Small Space Advice from Anabel Interiors!

Small Space Advice from Anabel Interiors!

Adrienne Breaux
Sep 4, 2009

When we came across the portfolio of interior designer Kelly Moseley, the principle of Anabel Interiors, we were floored by the gorgeous, modern yet warm and inviting spaces she's designed. We decided to ask her a few questions about her company, her favorite design resources, and her tips for small space designing...

How did you get into interior design? What's your background like?
I guess it started when I was ten and my mother would leave the house for a few hours returning to a completely re-arranged house! I stole flowers from the neighbor's garden, saved my allowance for paint to repaint my bedroom (hot pink!) and drew houses and furniture in all my school notebooks. Curiously, I only started to think about doing this for career when I turned forty! After twenty years in NYC, my family and I relocated to Austin, Texas, a place where everything seems possible so I decided to take the leap and do this full time. In NY I had spent many years working in the advertising and film business. As a partner and producer in a design production firm, I had the opportunity to work with many talented animators and artists which gave me a great foundation for working in a creative environment.

What is your favorite part of working with residential design clients?
A home is personal space and with each home comes a personal story. I love getting to know that story. It's never simply that the client just wants a 'designed' look. It's more that they aspire to live in specific way or change something about the way they've been living. For instance, I had a client who dealt with a brief serious illness. She spent the good part of her re-cooperation in the downstairs dining room as she could not climb the stairs to her bedroom. Once she was in good health she wanted me to help her bring bright happy color and feeling into that dining room, so that she could reclaim the space. I love hearing these stories and helping people get closer to what they want on an aesthetic as well as emotional level.

How would you describe your approach to interior spaces?
I'm definitely drawn to all things 'modern' but that said, I instinctually go for comfort and cozy. In balancing all the design elements of a room, I also try to imagine myself curled up with a book in the corner sipping tea.

What's the most challenging thing about working in this field?
Not taking design too seriously. I often start with lofty ideas but ultimately for a designer's work to be successful---you have to tailor the design of the space to who uses the space and how they live in it. I guess at heart, I'm 'function above form' long as it all still looks good together. It's a fine line.

What's been your most rewarding or favorite project to date?
My last project actually. I was working with this lovely family who had a pretty limited budget but wanted to upgrade the whole look of their house. I usually ask clients to make a list of priorities of what they want to change in the house but this client had no clear idea. They just gave me the budget and ask me to allocate it and that almost never happens. I went right to work on the things I felt needed changing. Instead of getting new sofas and art, I focused on flooring, lighting and new windows; and in affect, really fixed the 'bones' of the house. Now they can accessorize as they go along. It's so rewarding when a client really understands the benefit of bringing in an objective eye.

Where are your favorite resources for gorgeous interior products, online and local?
Wow, there are so many out there now. Everyday I have to pry myself away from the internet. Online, I love Lebello for cool outdoor furniture (we use it a lot here in Texas!) For lighting, lately I'm obsessed with pendants from Niche Modern. Lampa Design does beautiful lighting too, all custom so it take a little time. For great texture in wall coverings, I'm really impressed with everything by Twenty2. And for the chicest kids rooms, definitely DucDucNYC. Art-wise, Linda Ketelhut creates beautiful illustration work. I've used her prints in lots of girl teen rooms as her work perfectly captures that age aesthetic. Republic Art in London is also great for art. They sell high quality reproduction prints that are an inexpensive way to get a lithograph look of my favorite artist. For my own work, I spend way too much time perusing the Paper Studio site. They have tons and tons of the most beautiful handmade papers. I use them in all my collage work.

Here in Austin, I always start at NEST or IF+D for the main iconic or classic design pieces. Once I have that established, I can begin to work in the quirky thrift shop or used furniture accessories. I always use Artifice for any steel door, windows or fencing projects. Their work is sublime. I also go to Houston a lot as the resources there are limitless. In Houston I love Kuhl-Linscomb, Frame Tek for art and Midtown Modern. Thompson+Hanson (nursery and landscape design) is great for getting inspired. Sitting in their garden restaurant, Tiny Boxwoods, sipping lemonade, I conjure up the dreamiest rooms!

What are some of your best small space decorating tips (that you're willing to give away, of course!)?
Ooh the best question! After living in tiny spaces in NYC for so many years, it's second-nature to me to use every bit of space available. So in a word---BUILT-IN'S! I put them everywhere in my last apartment. If you can take any corner or odd configuration of walls (a very common NYC apartment issue with risers going up through all the walls) and put built-in storage, shelving or seating, do it. I had a little corner in my daughter's room that was completely unusable, too small for furniture but big enough that you noticed it. So I had my husband build a narrow book shelf that perfectly held all her little books and kid things and it's like that odd small space was just meant for that. Always take shelving to the ceiling. Build dressers into closets. If you do a banquet, build in storage under the seat. A long built-in desk or shelving can serve as great divider in a room without having to put up walls. Keep it functional with built-ins and just the furniture you really need so that the space will feel larger than it is.

Thanks, Kelly! You can see more photos of interiors on her website and see Kelly's own collage artwork for sale on her Etsy page.

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