A 400-Square-Foot Studio Makes Plywood Look Magical

published Aug 27, 2018

A 400-Square-Foot Studio Makes Plywood Look Magical

published Aug 27, 2018
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Name: Becky Elfes-Terjung and Cliff Lance
Location: Piedmont Avenue — Oakland, California
Size: 400 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years; rented

When Becky took on a job as a display artist at Anthropologie, she would constantly bring home leftover scraps from work. This is where her love of plywood grew, as it provided her with a blank canvas that allowed her to be as creative as possible. Just recently, she customized a pine dresser with wooden plywood squiggles, and she built a one-of-a-kind floor lamp that now illuminates the studio. Becky finds inspiration from many sources, including her work projects, but it’s her small studio space that truly pushes her to experiment. When she moved in six years ago, she had mismatched furniture inherited from old roommates, so she wanted to start all over with personalized furniture that fit. “My apartment is my happy, experimental place for crafting and getting out all the weird I have to hold back at work.”

Just recently, Becky’s boyfriend Cliff moved in, reducing storage space in the tiny 400-square-foot studio. This meant she had to find a new storage spot for her saw, which she kept in her kitchen for easy access when she felt inspired to build and create. Becky’s solution to make the space feel bigger was to work with plywood and neutral tones. Making furniture herself meant she could work with the dimensions of the room, and customize them to fit their needs. Now, Becky works as a display artist at West Elm, where she continues to work with materials that inspire her to create new things at home. “Making things isn’t as hard as you may think!” she says.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Playful modern.

Inspiration: Geometry, colors, materials.

Favorite Element: The lighting–during the day we get great natural light, and at night we turn on the many odd lamps we own, including four that I made.

Biggest Challenge: Small space. When I first moved in, I had a random assortment of furniture, but as I replaced each of them with plywood pieces that I made, the room felt bigger and bigger. Having a common material throughout the space and neutral tones with pops of color have made a (literal) big impact.

What Friends Say: “Wow!” Most people spend a lot of time looking at all the details when they visit for the first time.

Biggest Embarrassment: Not sure!

Proudest DIY: The TV stand—it’s made from a cracked piece of marble that was being tossed. I constructed the base out of plywood so it fit the marble perfectly and arranged it so you can’t even see the crack.

Biggest Indulgence: My Roomba. It’s the best.

Best Advice: Making things isn’t as hard as you may think.

Dream Sources: Home Depot. When I don’t know what to make, I walk up and down every aisle and investigate all the materials I’ve never used before.


Drake sofa — West Elm
Murray drink table — West Elm
Side table (marble +wood) — West Elm
Orange velvet pillow — IKEA
Roar + Rabbit Wabi Sabi dot pillow — West Elm

Norraker dining table— IKEA
Eames reproduction chairs — Amazon
Dining table— IKEA
Fanner paper pendant— West Elm

Malm drawers— IKEA
Desk — IKEA

Tarva dresser — IKEA

Rast drawers — IKEA

Thanks, Becky!

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