Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Real-Life Tiny-Ass Apartment: Breeze's Winning Combo

You know something in L.A. that I randomly miss? Chinatown Express. It may have been a crappy fast-food chain, but it was five minutes from my house, and I had a go-to order combination. (Chow mein, broccoli beef, and sweet and sour chicken.) But I'll find a new place and a new combination soon, I'm sure. I mean, I think I can manage to find a good Chinese place in San Francisco without too much difficulty! But the subject of today's Real-Life Tiny-Ass Apartment is a combination that's harder to replicate. Breeze Giannasio is that rare combination of smart, funny, kind, naturally talented, and a student of some of the finest institutions in the world. She's "real life," and she's a pro.
I met Breeze through a mutual friend at a Christmas party a few years ago. I thought she was awesome right off the bat, but when she told me about her love of interior design, I knew she was awesome. Originally from Hawaii, Breeze has spent time all over the world, with notable stops at Harvard Law, Copenhagen and Helinski to study interior architecture, and the masters program for interior design at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Today's post is about one such stop in New York, where she helped her sister turn a tiny Brooklyn studio into a bright and sophisticated home. Jovanna's 34th floor apartment (yikes!) in Fort Greene comes in at a teensy 500 square feet, and Breeze only had a budget of $5,000 to work with -- for the entire apartment. We're talking kitchen renos, furniture, everything. "It's amazing what you can do with clean finishes and an editing eye at IKEA," she says, and I agree!

Breeze set out to use a "neutral high contrast palette with pops of color," and subsequently realized she used Swedish colors. IKEA: taking over your home, and now your subconscious.

There are "equine chic" (Jovanna's term) touches all over the apartment, like these Apaloosa photographs. As a girl who preferred Breyer horses to Barbies myself, I really dig it.

The combination of a natural jute rug (which Breeze testifies is really soft) with a modern tulip table and ghost chairs is unexpected, but keeps things interesting.

Though the shape and shine of the tiles in the kitchen is also modern, the ocean colors (inspired by the ladies' Hawaiian home) work to bring a nature-inspired serenity to the space. (And I love the eye chart on the wall!)

That's one slick-looking fridge, and you know I love the "Keep Calm." The bright red of the print almost belies its message, especially when in such mellow surroundings.

More horsies! Apparently, Jovanna insisted that Breeze emphasize the one with the horse licking his lips. (Photography by Tim Flach.)

Yep, 34 floors up is pretty damn high, and you can really tell through these floor-to-ceiling windows. And apparently the windows can open! Eeep! *Backs away slowly.*

Jovanna and her boyfriend Dylan are a lucky couple: an amazing designer sister, a gorgeous brand-new pad, and they're pretty dang cute themselves. These days, Breeze is working on a bid to turn the 100,000 square foot abandoned streetcar station underneath Dupont Circle into a community-based art and design center. Not exactly a tiny-ass space, but Breeze has shown she's more than capable of handling the small. Check out the project's website here. And for more information on Breeze herself, check out her website at With projects like the Dupont Circle center and this studio, Breeze clearly knows her way around spaces great and small -- definitely a winning combination.


  1. I like the idea of this apartment but I feel as though it needs more and bigger color. Not tons of it, mind you, but the color that's there is isolated in these relatively tiny outposts; there just needs to be a large, sweeping gesture rather than a small Ikea side table, a small KCACO poster. That ottoman is a good step in the right direction but it needs company, I think.

  2. The table and see through chairs are a great way to create more space!


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