A Pro Organizer’s Exceptionally Serene, Minimal Rowhouse

updated Jan 10, 2020

A Pro Organizer’s Exceptionally Serene, Minimal Rowhouse

updated Jan 10, 2020
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Name: Kristen Ziegler
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Size: 1,020 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

Editor’s note: This is a house tour greatest hit that we first published last year. Even if minimalism isn’t your jam, there are still lots of smart and stylish organizing ideas to glean from her home. And, Kristen has recently let us know she’s made some updates, so take skim through her home today and get ready for an update later this spring.

Kristen is the founder and owner of Minima—a company that helps others declutter and organize their space (or spaces!), and she works with both residential and commercial clients (think Need Supply Co., Ledbury, Quirk, and Epiphany). Her dedication to minimalism as a philosophy and not just a style isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but that’s okay; she doesn’t expect her clients to live as simply as she does. Kristen just genuinely loves to help others lighten their load. And perhaps most impressively, she actually walks the walk of a simple and organized minimalist…there are no embarrassing hidden junk drawers or overflowing closets in this home (believe me, I looked). And while Kristen’s home style may be too sparse for some, her home is filled with inspiring ideas on how to get just a little bit more organized.

Although there are a few more changes Kristen would like to make, she’s put a lot of work into her home of four years. Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. I found myself asking her about stuff. Where’s all the paperwork? “Scanned, online, and backed up in the cloud. I have a few things that I keep in the cabinet in my office. I’ll show you!”

What about your keepsakes? “I chose a few that were really important and parted with the rest. They’re in a cabinet downstairs.” Come on, cleaning supplies? “There’s a small closet we fit under the stairs, under which I’m getting a rail handmade to fit the space, so we’re switching that out as we speak.” Clothes? “Simplified. I stick to neutrals and if something comes in, then something goes out.” Yep, she’s a master at a capsule wardrobe, too. Kristen is the real, minimal-devoted deal…and her home just might inspire you to do some stuff purging of your own.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I think more in terms of a guiding philosophy than a style. Something I buy has to serve a purpose and be beautiful. Whenever a space in my home feels “off”, I challenge myself to subtract rather than add, which usually works to solve the issue. It’s fun for me and I feel most inspired when working within a set of restraints/limitations. I view organizing as my art form— creating pleasing arrangements on a small scale. I studied architecture and find great joy in applying the same principles to the contents of a cabinet or drawer.

Inspiration: Scandinavian and Japanese design, minimalism

Favorite Element: It’s a three-way tie between my kitchen, my downstairs flooring and my upstairs washer/dryer combo unit. I designed the IKEA kitchen myself and love the way it functions as well as the proportions and composition of the cabinets. I added the subway tile wall about a year and a half ago and it brought so much wonderful texture to the space — I enjoy how the natural light plays on the ceramic throughout the day. My downstairs flooring was installed on a 45 degree angle, which was a “happy accident” during the renovation process. When the old flooring was removed, I saw the original sub flooring — wide pine slats running on a 45 degree angle. I asked my contractor if we could install the new oak flooring perpendicular to the sub floor because I loved the diagonal effect. Having my washer/dryer upstairs right outside my bedroom door has been such a time saver. It’s a small combo unit and it works so well for me.

Biggest Challenge: Merging the newer elements of the home with the original features from the 1920s.

What Friends Say: It feels very peaceful.

Biggest Embarrassment: I don’t have anything I consider embarrassing, but the area I have spent the least energy on so far is my backyard. Right now it’s a mud pit with a mostly empty shed. I look forward to transforming it with open grass pavers to be used for entertaining or an extra parking spot.

Proudest DIY: I’ve played the role of interior designer/architect/project manager for all of the renovations to date.

Biggest Indulgence: My HAY Mags sofa

Best Advice: Whenever possible, I try to think in terms past the current home I live in, so I avoid buying pieces that are super specific to this house. For example, my HAY Mags sofa is modular, so I can reconfigure it to fit a new space in the future. I try to purchase things I love on their own merit, not just because they will look good in a certain spot of my home. I think they’ll stay in my life longer this way. I’ve also found that “happy accidents” create some of the best design moments. In the past, when I’ve purchased items with a particular finished result in mind, it rarely worked out as well as I hoped. However, if I buy things simply because I love and need them, a natural arrangement comes about on its own, and is always far better than anything I could have dreamed up.

Dream Sources: Scandinavia and Japan! I’m planning a trip to Sweden, Denmark, and some other surrounding countries this summer. I can’t wait to experience it in real life.


Benjamin Moore — Oxford White

ACCESSORIES (throughout)
Flowerpot with saucer — HAY
SINNERLIG plant pot — IKEA (discontinued)
RIBBA frame — IKEA

Beech coat hanger — MUJI
Wooden square tray — MUJI
HOVET mirror — IKEA
YDBY round door mat — IKEA (discontinued)

Mags sofa — HAY
Knot cushion — MoMA Store
Airy coffee table, medium — Muuto
Lampe Gras — Design Within Reach
Eames RAR — Design Within Reach

Nelson saucer pendant lamp, medium — Design Within Reach
Wishbone chair, ash — Design Within Reach
Fire hurricane — Menu (discontinued)
LIXHULT cabinet — IKEA

Cabinets & appliances — IKEA (discontinued)
Pump bottles — MUJI
Kettle — MUJI
OXO Good Grips dish rack — The Container Store

Elfa shelving — The Container Store
KUPOL drawers — IKEA (discontinued)
White storage boxes — IKEA (discontinued)
Combo washer/dryer — LG

Bed — IKEA
OFELIA VASS duvet cover & pillowcases — IKEA
NORDLI nightstand — IKEA
Ultrasonic aroma diffuser — MUJI
Ball vase — Cooee Design
Pine dresser — IKEA (discontinued)
VIKIS clock — IKEA
Ring holder — MUJI
HOVET mirror — IKEA
Elfa shelving — The Container Store
Acrylic hangers — The Container Store
Laundry baskets —MUJI (discontinued)
Volet hook — HAY
Tray table (plant stand) — HAY

Stendig calendar — MoMA store
IVAR cabinet — IKEA
Desk lamp — IKEA (discontinued)
LILLHÖJDEN swivel chair — IKEA
Frosted candle holder — MUJI
Volet hook — HAY
Slit table — HAY

Thanks, Kristen!

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