Small Cool 2009: Emile's Customized Rental

Tiny Division #22

Who Lives Here: Emile Location: West Village, New York City Size: 340 square feet

What is your one favorite element in your small, cool home? When you live in a rental, there is usually very little you can do about bathrooms and kitchens. The bathroom in my unit was very basic, with white tile everywhere. Certainly better than many I’ve seen, but still very bland. Unusually, the door to the bathroom opens outwards, but I was able to turn that to my advantage, using Teak outdoor deck tile to cover the floor to the bathroom. In order to limit the amount of custom-cutting needed, I used black river rock to fill in the spaces around the pedestal sink and toilet. This creates a spa-like feel in the bathroom and contrasts nicely against the white porcelain. Taking some extra paint from the living area and painting the cleanest wall (to allow for easy painting and re-painting when I leave) a dark color increases the contrast. When living in a tiny one-room place, it helps to have or create the illusion of other rooms. By turning the bathroom into a spa, I can leave the door open and it doesn’t reveal a boring bathroom but an interesting and serene addition to the overall space.

Give Emile a THUMBS UP if you think this home belongs in the finals!
Thumbs Up Voting is only activated for 48 Hours — so don't delay!
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in furnishing your small home? In NYC, you sometimes find you have to sacrifice some things (or everything) to a good location. When I found this studio in the West Village, the trade-off was the near total lack of natural light and the awkward arrangement that allowed for a 30” high ventilation shaft to cut across the middle of the wall through the studio to exhaust in the air shaft. In addition to the single window, there were also no light fixtures whatsoever in the main living area. The closets were custom built into the area under the ventilation shaft, with a lofted storage area above. The solution was to highlight the unusual architecture and use lots of varied lighting to brighten the space. Painting a blue stripe along the air-vent and straight across to the window helped to draw the eye along and past it. Painting the doors below a dark charcoal and changing the hardware allowed the closets to visually disappear. Running plug-in track lighting across the ceiling allowed us to get light into every corner. In the loft space above the air vent, modular storage gives the look of built in bookcases, with halogen under-cabinet lighting repurposed into up-lighting behind. While it would have been great to install a library-track ladder, it would have been very expensive and obviously impractical for a rental. A $50 ladder from IKEA fits the purpose and budget nicely, and allows access to the bookcases above, turning an unfortunate architectural aspect into a deliberate feature. Installing picture ledges along the air vent finishes off the look. Theses changes were simple to implement, requiring a trip to Home Depot (paint and lighting) and IKEA (shelving and closet hardware), with the entire project completed the weekend I moved in.
Give Emile a THUMBS UP if you think this home belongs in the finals!
Thumbs Up Voting is only activated for 48 Hours — so don't delay!
Do you have a Small Cool Home? Enter Here by April 13th!

59 Comments