A 200-Square-Foot “Scandi Meets Beach Cottage” Studio

updated Apr 30, 2019

A 200-Square-Foot “Scandi Meets Beach Cottage” Studio

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Julie Pointer Adams and her husband Ryan
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 200 square feet
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, renting

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Choosing to live in a small home—paring down your belongs and living more minimally—isn’t always easy. And sharing a small home can be even harder. But for Julie Pointer Adams, a photographer, stylist and the former community director for Kinfolk magazine, sharing this tiny studio apartment in the Santa Barbara hills with her husband has been a clarifying experience. Julie and Ryan’s possessions have been whittled down to a collection of items that are both attractive and functional and the natural color palette creates a soothing scene.

Julie knows a thing or two about living simply; she actually travels around the world demonstrating the art of living and entertaining simply and with a generous spirit. Her recently published book, Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to Embrace the Imperfect and Entertain with Thoughtfulness and Ease, documents an honest and beautiful life from the cultural perspectives of Japan, Denmark, California, Italy, and Japan. Her home and her life’s work demonstrate how attainable small living is and just how beautiful it can be to live simply.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Scandinavia meets California summer beach cottage

Inspiration: Living simply and closely to nature is always my biggest inspiration.

Favorite Element: The feeling of living in a little private cottage tree house is pretty amazing—we love how big and open the windows are above our bed. It feels very magical and whimsical that the trees and vines literally envelop our space and occasionally try to grow their way into the house.

Biggest Challenge: The size! We love our little nest but keeping a small space organized and finding space for all our belongings proves very challenging on a daily basis. We’ve really had to learn how to utilize every nook and cranny, as well as find a lot of good-looking storage where we can hide things away. Also, cooking in a miniature kitchen with non-existent counter space and a quarter-size fridge gets pretty old on a daily basis.

What Friends Say: Mostly they say, “It’s so you!”; but other adjectives they tend to say are homey, cozy, and warm.

Biggest Embarrassment: Probably the fact that a lot of the fixtures are old and grimy, making it virtually impossible for them to ever look clean.

Proudest DIY: This is a tie between our sitting chair and the lamp in the corner. The chair has been with me for 10 years, first purchased at a garage sale for $2 with five of my best friends whom I was living with in college. Somehow it came to me when we all moved out. I recovered it with linen I found on a trip to Southern France and it’s been with me in five different homes now. The lamp fixture was created solely by necessity and I thought I surely would have replaced it by now. I cut the top third off of a tomato vine trellis and wrapped some old linen around it—and voila! A lamp shade for a hanging bulb.

Biggest Indulgence: Our lounge chairs in the backyard were one of our first purchases for the house and felt like a big indulgence for us — except that we knew we would use them all the time so they were totally worth it.

Best Advice: Make do with what you have! So many of the elements of my home have come to me haphazardly or through unexpected sources like thrift stores, garage sales, the hardware store, Michael’s (all the wooden crates used for storage), swap meets and so on. Even much of my furniture like my desk, side-table and various benches were random pieces I made while in graduate school. Take advantage of what you already have rather than always looking for what’s new, and open your eyes to broader sources than what you might find on blogs or Pinterest.

Dream Sources: If I had the resources to do so, I would love to have furniture pieces in my home from De Jong & Co. and Ilse Crawford , rugs from Block Shop and Morocco, all my linens and quilts from Parachute Home and Caroline Hurley, custom-made lighting designed by Ann Edgerton, and tableware from potters like Eric Bonnin, Judy Jackson, Clam Lab, and Kati von Lehman.


Glass canister with olivewood lid — Sur la Table
Sori Yanagi stainless steel kettle – various sources
Heath Rim Line plates & bowls – Heath Ceramics

Mid-Century Dresser, Acorn — West Elm
Washed Linen Duvet – H&M Home
Pillows on bed – Joinery
Ranarp Clamp lights – Ikea
Lemnos plywood wall clock — available through Amazon
Kati von Lehman cinched hanging planter – similar model found on Koromiko

Safavieh Outdoor Living Manteca Brown Acacia Wood Lounge Chair – Available through Wayfair

Thanks, Julie and Ryan!

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