A 180-Square-Foot Room Loft in Vietnam Created a ‘Modern English Cottage’ Look on a Budget

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Greenery inspired by the English gardens that I love so much

Name: Phuong “Wendy” Nguyen
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Type of home: Bedroom (but I call it a loft sometimes)
Size: 180 square feet
Years lived in: Two months

The toilet and wardrobe area

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I moved into this room after relocating to Vietnam from London, UK. It’s a small room in the attic that boasts plenty of tropical sunshine. The loft area is a fantastic space-saving hack, together with the white walls that open up the room further more. Most of the furniture was recycled from my previous room, including a repainted vintage door, an old desk, and the fan. Anything new in this room (including the loft) has to be measured with precision, because there’s not a lot of space.

I want my room to be my own peaceful and green sanctuary, with a touch of vintage charm that reminds me of English country homes. I also love inviting friends over for tea, so the room should feel welcoming as well. I don’t have a green thumb so artificial plants are the way to go, and the tiny table and sofa can host four people at a time for afternoon tea. [Before the pandemic, of course.] I also added lots of string lights, so that the room at night feels like a starry forest. The photo galleries are full of vintage canvas paintings, and the photo wall on the loft is of my best memories in the UK.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Modern English cottage

What is your favorite room and why? It’s just one room so I love everything in it! But I particularly adore the loft, which doesn’t just save space but also provides a lovely vantage point for me to overlook the whole room from above. It’s also a nice feeling to climb the stairs to bed each night — it’s like I’m leaving all the worries of the world behind and relax in my little corner.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The door, which has been there since the 1970s and used to be a not-so-flattering shade of yellow. I’m glad we didn’t throw it away and instead repainted it white. This vintage door is one of the reasons I chose the cottage core concept, and it’s been a great conversation starter!

Any advice for creating a home you love? I think it’s best to start with what you look for in the room (the functionality aspect) and the overall theme that you want (the aesthetics aspect). Then you can look for inspiration on websites and social media (including Apartment Therapy, of course). Always keep in mind the budget and your personal style/ needs, so that the room reflects who you are and is a fully functional space at the same time. Take some time to browse shopping sites, visit the shops and even recycle your old furniture if you can.

My tiny but fully functional toilet

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.