A Tiny Chicago Studio Defies Conventional Wisdom for Small Spaces

A Tiny Chicago Studio Defies Conventional Wisdom for Small Spaces

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Nancy Mitchell
Jul 4, 2017
(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

Browsing through the photos of Rene's Chicago studio, you'd never guess it was only 320 square feet. This little place has all the style and grandeur of a much larger home — and Rene has managed to fit a queen-sized bed, two seating areas, and tons of accessories (including a fish tank!) into a very small footprint. Here's why it works.

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)
(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

Maximalism isn't a direction people often pursue for small spaces. Conventional wisdom advocates a pared-down style for smaller spaces, but here, Rene has taken the opposite approach. His apartment feels almost like a museum, filled, at every corner, with new things to discover and experience. The number of things in the apartment may not make it look large, but it feels very large, because even in this little footprint there's so much to see.

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

Another way Rene has flouted convention is by making the bed the center of attention in this little studio. For those who aren't used to it, having your bedroom and your living room be all one room can seem a bit strange, and most people approach a studio as a living room that inconveniently contains a bed. Rene's layout celebrates the bed, putting it front and center, in front of the unit's windows, where it helps to anchor and define the space. A rug helps to pull together the living area opposite.

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)
(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

The 'more is more' approach continues in the unit's kitchen, which is packed full of art and plants and, delightfully, a fish tank. In the space by the kitchen window, where you'd expect to see a dining table, Rene has instead created a second, smaller living area. It gives him (or his guests) two different spots to sit and relax, an almost unheard-of luxury in such a small space. The takeaway? Fit what you actually need into your apartment, and not what you think you need or ought to have. Don't use a dining table very often? By all means, don't have one, and create a fish observation station (that's what I'm calling the kitchen nook) instead.

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

If you're as delighted with this little apartment as I am, you can see the full tour here. You're in for a real treat.

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