A “Rebellious Chic” Tiny 224-Square-Foot NYC Apartment

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Name: Tesha Roa
Location: Upper East Side, New York, New York
Size: 224 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; rented

I saw Tesha’s apartment on the internet long before I ever saw it in person. When I spotted her place in 2014’s Small Cool Contest, I couldn’t help thinking — this is the perfect tiny New York apartment. And it really is tiny, at only 224 square feet. But I’m happy to report that it’s just as charming in person as it is in photos.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)
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This is one half of Tesha’s tiny apartment. At left is the front door: the door to the left of the kitchen leads to the bathroom. (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Considering that this is probably the smallest apartment I’ve ever photographed, it feels incredibly spacious. A lot of that is due to Tesha’s judicious choice of furnishings. With only a few big pieces — the kitchen cart, sofa, and bed — she’s managed to create a distinction between the living area and kitchen, and set up comfortable spots for cooking, lounging, and sleeping.

And being little doesn’t mean Tesha’s place is short on character. I think what I admire the most about her apartment is how she’s worked in personal touches all over — artwork, memoirs from her travels, little bits of greenery — without the place feeling cluttered. I wasn’t at all surprised to find that Tesha freelances as a home stager and stylist for photo shoots. I feel sure that if she can make a space this small feel this beautiful and livable, nothing is beyond her.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A mix of rebellious chic and a multi-textural approach to design.

Inspiration: My inspiration is based on my constant search for peculiar elements in objects I find from places everywhere.

Favorite Element: The exquisite marriage of wood, metal and glass.

Biggest Challenge: Cooking. Not only do I have non-existing culinary talents, but incorporate that with a tiny kitchen; it’s a disaster. Hosting parties is close to impossible. I’d have to ask my guests to line up at the door for their turn to come in because only four people can fit comfortably in the apartment. (I am joking about having guests lined up at the door!)

What Friends Say: How are you able to make everything fit and work perfectly in such a small space?

Biggest Embarrassment: When I have guests over and my recessed ceiling lights randomly turn off. People always think that my apartment is haunted. I always have to explain that perhaps the wiring is old and couldn’t withstand high wattage bulbs… after I tell them a bogus story about it being haunted!

Proudest DIY: My artwork.

Biggest Indulgence: I would say, the monthly rent! I purchased most of my décor from random places, including my domestic and international travels. I am very particular about choosing them. I focus more on unique and durable pieces that are not expensive, but tasteful and timeless. So, the rent is definitely the winner!

Best Advice: I am a part time Interior Stylist/Advisor/Stager. I always tell clients and friends to be adventurous with their artistic side (everyone has it in them), but always be careful with picking the right items with the right dimensions because if you go overboard, it usually results in a disastrous execution. But that’s where I come into the picture (wink, wink!).



• Sofa was on sale at Bloomingdale’s

• Bench used as a coffee table from Home Goods

• Chevron rug from Safavieh

• CB2 Formosa tray tables used as side tables

• Tripod table lamp from Etsy

• Crate and Barrel Marina table lamp

• Throw pillows from Crate and Barrel

• Sloane leaning bookshelves/desk from Crate and Barrel

• Vintage Nambé trays

• George Nelson ball clock


• Chef’s cart from Hayneedle

• Accessory finds from random places


• Table lamp from CB2

• Storage cabinet used as nightstand from a random store in Long Island

• Round wall mirror with chain from Peter Andrews in Huntington, NY

• Curtains and curtain rod from West Elm


  • White shower curtain with black trim from Ralph Lauren
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    Thanks, Tesha!