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Before & After: A 140-Square-Foot Studio’s Closet Is Now a Functional and Cute Kitchenette

published Mar 3, 2021
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Credit: Lily Fuentez

Name: Lily Fuentez
Location: Venice Beach, California
Type of home: Studio apartment
Size: 140 square feet
Time lived in: 9 months, renting

Credit: Lily Fuentez

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: As a fundraiser for a cancer charity, my pay is slight and my budget is tiny, but after a bad breakup and a rediscovering of myself, I was NOT going to let that keep me from fulfilling my dream of living by the beach. This tiny shoebox of a studio is my home for nine months, and I spent that time making it as cozy and calming as possible with my best friend, interior designer and vintage resale extraordinaire, Liv Enriquez.

Credit: Lily Fuentez

Liv is a maven in the Los Angeles vintage resale scene and she finds amazing retro and vintage gems to make sure that all of her friends and clients have the most chic and cutting edge pieces for their home, in the most eco-friendly way. (I now source and sell goods for her shop as well.) She helped me achieve the perfect updated bohemian style for the laid-back vibe I wanted, with the least clutter and most functionality for my TINY space.

Credit: Lily Fuentez

I am of Mexican heritage, and so is my decorator Liv. My family has strong Chicano roots in California’s Central Valley and her parents are Mexican immigrants. I always take inspiration from frequent travel to Mexico throughout my life and I love that COLOR in my home. Mexican decor makes the most beautiful juxtaposition with every color of the rainbow, and a lot of white. Liv helped me balance color with the largely neutral palette that was crucial to make the small space seem bigger.

Credit: Lily Fuentez

What is your favorite room and why? As you can see, I made my standard sliding-door-closet into a kitchenette using a storage cabinet from Home Depot and some creative use of shelving that is usually meant for under sinks (see where the closet shelf is up above). I added new red knobs to the cabinet so I could have the orange pans, red knobs, and blue microwave (color!). I had to search far and wide for the right storage cabinet that would be counter height for prepping food, fit in my closet, and be a style I could at least work with.

Credit: Lily Fuentez

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Boho Bungalow

Credit: Lily Fuentez

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Liv sourced a beautiful Frida Kahlo print for my closet area to inspire me with that Frida fierceness that we channel daily. Liv tries to support as many women and BIPOC as possible in her sourcing. All of the art she showed me in decorating was by women/femmes. It honestly changed the way I looked at art, and now I always consider the subject choice and the expression of it through the lens of the artist before moving forward.

Credit: Lily Fuentez

Any advice for creating a home you love? Use vintage shops, thrift stores, Etsy, etc. first when sourcing your home goods, then go to the larger stores and new goods shops. There are so many amazing small shops that do shipping — you can and will find what you’re looking for, and it will be so much more unique and way better for our planet.

Credit: Lily Fuentez

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