most visually impressive during their transformations, my favorites are the simpler tables. I love the side table that transforms into a dining table (above), and the white coffee table that expands and provides storage (below).
The look of Resource Furniture's products are as modern and streamlined as you'd expect from pieces that are basically Optimus Prime, Table In Disguise. However, I'd still love to see pieces done in a more antique style. It'd be badass to see a carved wooden armoire flip down into a claw-and-ball-footed loveseat! Via Core77, Walyou, and Resource Furniture.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Petite Cabin in the Catskills

When thinking about tiny-ass apartments, what most often springs to mind is a place like the Hell's Kitchen studio I featured yesterday: small out of necessity, due to limited space in an urban area with high property rates. However, small homes can spring up even in the most wide-open and rural places. Take Sandra Foster, for example. Her teeny Victorian cabin in the Catskills Mountains was featured by the New York Times: Home and Garden section. Her home is special not just because it's a perfectly-pulled off example of shabby chic design, not just because it's a minuscule 9 feet by 14 feet with no kitchen, bathroom, heat, or plumbing, but because she doesn't share it with her husband. Her husband, Todd, lives in a 1971 trailer he calls the "Groove Tube" (because of its shag carpet and '70s aesthetic) on the same piece of land, but the Victorian is Sandra's place of refuge.
The couple used to live together, but then Sandra discovered that "much to my horror... Todd and I aren't completely alike," she says. "He is not a tidy man, he likes to collect things and stuff... Do I want to live with Todd up here? I would probably have to clean up after him."
When they discovered the run-down hunting cabin on their new property, Sandra took over. You have to go across a stream and up a hill to get there, but that wasn't a problem for her. (It did limit the size and weight of the furniture she could transport up there, though.) Sandra renovated the whole thing almost by herself for $3,000, turning it into her dream home. "My idea of houses is Victorian, cute, magazine-perfect, lots of white," she says -- and that's exactly what she got.
Even though I can find shabby chic too overwhelmingly girly, I like what Sandra's done here. Keeping the color scheme almost exclusively white with only hints of pink keep it from being too princessy. And looks so comfy, with all of the soft, draping white textiles on every conceivable surface. The glam accents like the chandeliers, mirror, and tabletop decor are also gorgeous. Finally, I can't get over the bookcase crammed into the vaulted ceiling, across from the loft bed. If there were any one design technique I'd steal from this place, it'd definitely be that bookcase. While I hope that if I get myself a husband sometime it'd be someone who didn't make me completely bonkers to live with, I still like the idea of having a space completely to myself. I'd definitely want my own "woman cave," if you will. I'd just have to come up with a better name for it, though.

Definitely NOT the "Groove Tube."
Via Jezebel and The New York Times: Home and Garden.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Blue Heaven in Hell's Kitchen

The bad news: I'm fighting the dreaded summer cold. My throat is killing me! The good news: I'm sipping tea at my favorite local Starbucks, which has just been remodeled into a laptopper's dream. It now features a long cushioned bench with tiny tables every few feet, and an outlet at the base of the bench right about where each table is. No more fighting for outlets! No more numb butt from sitting in a hard wooden chair! Yay! After all, when you live in a tiny-ass apartment, you're more often compelled to get outside of your small home and out into the world. Although I have to say, if my TAA looked like the one featured on Apartment Therapy a few weeks ago, I don't know if I would ever get tired of staying inside! Wendy lives in a 350 square-foot studio in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. She's only been there since February, but she's already done up her place in style.
I love her choice of colors. The blue on the walls is perfectly contrasted with the dark red brick of her fireplace (lucky!), the golds and golden-browns are wonderful, elegant accents, and the white trim, furniture, and bedding keep things light and airy. Wendy's also appreciative of the gorgeous architectural elements of her new place. "I'm a big fan of exposed brick. I think it brings a certain romantic yet raw edge to any apartment, so I was very pleased when I found this studio," she says.
Wendy's workstation is a perfect example of "thinking up" as well. She's maximized the amount of storage she has through the use of shelving all the way up to the ceiling. Her words of wisdom:
"You've got to be careful in that you don't over decorate to the point where things stop looking perfectly placed and start looking cluttered. Storage also becomes a challenge too as space is severely limited and often is taken up by the big ticket items such as your bed, couch, desk, etc. My solution to this was to get a desk with shelves that mounted to my wall which took advantage of the vertical space available. In terms of storage, I took advantage of the space above my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. I found that wicker baskets were perfect in terms of storage and carried more style than regular baskets. As you can tell, I'm also a big fan of wicker baskets."
And can you believe that she transformed her place in just one weekend? She says, "I moved in on a Saturday morning to a blank canvas and by Sunday evening, it pretty much looked the way it does in the pictures. I'm very type A when it comes to finishing a project like home decorating. I really can't stop until it's done!" My own decorating philosophy falls in line with hers. I believe that when you move into a new space, you have two weeks tops before your design project dreams start to fade. You've gotta get everything done as soon as possible, or you'll just "never get around to it." Trust me, I've got a picture wall project in my studio apartment that I still need to get to. Oh wait, I moved out of there a year ago. Big thanks to Wendy and Apartment Therapy for inspiring us with the results of two days of work well done! Via Apartment Therapy: New York.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Say You?: Flipping Out

