These Small-Space Dwellers Use the Second Bedroom as a Dining Room

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Bedrooms
Square feet
615
Sq ft
615
Living roomm with white walls, pale gray sofa, yellow accent chair, round coffee table, tall windows
Credit: Kate

Name: Kate, husband, and cat
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 615 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months, owned

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Credit: Kate

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My husband and I bought this 615-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment in the spring of 2022. We loved the bright natural light from the south-facing windows, the original details like molding and inlaid hardwood floors (the building is over 100 years old), and location near a large park. But it hadn’t been updated in many years and needed a lot of love. We knew we wanted to keep as much of the original charm as we could, while also updating it to bring in natural elements and modernize the space.

We had moved to New York about three years ago after several years of moving around for grad school and jobs, and wanted the apartment to reflect our personalities and to feel grounded in Brooklyn. I’ve always loved interior design, and both of us love a project, so we threw ourselves into designing a home that would feel like us. We moved in with our cat in fall 2022.

Credit: Kate

My husband and I both love the outdoors and love to go on hiking and canoeing trips. Although we live in a big city, we wanted our home to bring the outside in, so we opted for lots of natural colors like blues and greens, botanical wallpapers, and natural wood and textiles. We also both love to travel, and our home is full of art and tchotchkes we’ve picked up from our trips. We also needed the space to be flexible: We both frequently work from home and needed to be able to find two “office” spaces in this small apartment, while being able to pack up our work setup at the end of the day so we don’t feel like we’re living at the office.

Credit: Kate

We both love to host friends, so we needed the space to flow comfortably for a group. We ended up deciding to use the second bedroom as a dining room most of the time — we move the table out of the way and roll out the air mattress when friends or family come to town — which gives us more use out of the space day-to-day. We picked a coffee table with a raise-top, which can double as a desk, to provide a second work-from-home setup. It was really important to us to make the home feel distinctly ours. One of our favorite details is the stained glass transom window between the living room and the dining room, which we designed in consultation with my father, who built it for us, in an Art Deco style to match the age of the building.

Credit: Kate

One perennial challenge for us, like many people who live in small homes, is storage. We tried to squeeze as much storage as possible into the space available. This was especially important for me, as I like clean and tidy spaces, so having visible storage wouldn’t work well for me. To that end, we added kickplate drawers in the kitchen for additional storage of things like baking sheets, added in a new closet to the dining room, and installed floating shelves in the bathroom above the door for additional towel storage.

Credit: Kate

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Cozy, bright, classic, natural, curated.

What is your favorite room and why? It’s tough to choose, but probably the living room. It’s the heart of the apartment, with big windows and cozy seating. It’s where we hang out after a long day, where we greet the day with a cup of tea and a cat on the lap, and where we spend the most time with friends — a space for relaxing and entertaining.

Credit: Kate

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? For the holidays, Max’s sister gave us these beautiful wavy green candlesticks, which are now on display in our dining room. They add a pop of color to that part of the room and tie into the green tile, glass, and wallpaper in the rest of the apartment. The candles were created by candorcollab.

Credit: Kate

Any advice for creating a home you love? Layer things — vintage and modern, different textures, different aesthetics. It will make your home feel cozy and curated to you, rather than matchy-matchy. And get some good lamps — enough to avoid having to use overhead lighting, and use 2700k temperature lightbulbs. Lighting makes a huge difference to how comfortable and cozy your home is.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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