A Tiny But Well-Designed 365-Square-Foot Miami Studio
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Name: Francis Dominguez
Location: Miami, Florida
Size: 365 square feet
Years Lived In: 2 years, renting
Francis had been working at a job in Miami for eight months, but the commute from Fort Lauderdale was frustrating. One day, he stumbled on an ad for a small studio for rent near his office and the places in Miami he liked to hang out. The studio was “literally a seven minute drive” from work, so he decided to check it out one day during his lunch break. “I did, and the second I walked in I saw so much potential…”
“The old, dirty-looking tiles and a dysfunctional, outdated kitchen were hard to miss, but I focused on the good natural light and the functional floor plan distribution. The first thing I did that night was create a 3D model to make sure the furniture I really needed would fit in the space…and the next day I signed the lease!”
As an architectural and interior designer, Francis is no stranger to the rigors and challenges of a renovation, but this studio was different for him; it would be his home AND it’s a rental. “My landlords picked the flooring and the kitchen cabinetry (I’m not going to lie, I tried convincing them to go with a lighter color for the cabinets), so I had to embrace these choices and make them work in my favor.”
Francis was able to persuade his landlords not to have upper kitchen cabinets installed, though, and that allowed him to install wood shelves and oversized metal brackets by his friend Robert Cortes of Grove and Anchor. Also on a budget, Francis painted the half wall teal to add some color to the small space, and managed to spend only $7 on a paint sample (and one hour of labor!). Another powerful but affordable upgrade he did was replace the knobs on the cabinetry with nicer looking pulls, which only cost him $20.
“I like dark colors + wood tones, and this shows in all of my main furniture pieces, giving me the perfect backdrop to showcase my eclectic side through accessories. From the papier mache faux taxidermy (that’s missing a horn) hanging in my living space, to the past Halloween props I have hanging on both sides of my bed, to flea markets and yard sales finds, to souvenirs from my trips, and so much more! Oh, and if you didn’t notice, I’m also a huge fan of prints on my walls and my throw pillows.”
Francis says he’s proud of creating a comfortable atmosphere for himself and his guests, and reports the renovation (as well as working with a small budget and landlord design decisions) has been an enjoyable learning experience. “I recently started my own Architectural + Interior Design firm working from home, and having this place has made this new journey easier for me because I’m able to relax, concentrate, and be creative.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Transitional + Mid Century Modern + Eclectic
Inspiration: Travels, architectural + interior design books, music, experiences + memories.
Favorite Element: My hairpin legs wood top dining table because it was my first custom made piece of furniture. This was built by a good friend and amazing local carpenter Robert Cortes/Grove and Anchor. (IG: @groveandanchor )
Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge (still is) is making sure I only have what I need in my space, especially being so small in size. I just have to ask myself, do you honestly need this in your life?
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY moment was the installation of my kitchen shelves + installing all of the artwork. Literally all my walls have something hanging on them, that’s because I decided not to paint when I moved in, giving me a blank canvas to bring my style and personality into the space.
Biggest Indulgence: My home office set, which consists of a West Elm Mid Century Mini Desk in Acorn + an original Eames Molded Plastic Dowel-Leg Side Chair (DSW) in peacock blue from Design Within Reach.
Best Advice: Make sure you only have what you really need in your space. Remember, a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind which leads to stress.
PAINT & COLORS
Kitchen half wall — Teal Stencil by Sherwin Williams (SW 0018) – eggshell finish
Rest of the walls — already painted that color when I moved in.
Sofa — IKEA
Sofa legs — Pretty Pegs
Rug — Wayfair
Pouf — Cb2
Throw pillows — Society6 and Society6
Clock — Society6
Floor lamp — Two bulbs lamp from West Elm (discontinued)
End Table — gift from a friend.
Honeycomb shelves — Craigslist purchase, set of 5 for $35!
Wall mirror — hand-me-down from sister-in-law.
Wall Art — Papier mache faux taxidermy I saved from being tossed away because of missing horn (one of my favorite pieces) + locally bought picture frames + old wood frames.
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