I spent a good long while staring at the pictures and floorplan for this 200 square-foot studio in Warsaw, Poland, trying to figure out if I liked it or not. In the end, I came to the "do not like" conclusion, but I think it's mostly because of the garish color scheme. My eyes are burned with acid green, purple, and orange! It looks like the Nickelodeon channel from the mid-90s exploded all over it. But despite the slime-colored floors, this apartment has some great space-saving features, the coolest of which is the kitchen.

In the pictures above, you can see the lofted sleeping area on the left, the shower on the right, and in the middle is a giant white cabinet that houses the kitchen. (The toilet and sink are behind the cabinet, in between the bed and shower.) Embedded into the cabinet door is a fold-down table. I like the way the table looks framed by the cutout window, and it's amazing how much space is saved once everything's folded up and put away. I was just thinking the other day about how there's no room in my apartment to do a lil' morning yoga; in this place it looks like there'd be enough space to teach a small class!
The lofted bed area looks quite cozy, too. But does anyone else think it's really odd that they put in a cutout window to overlook... the bathroom? I suppose if you were laying in bed and had to get to the toilet in a real big hurry you could just leap through the cutout, but other than that, I can't see a purpose for it. Now, if you can find a purpose for a window overlooking your toilet... just keep it to yourself. I don't wanna know. Via Dornob.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quoth President Bartlett: "Break's over."

Ah, it's good to be back. Thank you everybody for bearing with me while I took a lil' vacation. How's your own summer going? Any plans for the solstice today, perhaps building a teeny-tiny Stonehenge in your tiny-ass apartment? There are gonna be a few changes in my life that'll be reflected here on TAA. I'm moving out of my Hollywood TAA and back up to the Bay Area at the end of July. I'm in need of a change of scenery, and I'm also looking to change career paths; writing this blog has helped me to realize how much I love interior design, writing, and social media, and I want to pursue that. (Plus, I've really had it with some of the entertainment industry crazies I've had to work for and with these past four years!) And so, as things develop I'll write about them here on the site. There'll be moving out of the old place, moving into the new, and everything that comes after that. I'm starting to pack now, and geez -- how did I manage to fit so much stuff into my TAA in the first place? (BTW, I'm putting together a "virtual garage sale" in order to downsize before this move. More on that soon!) And now to get back to the heart of TAA: news, products, and tips about living in your own lil' shoebox of an apartment! When storage space is at a premium, making use of underutilized space is a must, and there is no piece of furniture that does it better than the storage bed. But alack and alas, these pieces can be a lil' pricey. Enter Copy Cat Chic. The ever-reliable Reichel has done it again, this time finding an affordable doppelganger for Pottery Barn's Stratton Bed. (Seriously, PB? $1,599? That is literally a month and a half's rent. I'd have to keep the cardboard box this bed came in, 'cause I'd need to live in it!)

Pottery Barn's Stratton Bed
And now let's look at the much more reasonable alternative, from JCPenny's. You'd save a whopping $1,100, as this one's only $499.

JCPenny's Dover Bed
Don't forget to check out all of Copy Cat Chic for even more frugal finds. After all, no matter how perfectly a piece may fit inside your TAA, it doesn't matter if it doesn't fit your budget.
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