Name: LJ, Elena and Teo
Location: Downtown Brooklyn
Size: 550 square feet studio
Years lived in: 5 years
Long-time Apartment Therapy fans may recall LJ's impressive work in progress! Well, LJ finally finished and it looks incredible!
This home is a labor of love and sweat. LJ, an architect, built almost everything you see! Major elements that he didn't build with his own two hands were often salvaged from other people's architectural projects. LJ has seemingly endless patience and creativity. He has no limits in terms of the time, attention or innovation he will supply to a given task.
For example, LJ was determined to make use of a beautiful inherited/salvaged mirror for his bathroom. But if he used it, he'd need to create an alternative spot for a medicine cabinet. After rewiring the bathroom light switch and carving a hole in the sheetrock, LJ built a cabinet that opens in the bathroom but makes use of the interior of the step to the bedroom on the opposite side of the wall for storage.
To preclude the unsightliness of a flat screen TV, LJ built a beautiful unit to house it, decorated the outside with a custom designed silkscreen and then turned the back of the unit into a play area for his toddler son!
When dealing with a small space, the challenge always is to see how many different uses one object or area can provide. LJ pushes the limit, with gusto, expertise and whimsy!
Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: Functional formalism
Inspiration: Jewel Box
Favorite Element: Alternating tread stair to the sleeping loft that doubles as shelving, pull out laundry hamper, and medicine cabinet.
Biggest Challenge: Utilizing the high ceilings and unused spaces inside cabinetry in inventive ways to hide everyday items.
What Friends Say: “Very spacious for a studio.” and “Where's the bedroom?”
Biggest Embarrassment: The toilet is a high efficiency, pressure assist type that really does the job but creates a loud flush.
Proudest DIY: Building everything ourselves from ripping up the floors to creating and installing the cabinetry with limited time and resources.
Biggest Indulgence: The floor sample Della Robbia sofa we bought impulsively to finally replace the cat-mangled Pier One floor sample couch that we U-hauled around the country.
Best Advice: Commit and don’t waver. Oh, and the oldie but goody: measure twice, cut once! Very important.
Dream Source: Moss on Greene and Houston, and Henry Built on Greene and Grand.
• The sofa is a Della Robbia, Regata we bought at Rico on Atlantic Ave.
• The dining table is Pacifica from Crate & Barrel and the chairs are from IKEA.
• The bar stools are ca. 1920 drafting chairs that I was given from an architect who was closing his office in New York.
• The chair at the built-in desk is a Thonet bent plywood chair that we found on the street in the Village in one of those New York scavenger moments where this guy carried them out to the street and everyone on the sidewalk stops and rushes for them. (We got there first).
• The lounge chair is an Eames LCW with red stain.
• I built the coffee table in my architecture school wood shop in Lexington, Kentucky a number of years ago. One side is made from laminating old oak tobacco palettes together and the glass is cantilevered off of two small pins at the other end.
• The fan is a Ball Fan from Modern Fans.
• The pendant lamp is a Norm69 XL from Simon Karkov. Shipped flat-packed and assembled at home.
• The two lamps over the dining table are reconfigured IKEA drafting lamps that I wired together and hung from the wall.
• The floor is stained concrete with 3 coats of Quickcrete concrete sealer.
• The cabinetry, stair and deck are all custom made except for the white portions which are IKEA. It is ¾" Red Oak plywood and is finished with 3 coats of Cabot water based polyurethane. The IKEA cabinets are IKEA Akurum with Abstract side panels and doors and aluminum handles.
• The laundry drawer slides are Accuride, undermount, heavy duty slides and I used Blum hinges for all the doors.
• The bookshelves are from Rakks
• The stenciled TV graphic on the Home entertainment cabinet was made by using Frisket masking film that I cut to a pattern and painted over with a roller.
• The large red artwork on the wall was created by Elena as an Cooper Union Architecture School thesis project. It is a photogram of an imprint of a sidewalk in front of the World Trade Center.
• The floor is from Flor carpet tiles.
• The shelving is custom made plywood matching the rest.
• The railing is a ¾" Lumasite reinforced acrylic sheet.
• Lighting is by David Weeks in Brooklyn
• Floor tile is glazed, white ceramic penny tile from Nemo Tile.
• Toilet was existing
• Sink, vanity and faucet are from IKEA.
• Mirror is custom with a sandblasted top section and lighting behind.
For more details on the kitchen, check out LJ's Frittata Lab on The Kitchn.
Images: Jill Slater
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