Byron's Modern Quality

Byron's Modern Quality

Gregory Han
May 20, 2013

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Oakland, CA
Square Feet:
What I Love About My Small Home:
I’ve been in this apartment for less than a year after living in various San Francisco Victorians for over a decade. Although I love the charm and character of old apartments, I really wanted to live in a modern space again. What attracted me to this apartment was the “quality” of the space; it’s basically a series of right angles with big windows. The simplicity of crisp white walls with light-colored wood floors allows the focus to be on the furniture, which I’ve kept minimal and neutral in palette. Being a photographer, I also love the amount of light and wall space which has given me the freedom to increase the scale of my work. Most of all, I love the balance and juxtaposition I’ve achieved between modern and vintage, shiny and matte, textures of fabric, simple shapes and natural materials. Even though the space has a definite design push to it, it doesn’t feel fussy or unapproachable. In fact, it’s quite comfortable and livable!
Biggest Challenge of Living in a Small Space:
Ironically, I’ve gained more square footage than my previous apartment (which was 700 sq. ft), but I now have considerably less storage. There is one clothes closet and one entry closet, and that’s it. Not being one for clutter I’ve had to become super organized. All of my files, camping equipment, record collection, and various odds & ends have to fit in one closet or I simply can’t keep it.

Also the apartment is a corner unit and has slightly strange dimensions even though it’s an open floor plan. There is no defined living or dining room which was tricky in terms of furniture arrangement. The bedroom is also narrow and rectangular. In the main living space I created vignettes or groupings of furniture. My most deliberate design trick, however, is I've put everything on legs, which allows you to see the floor throughout the apartment. Smaller scale furniture and the use of glass help to achieve a modern, airy look and help keep the space from looking too full.
If I am the Grand Prize winner of Small Cool, the item(s) or project(s) from my home design wishlist that I'd like to spend my winnings on are::
The Barcelona chairs were an inheritance from my parents and are older than I am (I have baby photos on these chairs!). I’d love to have them properly restored to their former glory, replacing the foam and repairing some of the tufting that has deteriorated in places over time. I’m really proud to have been given such great focal pieces for my own home and would love to honor my parents by keeping the chairs for another generation.

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