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A Peaceful, Plant-Filled, Historic Small/Cool Space

Name: Colleen Arce

Blog or website: https://www.colleenarceceramics.com/

Instagram: @clln_rc

Size: 200 sq ft

Home type: Apartment

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Years lived in: 7 months, rented

Household: My cat! His name is Apollo.

Have any design professionals worked on this space: Colleen Arce

Describe your space:

New York City is a hectic place, especially during a pandemic, so I tried to make my apartment feel as peaceful as possible. The design was centered around how to create the best space to unplug. Also, since square footage was limited, I needed to maximize storage and emphasize the 12' ceiling height. I love this apartment because it is the first space that has been fully my own, and it has incredible bones. The original oak floors and molding add charm you won't typically find in newer buildings. And my only window takes up the whole wall at the end. It lets in a ton of light.

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

The central DIY element in my space is the middle storage/desk/closet/partition! I took the IKEA Ivar system, and built a small desk and closet with it. And then to create separation I enclosed part of each shelf with burlap so I would have two separate spaces. One side is my bedroom and the other is the kitchen and dining space.

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

Keeping my small apartment free of clutter is super important to me, so having the central storage, which serves multiple purposes, has really helped me keep organized. I could have gone in a different direction, finding a wardrobe and a separate desk, but using one system ties the whole space together visually, and gives me some flexibility if I need to switch things up down the road. I also wanted the shelves to be as tall as they could go. Since the apartment is small it was important to emphasize the height of the space to help make it feel open and draw your eyes up.

How does your home reflect you?

When you have to fit your life into such a small nook, you find yourself keeping only the most important things, and planning around objects that mean the most to you. All of my art and plants have been collected over time and carried with me through many spaces. The only piece of furniture I bought new was my bed frame. Everything else is vintage or secondhand. I think my home reflects me in the sense that it represents what is most valuable to me. At the moment this is prioritizing rest, but eventually, when we can have people over again, I will be making lots of dinners for people I love!