An Artist’s Bold Black & White Hollywood Studio Loft
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Name: Kristy Degina
Location: Hollywood, California
Size: 550 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 4 years
Kristy is a merchandising manager at Crate & Barrel Beverly Hills who shares her Hollywood studio apartment with two cuddly canine roommates. She’s made the most of her small space by incorporating big, bold statement pieces into a minimal black-and-white color palette. A street artist on the side, Kristy’s ever-growing, rotating collection of original canvases are also on display, layered throughout the house.
When Kristy’s not working, she’s…working. Her creative productivity doesn’t stop when she leaves her day job at Crate & Barrel — she’s an artist (street and graphic design), as well as a freelance interior designer specializing in small spaces. Her quaint, window-lined studio is the perfect environment for creative experimentation and expression.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Modern, Minimalistic, Graphic
My typical design aesthetic is more modern industrial. Upon moving into this apartment, the architecture was more feminine/Parisian so I blended my style with bold and graphic choices to make it a little glam while also a little moody.
My Influence: High-end boutique hotels in NY and LA influenced the layout. This being my first small space and already working with more oversized furniture, I had to make a lot of comfortable and functional choices.
Favorite Element: The windows! It wouldn’t be the same apartment without the windows! They bring light and joy every time I come home from long hours of work. The wonderful weather in southern California allows me to leave them open all year round. The view of the courtyard is calm and serene.
Biggest Challenge: Where do I start, there are so many! First, the lack of cabinet space (and drawers!) in the kitchen. Not much cooking and entertaining can happen in here.
Next, the odd angles and architecture when moving furniture in and out. It really helps that I am a space planner, but I think the average person would struggle trying to measure and furnish.
And I hate to say it but my favorite element, the windows! Being floor to ceiling and opening in, they take up a good portion of wall space limiting what you can do without blocking them or prohibiting their functionality!
What Friends Say: Those windows! They make a lovely and grand first impression. I also hear a lot of “old Hollywood glam/charm” and “this is so you!”. I think it has become such a fun, bold space.
Biggest Embarrassment: Again, there are so many! The old kitchen appliances are as unattractive as they are less functional! The mini stove is something I would love to upgrade. Also some of the older, inexpensive light fixtures are on the wishlist of upgrades.
Entertaining is challenging. I can fit 4 to 5 people comfortable and a sixth if we are all close friends!
The wall color was pretty bad when I moved in as well, but the entire apartment has been repainted and what a difference it made!
Proudest DIY: As an artist, I turned my hallway into a small gallery to store and showcase my paintings. It is an easy way to continue to do what I love on the side without the extra space and store them until they are picked up to be framed and sold.
I also love the fireplace that I brought in. It was actually a Craigslist find! I wanted a matte statement wall with a matching fireplace and I made it happen.
Biggest Indulgence: Recently I purchased a beautiful cabinet from Crate & Barrel to replace my kitchen island. It helps with more storage and looks beautiful at the same time. When I read the description of the item: “The clean lines of vintage French casement windows inspired Paul Schulman of Schulman Design to create this simply styled combination of revealed and concealed storage” I knew it was perfect and really played off my balcony doors.
Best Advice: Small space living and designing as not easy! There is a lot of trial and error and it takes patience and time. There are a few consistent things I do for myself and for friends and clients living in city apartments. First prioritize what is most important to you for day-to-day living before you choose a layout. For me it was having a defined living space for entertaining and ample (and accessible!) wardrobe space. Know that not all will be feasible in low square footage and buying and selling pieces will most likely have to happen. Set a budget and potentially factor in outside help for the project. For whatever reason you are downsizing, a professional can really help with creating a more visually stimulating functional space, help you make decisions that are outside your comfort zone, and even find hidden square footage!
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