loving. living. small. digital snapshot | No. 1
10 mid-summer inspirations

my small move has definitely inspired some serious summer design love. I have found that I am leaning toward poppy orange, hip cameras, textured jewelry, modern embroidery, sophisticated girl, cool floor coverings and design books. Here's a quick snapshot of 10 of my current fave. Have a great weekend!

:: clockwise ::
lomo spinner 360 camera, CB2 flat vase, Slipcover Your Life Stichery, House of Harlow ring, Hipstamatic iphone app, Neapolitan Klondike bar, Tord Boontje's A Book of Art design book, Flor's Shiny FLOR tiles, Goyard tote in orange


small space accents
flat vases

setting up my new small space has been fun because I've been able to pick up a few things or so to add to my home. from these sophisticated paintings to my new orange felt pillow, I also snapped up a $2 flat vase the other day and, once again, I am smiling. the cool things about the vase is that it provides a great home for a pretty flower while showing off it's own neat structure - definitely a good thing in a small space - the details.


favorite small space accent in my home | the penny tile mirror table

 :: Click here to see a full view of this sweet table ::

a lot of you lovelies have emailed me or commented on the penny tile mirrored table in these pics and I wanted to tell you more about it. it is absolutely my fave piece (seriously, this table makes me happy - oh the power of design).  I waited almost a year to go for it and was able to get it wholesale through a designer friend (the only way because this table ain't cheap).  It's called the Metropolitan 1000 Faces Table. See many more photos of it right here.

What do you *love* in your own space?


using your walls
add texture to create a design vibe

one of my all time favorite apartment details (i've lived in, oh, 8 or so apartments in the last 12 years) has been my exposed brick wall in my 300 square foot Soho studio. Oh la la - did I love this wall and it inspired this blog. Since then, I've found comfort and design love in wall accents and textures, ranging from paint to brick to wallpaper (temporary for renters) to molding. I think adding texture to a wall in a small space is a great way to personalize your design style and to add visually dimension.

When I spotted this very cool textured wood wall, I wanted to share it with you. How cool would this be on one wall in a small space? Love it and the white framed glass too. Like this pink dotted wall (seriously - love) to temporary wallpaper to making your own brick wall, adding texture to your walls can really make a room. 

By the way, renters can do this trick. