This Pro Organizer’s 512-Square-Foot Studio Has Brilliant Storage Ideas in the Kitchen, Bathroom, Closets, and More
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Name: Faith Roberson
Location: Long Island City
Size: 512 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting
Starting the year off by touring the homes (and drawers, pantries, closets, and more behind-the-scenes spots) of professional organizers, small space dwellers, and other design experts has become a tradition on Apartment Therapy. After all, how your home functions is just as important as how it looks, and I personally never tire of seeing how the pros organize their spaces. You can find great home tours and even greater organizing advice from this year’s fresh crop of inspiration (and catch up on last year’s tours) all on this one page: Professional Organizer Home Advice.
Faith Roberson is a life coach, professional organizer, founder, and the head educator of her company, Organize With Faith. Beyond just decluttering stuff, she advocates for exploring your relationship with your stuff and for organizing from a “deeper level.” Her company offers “one-on-one coaching, virtual workshops and weekly insights on the Organize with Faith podcast.”
“This little apartment is mighty and it announced its motive from the beginning: Purge. Rejuvenate. Wonder,” say Faith. “It’s an intimate studio, not meant to host or entertain loads of people or spend hours at a time working from my computer or watching YouTube. It’s the type of home you whisper your dreams to, curl up with an old journal to laugh at yourself in, mourn losses or celebrate unexpected victories with. I don’t anticipate living here long but I can’t pretend that I haven’t enjoyed the simplicity and charm of a studio.”
In a small space, even subtle color can make a huge impact. And in Faith’s case, pink plays an important part in her home’s palette. “I love the color pink (the right pink). It’s such a whimsical and romantic color; it’s also really easy to play with because so many colors complement it,” says Faith. “At night, when the candles are lit and the lights are low the apartment glows; it really is magical.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: To be honest it’s always changing. It really depends on the space and where I am at in my life. Every time I move I feel like it’s an opportunity to reinvent myself and what better way to do so than in the comfort of my home. I wanted this apartment to feel playful and invigorating.
Inspiration: The space; the architecture, colors and shapes of the cabinetry, kitchen, and bathroom fixtures, penny tile, the neighborhood, and the building itself.
Favorite Element: The layout. From a spatial perspective, it’s flawless. The architect really maximized every inch of this apartment from the overhead cabinets in the kitchen, to the full-length mirrored medicine cabinet in the bathroom, the alcove entryway, and alcove bed area, it really is a smart studio.
Biggest Challenge: Before this move I could never understand why decluttering was such a challenge for people but now I know why and I have much more compassion for my clients. Downsizing from a two-bedroom into a studio was not a walk through the park; I had a very difficult time wrapping my mind around the lifestyle change. Especially as someone who genuinely enjoys hosting and entertaining family and friends, parting with sets of dishes, surplus wine glasses, holiday decor, and dresses that I wore for particular occasions was bitter sweet. I couldn’t justify keeping stuff just because it “sparked joy” or fit in the space, it was important for me to honor the commitment that I made and to align my belongings to the space that I had chosen for myself.
I now have a theory that people aren’t attached to stuff, they are attached to an idea of themselves that’s permanent. So many times in sessions I hear people say things like, “I love books, I could never part with books because I love to read!” Even if the books are collecting dust and closing in on the hallway, they are connected. And, it was the same with me and the platters, napkin rings, and table cloths that people gifted me over the years. I struggled with letting it go because it validated me, it was how I presented myself to the world and if I parted with it who would I be, what would I do? I can laugh about it now but at the time it was not funny; I felt disoriented with every bag I surrendered to Goodwill. But, then something profound happened, I realized that I had an opportunity to do things differently, try something new, reacquaint myself to myself, and grow in ways I had quietly yearned for, for years. Truth is, we’re constantly changing and therefore our relationship to our stuff is changing too, we just have to take the time to acknowledge it.
Proudest DIY: I have two! First: The mobile over my kitchen table, my mother and I made it out of Christmas ornaments that I refused to part with, beads and crystals from broken necklaces and earrings that I swore I would repair but never did, and seashells and bells from travels. Second: My entry bench, which I used for additional seating when I hosted dinner parties. I had it cut to fit in the entryway and painted the color of the walls. For the cushions I repurposed these overpriced, incredibly heavy, uncomfortable pillows that I hated but over the years had convinced myself that guests would appreciate simply because they were too expensive to toss. But when I moved, my mother and I took a trip to Mood, found some gorgeous fabric, and covered them for cushions.
What are things you should never keep on your kitchen counter? What about in your entryway? Never say never. I think people have to do what feels right to them. A general rule I use is if it doesn’t support the action it doesn’t belong in the space. Keep things nearby that you actually use in that particular section of the house. For example, I don’t have a junk drawer in my kitchen but I do have one in my front hall closet where I also have a cork board. I have found that I’m more likely to grab something on my way out the door, or write a note and put it on the cork board than I would in the kitchen.
PAINT & COLORS
- Wall color — Glidden Powder Blush from Home Depot
- Charcoal Nordic Storage Baskets with Handles — Container Store
- Jonathan Adler Puli Pillow (discontinued) — Lane Crawford