A 525-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio’s Redesign Was Inspired by Refreshing an Outdated Bed

published Dec 1, 2022

A 525-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio’s Redesign Was Inspired by Refreshing an Outdated Bed

published Dec 1, 2022
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Bedrooms
Square feet
525
Sq ft
525

Name: Linda Cava
Location: Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Size: 525 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 7 years, owned

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It was an outdated bed frame that inspired designer Linda Cava to redesign her small Brooklyn studio apartment, which Apartment Therapy first toured a few years ago. “The former bed was over 10 years old and outdated, so I was only going to get a new bed,” Linda begins. “Then I swapped out the one bedside table with two bedside storage cabinets because I had accumulated more things over the years. After the bed area was complete, I noticed that it was symmetrical and so was the living area. The redundant symmetry started to get to me because it felt very rigid. Initially I worked with the former sofa because it was brought over from my last home, but it was a little bit too small and the main culprit of the symmetry. I thought a sectional would work much better, so I decided everything in the living area had to go!”

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“Because pink makes me happy, my overall color concept for the main room and the foyer was to go from shades of soft pinks into deeper shades of berries, and ground them with deep grays into blacks for a moody high-contrast palette,” she continues. “And I went a bit more vintage with the furniture selections to match the pre-war backdrop. I also picked up a few more antiques over the past years. The gallery wall at my desk constantly changes to display my latest art finds. I repainted the foyer walls to magenta because I wanted to bring the drama. And depending on the lighting, it can sometimes look iridescent.”

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“I warmed up the kitchen with a botanical wallpaper, earthy terracottas, natural woods, more greens, and plants. The room now has a bit of a garden-like feel to me, which is so nice when you live in the city and don’t have outdoor space. The bathroom was a partial renovation because I liked the existing wall tiles and tub, so those stayed. I leaned into the melon color tiles and painted a lighter shade on the upper walls and ceiling, and went with a black floor. I opted for a pedestal sink and use the recessed hamper (hidden behind the bath door) and the closet to store my towels and toiletries.”

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I like a mixture of styles, but always with some clean/modern lines. So I guess a good description of my style is modern-eclectic. But I would call my own apartment vintage-modern, collected.

Inspiration: I find inspiration from the space itself and what I see and like out there in the design world.

Credit: Reid Rolls

Favorite Element: My favorite spot is at my kitchen stool where I have my morning coffee and scroll through Instagram design accounts.

Biggest Challenge: With a small space you have to be extra conscious of everything you choose. Sometimes I compromised and chose things because of its function, like the bedside cabinets, which offered storage and the drop leaf table, which could expand when needed. Sometimes I didn’t compromise and chose a pedestal sink and mirror, rather than vanity and medicine cabinet.

Credit: Reid Rolls

Proudest DIY: I made the office desk and narrow console table behind the sectional. I switched out the canvas painting within the gold frame that hangs above the sectional. I found a canvas print called “The Berry Pickers,” by Durand, and had to cut it two inches on the left side to make it fit. My next DIY will be to make a small hidden storage cabinet behind framed art and place it on the wall next to the door in my bathroom. I found this cool Instagram Reel from hauz.and.co that shows how to do it.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the whole revamp. But if I had to choose one — relative to the price of pillows, my Kevin O’Brien pillow was a splurge.

Credit: Reid Rolls

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My home is also my workplace. I needed to dedicate an area for it, so I took the whole wall next to the window.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love my antiques and handmades. I visit Savannah every year and always hit the antique stores and bring home new things. My favorites are: green vase and sweetgrass baskets in my kitchen, framed painting of a garden in my living area, black/multi bowl and lidded glass jar on my coffee table, black/gold vase and figurine brass bell on my bookshelf, gold gilt mirror in my bathroom, pink bowl and vase in my foyer, black vase on my desk.

Credit: Reid Rolls

Describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Make your closets as efficient as possible: add extra shelves and hooks, use bins, utilize the backs of doors, turn a single hanging rod into double hanging if you can, add a dresser or drawers if it will fit. Choose furniture that has closed storage when possible. Pare down to only what you need or love. And visually — the space will look less cluttered if you streamline by going bigger with the furniture pieces, but having fewer of it.

Credit: Reid Rolls

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? I don’t think I can live with anything other than white walls for a living room. And I pick dark fabrics because I have two dogs. I like using color in rooms that you don’t spend a lot of time in — like a foyer, dining room, bathroom. I also like using color in rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light. My thought is to just go with the dark/moody and not try to make it a light/bright room if it will never be anyway.

Credit: Reid Rolls

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? If you are starting from scratch, measure the spaces and draw up a furniture layout plan. This will help identify the types, locations, and the appropriate scale of each piece. Then figure out how you want the spaces to look and feel. Source the main pieces first and work in the smaller pieces around those.

Resources

Credit: Reid Rolls

PAINT & COLORS

  • Foyer — Benjamin Moore’s “Royal Flush”
  • Foyer Arch — Benjamin Moore’s “Baby Seal Black”
  • Living Area & Kitchen — Benjamin Moore’s “White Dove”
  • Kitchen Cabinets — Benjamin Moore’s “Onyx”
  • Kitchen Wallpaper — Photowall “Forest”
  • Bathroom — Benjamin Moore’s “Birmingham Cream.” Walls and ceiling are Benjamin Moore’s “Soft Beige.”
Credit: Reid Rolls

FOYER

Credit: Reid Rolls

LIVING AREA

Credit: Reid Rolls

OFFICE AREA

  • Wood Desk — DIY with oak butcher block
  • Go-Cart Metal Desk — CB2
  • TPS Metal File Cabinets — CB2
  • Eames Office Chair — DWR
Credit: Reid Rolls

BED AREA

Credit: Reid Rolls

KITCHEN

Credit: Reid Rolls

BATHROOM

Thanks Linda!

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