Name: Suzi and Tchotchke, a 3-year-old schnoodle
Location: Yukon Studio Lofts, in Columbus' Short North neighborhood
Size: 557 square feet
Years lived in: 3
Suzi West has gone big by going small in her Short North studio condominium, which, in the living room alone, features show-stopping "branchelier," a 3-foot-wide chandelier of white willow; an oversized zebra-print ottoman and an 8-foot-tall cupboard. Rife with European flourishes, Suzi's home, a finalist in the 2008 Small Cool Home Contest mixes old-world chic with a cheeky charm: for instance, collection of apothecary bottles--including one that once housed chloroform--sits alongside a collection of Buddha heads; a sign reading "amateur boxing every Friday nite" hangs above her stately bed.
Suzi is co-owner of Collier West, a Short North store that specializes in one of a kind, vintage and artisan-crafted home decor, lighting, textiles and jewelry. The shop, which Suzi describes as a "lifestyle store," has the spirit of a Parisian flea market; that sensibility is extended to her home, which is awash with warm, romantic touches. Gilded frames, some filled with art, others not, abound; a life-sized mirror in the shape of Venus de Milo--a souvenir of Suzi's days at Express, where she worked for 10.5 years--is draped with jewelry of her own design (her Pont Neuf jewelry line is sold at Collier West); and an elegant couch upholstered in a faded aqua velvet (on "permaloan" from a friend) rests next to an antique yardstick that reaches nearly to the top of her 11-foot-tall living room ceiling.
Though her home's square footage is small, Suzi opens up her space by forgoing curtains on her windows, which provide her with a sweeping vista of downtown Columbus. Should she desire more privacy, Suzi can raise or lower a motorized screen hanging in the doorway of her bedroom area. A roof terrace provides her additional space for relaxing and entertaining guests.
Living in such tight quarters requires a willingness to purge superfluous items and the creative use of furniture to serve multiple purposes, says Suzi. For instance, when she downsized into the condo from a 2,000-square-foot home, Suzi culled her wardrobe, limiting its contents to a collection of easy mix-and-match neutrals.
Suzi also made strategic decisions in the design of her space, such as forgoing a television and swapping out a space-hogging (and nonoperative) fireplace in favor of the cupboard. Suzi further provided her condo with a sense of space by using transparent acrylic stools, which seem to vanish in the room. And then there's pint-sized Tchotchke, a schnauzer and poodle mix who weighs less than 10 pounds, making him the perfect size for the diminutive space.
Prioritizing is important, no matter a home's size, says Suzi, who blogs about business, fashion, design and other passions at www.suziwest.com. For instance, Suzi's modern Ikea kitchen, installed when the historic Yukon building was renovated in 2006, is not necessarily to her taste, but it would have been wasteful to scrap it for that reason alone, especially given she rarely eats in. "A wise friend who was remodeling told me, 'evaluate your life, how you spend your time and then build around that,' " Suzi says.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My style: I like a mix of old and new. I like pieces with character, that have a whimsical sensibility, and I love old French design. My personal style is as mixed-up and interested as my brain is. ... I tend to call it "European Country" instead of "French Country."
Inspiration: I have a friend who told me I had this ability to find one interesting thing and polish it up and make it better, and that I tend to do that with people, too. ... My father had a great creative vision to see the potential of things and was thrifty in all senses of the term. He loved the bargain, he loved the hunt and he loved reimagining things in a refreshing way.
Favorite Element: I love apothecary things. I love the labels and the Latin and that they usually have a lot of drawers and they can hold all sorts of things.
Biggest Challenge: It's small. Some of the limitations also are that I'm self-employed, and even though I have a store, I do design and marketing work, too, and I don't have a comfortable space to work. I feel like I'm constantly carting things around.
What Friends Say: My friends joke about how I don't serve red things to drink, because of stains. (I prefer prosecco: It's a good value, it seems decadent and it's clear.) My friends love my patio; it's a great place to have cocktails.
Biggest Embarrassment: You do live hard in a small space, and there are scratches and dents in things, (and) spots on the carpet. I would like to do things like touching up the paint.
Proudest DIY: The faux zebra skin ottoman, inspired by when I worked at Express. For a brief period, Express had an intimates store, and it had something similar.
Biggest Indulgence: Fresh flowers. My favorite things are the smallest. I love great-smelling soap; I find a $12 bar of soap to be worth every penny. I love fine food, great sheets and white towels.
Best advice: Buy well. And if you're going to live in a space, think about how often you'll be touching things like handles and knobs, so buy things that feel good in your hands.
Dream source: I love John Houshmand, in New York. He takes these big, flat slabs of reclaimed wood and creates these pieces that combine nature and modernity. I love the Paris flea market, I'm cuckoo for Picasso--I don't need a Picasso, but there are certainly pieces in that style that I covet. I love Randall Tysinger in North Carolina--that's my mecca; his antiques are so chic.
Resources: Collier West supplies much of the furniture, including the branchelier. Grandview Mercantile is another of Suzi's favorite local shopping spots; Flea markets in locations as disparate as Paris, France and Springfield, Ohio also serve as resources for her home and store. Artwork in Suzi's home includes pieces by Adam Brouillette, John Derian and Sarah Fairchild. The soft yellow walls in Suzi's living room are painted with Sherwin Williams' Lantern Light.
Images: Jennifer Wray