Make Every Inch Count: Smart Ways to Streamline a Studio

published Mar 4, 2016
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Post Image
(Image credit: Wes Tarca )
Project by: Julia Mack of

Location: Brooklyn Heights, New York

Studio apartments are tough for lots of reasons. Like, you know, having to fit everything you own in one room and having to eat in the same room you sleep in. Though the photo above of a 640 square foot studio apartment in New York City is far from unlivable, it does feel a bit busy, and the big, heavy, full bookcase as a divider is a little imposing.

(Image credit: Wes Tarca )

I spotted three smart ways in which the designer of this project, Julia Mack, of Julia Mack Design, turned this cramped, a little-too-dark studio apartment into a streamlined, sleeker version of itself.

One, she eliminated the bulky bookcase in favor of a hanging screen divider, gaining valuable floor space. (Though the book collection was no doubt pared down, hanging wall shelves substitute for the missing bookcase.)

(Image credit: Wes Tarca )

Two, instead of keeping the walls a dramatic color or painting them all white to brighten the space, she incorporated the best of both worlds by getting an artist to create an ombre wall treatment that allows for color and brightness.

Lastly, the tiny bathroom was brightened by updating the old tiles with sleek white ones, and storage was added with a hanging sink cabinet, making the space more functional. Topping the modernized space off with an intricately designed mirror helps keep the small room from being boring.

(Image credit: Wes Tarca )

The designer’s description of the project:

“Studio apartments are often difficult to design primarily because every inch counts. The owner, a traveling media executive, was in dire need of a bathroom renovation along with a decorating concept for her 640 square foot space. The decision was to begin with a bathroom overhaul and then, while that was in the works, design the bedroom and living room spaces.

One quick visit to Porcelanosa (tile), AF Supply (tub, toilet and fittings) and IKEA for a wall-hung sink cabinet did it all. The inlay shell mirror was purchased online from ABC and pulls the design scheme together. I explained that the 18-inch deep bookcase divider between the bedroom and living room was more of an obstacle than an asset and replaced it with a metal hanging screen wall from Shimmerscreen, which allows for 17.5 inches of new floorspace. Additionally, it creates a dynamic and unexpected sparkle to both spaces. The living room features an apartment sized gray flannel sectional sofa (Bo Concept) and purple circular swivel chair (Linge Roset), both which can face the television (a key element in the life of a media exec). The long wall of the space is hand painted by a local artist (Emily Billington) in a soft ombre which lightens as it rises to the ceiling pulling the eye upward and subtly connecting the spaces.

The building is very quiet with few residents at the end of the long hallway, so the placement of the bed on the entryway wall does not create a noise nor privacy issue. Also, this placement puts the bed adjacent to the dressing room and bathroom, which is important.

(Image credit: Wes Tarca )

Thanks, Julia of Julia Mack Design!

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