Name: David and Im
Location: Downtown San Diego, California
Size: 426 Sq/ft Loft (rental)
Your local industrial suppliers…Home Depot and Lowe's only carry the most common building materials, but a specialty lumber yard may stock sizes of materials you never thought possible (sheets of MDF are readily available up to 6' X 10' and often up to 1" thick). Local sailboat shops carry fasteners that allow unique connections and components designed for cramped quarters. And of course, the Container Store for boxes and vessels… they knew us by name.
What inspired you?
Upon deciding to move in together, we were confronted with the difficult task of combining the components David's 800 square foot loft with the pieces my 550 square foot apartment into our new 426-square foot downtown loft. Fervent collectors and fanatical organizers, we had a couple extra hundred dollars a month, a table saw, and a friend's metal shop to realize our new home together.
The previous tenant, a consummate urban bachelor, was satisfied with the minimalist living provided: white walls, a kitchen sink, a refrigerator, and a stove. It became clear with the space's high ceiling that the only direction for us to go was up.
Our best advice is to consider the value of each improvement. Go cheap where you can, but invest where you should.