Matt's Spirited Studio

Matt's Spirited Studio

Annie Werbler
May 24, 2010

Name: Matt
Location: Astoria, Queens — NYC
Size: 375 square feet
Years lived in: 9

Here's a closer look at one of your favorite contest entries, featured last month Small Cool 2010: Matt's Original Detail. The petite place is filled with colorful touches and clever solutions wherever you look.

With a love of vibrant mid-century art and era-appropriate furnishings, Matt took his dimly-lit studio space and filled it with brightness and intensity. A small floorplan was no obstacle on his mission to create a beautiful home. Instead of spreading out, all of Matt's pieces spread up. For example, a pair of modern dressers at a flea market was too good to turn down, so our friend removed the base from one dresser and secured the rest of the piece above the other one with brackets. He exaggerated the height of the few windows he does have by mounting coverings at the highest possible location. Even the artwork in this apartment makes great use of vertical space, with ceramic pieces reaching upward and vignettes climbing every available wall.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A mix of Mid-Century Modern, old and new pieces and graphic elements.

Inspiration: Design books and blogs, friends' places

Favorite Element: The original detail, including the contrasting stained border around the hardwood floors, the original door knobs (now restored from many unfortunate layers of paint) and picture rail moulding.

Biggest Challenge: With only 375 square feet of space and one small closet, space planning was definitely my biggest challenge. I didn't want to go with a Murphy bed or fill the apartment with furniture that would need to be moved, adjusted or hidden away on a daily basis. Really the only piece that does double duty is the large table on casters. It's mostly used as a desk but is big enough to function as a dining table with minimal adjustments.

What Friends Say: Most tend to comment on the artwork first. I've also heard "warm/inviting," "colorful" and "Um, you have a lot of vases."

Biggest Embarrassment: No separate bedroom or dining area.

Proudest DIY: I found two identical dressers at a local flea market, but only had the floor space for one. I needed the extra storage though, so the vendor suggested taking the legs off of one dresser and stacking them. It didn't take any real skill (just some braces to secure the two together) but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Biggest Indulgence: Oddly enough, it's almost been an indulgence to get rid of all of the extra things that I don't need. Although a little more square footage and storage would be great, there's something to be said for editing down your belongings to the things you actually use and enjoy.

Best Advice: Measure. And then go out and buy things that you like.

Dream Source: DWR, ABC Carpet & Home

Resources: Almost all of the wood furniture was found at local flea markets and thrift stores. Other furniture sources include CB2 and IKEA. The artwork is a mix of flea market finds, hand-me-downs, reproductions, gifts and some DIY artwork.

Thanks, Matt!

Images: Annie Werbler

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