Almost everything in my apartment has passed through the hands of at least one other owner - very little lacks the patina of a lifetime of loving use. This includes the 72 year-old apartment itself, which sits above the family business, and has passed through the hands and varying design styles of grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and now me.
Starting with nothing but a dusty blank space after college, I slowly sifted through second-hand stores, Craigslist, eBay, auctions and countless estate sales finding each piece of furniture and artwork on a fairly strict budget. Pieces were restored, used for a while and then sold or traded to get something better fitting. It's been a four year long non-stop curation process and it will likely continue for years to come until it's time for the next generation to move in.
Biggest Challenge of Living in a Small Space:
The apartment is laid out like a typical low-cost 1940s home — a disproportionately large living room and two tiny bedrooms.
Instead of sticking to the intended uses for each room, the apartment was arranged accordingly to how I prefer to live. The driver was how to handle sleeping. I like to rest in open spaces, so instead of cramming a queen-sized bed into a twin-sized room, the sleeping area was moved to the living room. This in turn created a tidy conversation-centric seating area by dividing the awkwardly long space. The rest fell into place. I prefer privacy when I work and an intimate setting when I entertain for dinner, so less than ideal bedrooms became ideal for other uses. The last element was de-centralizing the television so that there wouldn't be a big black rectangle taking up visual space. By enclosing a landing at the top of the entry stairs, a place for the TV to fade into the background was created. The result is a small space without a lot of compromises.