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best use of color

best use of color

A Nostalgic, Whimsical, Cats Small/Cool Space

Name: Erica Richardson

Size: 266 sq ft

Home type: Studio

Location: Emeryville, CA

Years lived in: 4 years, rented

Household: Husband, Chris, and two cats, Isabea and Ferris

Have any design professionals worked on this space: No


How did you use color in your space? My favorite color is yellow in all its forms. We're also very influenced by the 1960s use of color and patters, and we just ran with it. It's a color that makes us happy and is calming at the same time.

Describe your space:

This studio started out as an empty box, so we've been able to create designated spaces, which was important to us. What started out as kind of shocking — my mom even cried when she first saw the empty apartment — has become a fun/enlightening experience of letting go of things we don't love and having to be constantly creative, industrious, and patient as we navigate the day-to-day things you take for granted in a bigger home (i.e. noise-canceling headphones a must for "alone" time). It's been a satisfying experience, and we love that our space now truly represents our little family.

Did you DIY anything in your space? And, if so, what's your favorite DIY?

Almost everything! Chris built the many shelves you see used everywhere, and it makes the space totally livable. An important space saver was the Murphy bed built by Chris and his dad.The record player/nightstand is another IKEA hack by Chris. Something small but that makes me so happy to look at are the IKEA roman shades that I sewed black tassel trim onto. Adding removable wallpaper in the bed nook really added some character that the bed needed.

How do you make your small space work for you and feel bigger than it really is?

Every piece of furniture had to be measured and planned out before moving in, so it fits together like a puzzle. Everything has to be multipurpose and usually has wheels on it! The TV stand is actually two children's dressers from IKEA that we painted, stained, and added new hardware and wheels. The smaller depth is how they fit perfectly next to the couch. The kitchen island is also one of the hardest-working pieces because we have almost no counter space, and adding the curtains hides all the chaos. Our "office" is a shelf with drawers. Then we have more shelves below for our pantry.

How does your home reflect you?

We feel like it reflects our creativity and ability to adapt, something that we're proud of. We like to wear our hearts on our sleeves, so to speak, when we decorate, so there are lots of found objects, pieces that remind us of family, places we've traveled to, and things that make us happy. We spent a lot of time at home even before the pandemic. I also have a lot of chronic health issues that are a part of life right now, so it's been important to fill our space with interesting things, things that trigger good memories and feelings, a sense of fun, a soft place to land.