Small Space Lessons: Floorplan & Solutions from Jodi's Absolute Favorite

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Who wouldn't want to unwind with a glass of wine or wake up to breakfast in Jodi's light-filled home? I know I would! Soft wood floors and tall, peaked ceilings define this tiny home from our 2013 Small Cool Contest.

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Jodi and Ryan renovated this 470 square foot home in Rochester, Minnesota after it had sat vacant for 30 years. Whether it was due to the love and labor put into a complete overhaul, or how the process gave them a closer connection with their neighbors, they both agree that this is their favorite of all the five homes they have renovated and lived in. And guess what? It was also the smallest, proving that the fortune cookie they got not long after buying the house, which predicted, "A small home can hold just as much love and laughter as a large one," might just have predicted right!

When it comes to making this space feel larger than it is, white walls and beams do the trick. Often when we see exposed wood beams, they are left natural or stained. While that may have looked lovely, Jodi and Ryan's choice of white for the beams allows them to blend seamlessly with the walls and ceiling, giving you the impression of higher ceilings. White is also the perfect backdrop for the contrasting matte, black ladder to the sleeping loft. The exposed brick accent wall goes modern with a dose of muted charcoal. These elements become the focal point of the room, and along with the matching white pendant lights, help draw the eye upward. The white molded plastic dining chairs and black table base keep the palette cohesive throughout, while the glass tabletop keeps a larger table from appearing too big.

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The home in its entirety is virtually clutter-free, and reducing clutter is always a sure way to make any space feel more expansive. Jodi and Ryan state that their biggest challenge with a small space is doing away with all the "stuff", but this has allowed them to be content with what they have and focus more time on the important things in life.

The living room creates symmetry through the windows and a matching pair of floor lamps, while the lamps also provide extra lighting. An additional molded plastic dining chair in the living room serves as a side chair or can be brought into the dining space for additional seating. The sofa and coffee table are on a smaller scale, making the space feel even roomier. Oversized art above the sofa makes a grander statement than a smaller piece would.

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Two white IKEA Expedit bookcases provide ample office storage, and the pullout drawers offer hidden storage. A space-saving Parsons-style desk, with an unexpected arching floor lamp for optimum task lighting, rounds off the office. Books are arranged by hue, which is pleasing to the eye but also introduces pops of color to the mostly white space.

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As we all know by now, in small spaces you must think vertically! The attic was turned into a sleeping loft, which was a creative way to add a bedroom that otherwise would have been on the small, main floor. Because of the low, vaulted ceilings there is no room for a bed frame, but the lack of clutter and symmetry (introduced through the nightstands, lamps, and rugs), makes this space feel cozy yet substantial.

For more images of Jodi and Ryan's space, see their full small cool entry, Jodi's Absolute Favorite.

(Image credits: Apartment Therapy; Apartment Therpay; Apartment Therapy)

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