San Francisco Small Space: A Pared-Down Pad for a Stylish Pair
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Name: Kyle and Alex
Location: Tenderloin — San Francisco, California
Size: 450 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years rented
After 20+ apartment viewings, Kyle and Alex settled on this 1920s apartment in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. They had some basic criteria for their would-be apartment. It had to have wood floors and period character along with a separate space for their bed (they were looking almost exclusively at studios without bedrooms) along with enough room for Kyle’s inherited kitchen table. Upon seeing this apartment, they knew they found their home.
The Tenderloin is known as one of the grittier parts of the city of San Francisco, but it’s also a registered historic district full of gorgeous architecture, mostly from the 1910s through the 1930s. Their studio embraces period character, and Kyle and Alex wanted to maintain a muted color palette with minimal furnishings as a contrast to their chaotic and often noisy neighborhood. While their personal styles vary from vintage and collected to spare and clean, they wanted this space to be a place where they could feel calm in the center of a bustling city.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Pared-down, considered, and in some cases utilitarian. We try to focus more on experiences than possessions, but the items we have are reflective of our time and our travels together.
Inspiration: Donald Judd’s homes in Soho, NYC and Marfa, Texas, Ryokans in Kyoto, Los Angeles case study homes, Dia:Beacon, Aesop retail stores.
Favorite Element: The light from the bay window in the living room.
Biggest Challenge: Making a small home feel spacious. If we’re adding something new to the space, we’re probably replacing something. We try not to add without subtracting.
What Friends Say: Friends often ask where we keep our stuff.
Biggest Embarrassment: This is a weird one, but we hate our Ikea garbage and recycling containers. We’re on the hunt for something both functional and beautiful.
Proudest DIY: The wood coffee table in the living room is a log we picked up at a vintage store. Kyle spent about two weeks refinishing and painting the table.
Biggest Indulgence: Our vintage Herman Miller aluminum desk chair.
Best Advice: Fresh flowers and branches add life to any space.
Dream Sources: Vintage finds from Wright Auction House and 1stdibs, TRNK, Mjölk, Muji, Inherited furniture from our grandparents.
Explore this style:
Kitchen Cart — IKEA
Bed Linens — Casper
Thanks, Kyle and Alex!
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