Before and After: An Added Loft Doubles the Usefulness of This 330-Square-Foot Apartment

published Jan 19, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: Small apartment with wooden floors
Credit: Josie Xie

From studios to teeny ADUs to homes on wheels like RVs and campers, Apartment Therapy has seen some of the smallest homes out there — and so many are packed with space-maximizing furniture, hacks, and tips.

Josie Xie and Alec Zhang’s loft add-on in their 330-square-foot 1920s apartment is another one to add to the list. With this clever project, the couple created separate zones for working, sleeping, and living, all for a total of $1,500.

Credit: Josie Xie

“The ‘Before’ was an empty apartment that we moved into which was barely enough for two people (me and my partner),” Josie explains. “The place also saw little care and renovation over the years. It had a curtain rod that was falling over — it actually fully fell during our work on the room — and an old yellow contractor-grade boob light.”

Josie and Alec decided they needed to upgrade the finishes in the room as well as the functionality. “We needed more space to live, and we wanted to make it home,” Josie says.

Credit: Josie Xie

Over the course of seven days, they built the lofted platform for their bed with an attached railing and ladder. “The rest came together slowly after we moved in,” Josie says. “We made trips to Home Depot almost every day at first because we were completely new to home ownership and DIY and [had] never built anything before.”

Credit: Josie Xie

But Josie is proud of how many DIY skills they learned over the course of the renovation. One of her favorite parts of their project, which includes new can lighting and an upgraded window treatment, is the new distinct zone underneath the loft. “Something about the plants decorating it and the wood slats just melts stresses away,” Josie says.

She was able to tuck a WFH setup behind the ladder, too. “The curtain not only hides the mess on the desk from the room but acts as a Zoom background and hides the room from the world,” Josie says.

Credit: Josie Xie

The space now has added visual interest, and its separate zones for different parts of the day offer major small-space inspiration.

Josie has great advice for fellow small space dwellers: “If you have a small space, build upwards,” she says. That vertical space can really work in your favor!