Take a Tour of the Refreshed (But Still Teeny Tiny) OG Apartment Therapy Apartment

published Aug 31, 2017
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(Image credit: Ronda J. Smith)

In 2004, Apartment Therapy was born in a teeny tiny apartment in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Maxwell Ryan, our founder and the original Apartment Therapist, lived in a 265-square-foot 1-bedroom, relying on his decorating savvy and small-space know-how to make it work. It was in this tiny home that all our space-saving, zen-inducing, style-savvy solutions for small-space living first came to life. The apartment remains an icon to us, but over a decade later it was in need of a refresh.

CB2’s collection is the perfect answer for this tiny apartment: Its pieces are great small-space solutions, but they maintain a clean, modern line. Take a look at how they all come together now that they’re in real-life action in 265 square feet.

(Image credit: Ronda J. Smith)


As in many NYC apartments, the entryway opens directly into the kitchen, so it becomes the kitchen’s job to make a good first impression. Maxwell used custom built-ins, a combo of open shelves and cupboards, to make the most efficient use of his tiny kitchen. The caution with open shelves is that they can look cluttered without careful editing. We addressed this by leaving out only the everyday tools, all of which become objets when not in use. CB2’s mini clarity bowls and prep canisters introduce interesting new shapes; that French press adds another contemporary silhouette; and a handsome teak cutting board becomes a decorative focal point (an easy trick for any small kitchen).

Which isn’t to say we left out frivolity altogether. Even in such a tiny kitchen we found space to tuck away decorative accents to bring in character and life. Your eye probably went straight to the moki peach planter, but did you spot the gia black panther monitoring her territory?

(Image credit: Ronda J. Smith)

The “Big” Room

To be clear, it is in no way big, but it is the biggest of this home’s small rooms. It’s the dining room, the den, the office, the gym, all in less than 200 square feet. To make such a little space do such a big task list, its stuff has to be incredibly versatile, which we’ll get to below. The decorating had a neutral look working for it, a great tip for small spaces for keeping them feeling peaceful and clean. We kept that palette but added little moments of warmth to help carve out areas for the room’s main functions: dining and lounging.


To set up a designated area for dining (pictured above and up top), we brought in some metallic pieces like the rocco mirror, warner table lamp, and beta rose chairs. We chose an orville rug in light gray to give this area a lighter feel and added some coordinated pops of color with the bea green vase and really sturdy natural clay dinner plates. The unglazed natural clay bottom of the plates ended up being the perfect contrast to the rest of the table’s more polished pieces.

(Image credit: Ronda J. Smith)


Maxwell already had an awesome vintage velvet chair to work with, so we kept that our focal point and found some coordinated wall art (this piece is named “logic of stripes”) to bring in extra shapes and dimension. A quirky pillow and plaid throw complete the look while also turning it into another cozy place to curl up for a few hours. (If the rug from the “dining room” looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same orville rug, just photographed from way across the room — that is, three feet away.)

(Image credit: Ronda J. Smith)


Despite its small size, we knew we could quickly refresh the look of the bedroom by addressing the wall space above the bed, changing the lighting, and re-dressing the bed itself. Woven wall decor became the statement piece for the room and we gave the bed a similarly boho vibe with pinstripe linens, fringe pillows, and a tasseled umi throw. Instead of just relying on natural and overhead lighting, we also gave the room a warmer glow with two arc copper table lamps, which take up a tiny amount of bedside space but give the room an inviting warm glow, whether they’re turned on or off.

This post is sponsored by CB2 and was created by Apartment Therapy’s Creative Studio.
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