A 495-Square-Foot Studio Is Easily Rearranged, Thanks to Smart Furniture Choices

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Name: Farida Talaat
Location: High Park — Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Type of home: Condo
Size: 495 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I had my eye on this apartment months before I moved to Toronto from Dubai. When I arrived, I couldn’t believe my luck that it was still available. I immediately made an offer and paid a year’s worth of rent in advance. Apart from buying essential furniture, I didn’t buy much for 48 hours after moving in until I had a chance to live in the place and assess what I will need. Now, the space is highly functional and everything is within arm’s reach. As an artist and DIYist, I’m set on making things for my home myself. From storage boxes and pouches, to the bed covers, pillowcases, and table linen. I take walks to nearby High Park almost every day; sometimes twice a day. When it’s raining—or snowing—I spend hours on end at my crafting table and forget about time. I also like entertaining in my tiny abode and invite close friends for intimate home-cooked dinners every once in a while. The limited space doesn’t restrict my culinary creations. I have cooked five-course gourmet meals from scratch in my kitchen.

I couldn’t let a small area limit my artistic side. In terms of layout, I decided on quadrilateral lightweight furniture all around so I can change the layout often; like a Tetris game. This means I can do anything from arts and crafts, cooking, dining, gardening, relaxing, getting ready, sunbathing, and sleeping, all in just under 500 square feet. I deliberately left out a TV set as I don’t watch TV often and prefer to do something productive like reading or crafting. My home has a mini-storage area that houses two easels, two large suitcases, numerous paintings, and a filing cabinet. I love portmanteaus and I was in love with the color greige (grey + beige) at the time I moved in, and so the overarching color palette is a quiet taupe. This muted scheme provokes me to make art.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Inspiring, multi-functional, serene, sustainable, dynamic.

What is your favorite room and why? As I live in a bachelorette studio, I love how the cuboid I live in doubles as an art studio. My craft desk is a place where I practice every one of my varied hobbies; cross-stitching, embroidery, textile design, sewing, papercraft and flower preservation. Whenever I have free time, I can take one quick look around and be motivated to do a dozen things at a glance. I relate emotionally to the reason behind the presence of everything in the decor and have a unique story for almost every item; every book, sofa throw, and kitchen appliance. I feel that over the years, one’s home influences their overall being and personality just as much as we spend time and effort to decorate it. I get inspired to make my home beautiful. It, in turn, drives me to create.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I made this mismatched quilted bed cover using fabric and crochet scraps from my gazillion sewing projects. Or I had this dress form shipped from the States. I’ve used it to create haute couture gowns, and it gives me weird sense of companionship.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Rely on natural elements as much as possible; natural sunlight, open windows for fresh air, and plants. I never had a green thumb before, but since buying a pothos and pilea baby, I’ve been repotting and propagating them, and now a family of greens fills the space. It’s a cliché that a home must reflect the tenant’s unique personality, but it’s true. I love being surrounded by my handmade creations, which means I can always switch them up according to needs or seasons. Also, a view is everything, and more than makes up for small square footage. Personally, I live for the open view overlooking High Park. It expands my home’s tiny footprint to acres and grounds me at 12 stories high.

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