A 450 Square Foot “Little City Shoebox” Feels Much Bigger Than It Is

updated Feb 19, 2019

A 450 Square Foot “Little City Shoebox” Feels Much Bigger Than It Is

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Natasha
Location: Griffintown — Montréal, Canada
Size: 450 square feet
Years lived in: Owned one year

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Filled with an abundance of natural light that reflects beautifully on her brightly decorated space, Natasha’s 450 square foot condo feels like anything but the “little city shoebox” she describes it as. Her choice of white walls and light-toned furniture contrast the dark wood floors and cabinets, giving the space a crisp, classic appeal.

Natasha is an interior designer by trade. Rather than adjust her lifestyle to fit her tiny home, she had some creative tricks up her sleeve to adjust the space to meet her needs. The large white quartz countertop overlooking the living room is a beautiful focal point, but also allows for spacious cooking and easy entertaining. Next she did what she says raised more than a few eyebrows—she replaced a wall of kitchen cabinets with floating shelves and artwork. This definitely paid off. This wall is now a colorful display of useful yet stylish kitchen essentials, and stores her most used items within arm’s reach.

Natasha livens up the neutral palette with tasteful touches of color in every room. Framed photos from her travels hang above her giant cozy sofa. Oak stools and wooden cutting boards on display add warmth to her dining area. Navy blue focal points in the form of pillows, linens and artwork offer a crisp contrast to the overall brightness of her condo. All of these details tie in together to create a timeless, cohesive style. Natasha’s condo may only amount to 450 square feet, but this carefully proportioned “shoebox” proves that size really doesn’t matter.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Transitional. Timeless. Elegant. Feminine.

Inspiration: Feminine meets Masculine. Fresh and airy. Inspired by Restoration Hardware (refined meets rustic) and Kate Spade NY (feminine & cheerful).

Favorite Element: White sofa (simplistic lines, seats a lot of people, very comfortable!)

Biggest Challenge: Creating a multi-functional space in only 450 square feet! Incorporating dual-purpose zones and furniture pieces geared towards entertaining / hosting parties.

What Friends Say: The space feels much bigger than it actually is! The placement of furniture and overall color palette gives the illusion of more square footage. Has a practical furniture layout, feels bright and airy, infuses femininity through textiles and styling of decorative objects.

Biggest Embarrassment: Having the condominium sales staff think I was nuts when asking them to remove half the upper cabinets in my kitchen to accommodate my artwork and floating shelves! Being an organize freak, I knew I could work some magic to fit all my kitchen goods! Removing a portion of the upper cabinets allowed the space to feel less confined and added personality to a wall that would have been otherwise bland.

Proudest DIY: A buffet I found at a flea market which I converted into my living room media console. I removed the top hutch, painted the base a navy blue and switched out the hardware to polish nickel pulls.

Biggest Indulgence: Changing a few details in my kitchen to give the illusion of more space. My goal was to create a functional yet visually pleasing environment that showcased my favorite kitchen items since I cook and entertain a lot:

  • extended kitchen counter by 12″ to create counter height seating for dining and party gatherings
  • added a pure white quartz slab backlash behind stove, instead of tile, to create a seamless look with the counter top (appears like one giant slab)
  • removed wall cabinets to add photography and open shelving (display daily items and my favorite kitchen decor accessories)
  • added two junction boxes above island in order to hang my bistro-inspired pendant fixtures

Best Advice: Although proportions are key in creating a successful design, do not be afraid of adding bigger scale furniture items in a small space. Rather than opting for “apartment size” pieces, I chose a large sofa to accommodate my living habits; which can be easily adapted into future homes. I personally find small-scale furniture items in a small space can give a cluttered appearance. To balance the larger sofa, I made sure it was the main feature wall of my condominium, bringing the eye up through the use of photography and an oversized mirror (reflects light and gives the illusion of a larger space).

Dream Sources: My absolute dream store is Restoration Hardware. If I could be trapped in any store overnight – it would be this one! Their classic and timeless décor style mixed with industrial influence makes for the perfect match!

For unique one-of-a-kind pieces, I love to visit Hudson’s Finnegan’s Market; a charming outdoor market filled with local artisans, handcrafted goods and antiques. It is such a lovely way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon!

Thanks, Natasha!

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