Small Cool 2010: Katie's Architectural Character

Tiny Division # 30


Who Lives Here: Katie
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Size: 416 square feet

What is your favorite element of your Small & Cool home? All of the architectural details, particularly the (non-working) fireplaces. I would never have thought of a fireplace as a headboard before I found this place, but now I love it. The mantle is a perfect built-in picture rail. And of course, as so many people have said, having giant windows really is wonderful in a small apartment, and makes the whole space feel so much bigger than it is.

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Favorite element, cont.: I never thought I would be able to afford an apartment with this kind of detail right out of college. I dreamed of hardwood floors and fireplaces and exposed brick, but coming from the DC area, I assumed I'd have to wait years before I could live in a place with that much character, and that's been restored as well as this house (converted into apartments) has been. The Richmond real estate market is really amazing. There are so many unique options.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in furnishing your Small Cool home? After years (really my entire life) of dreaming of having my own apartment, it was difficult to not go crazy and fill the place up immediately with everything I saw. That first post-graduation trip to Ikea with my graduation money I was like a kid in a candy store. Particularly in the beginning, I felt such a need to "finish" the space. But with a small space, editing is so important. I've had to learn to accept that even though I may love the idea of, say, an end table in theory, it's just too much for the space. Learning what doesn't belong in a space, especially a small space, is just as important as what does belong.

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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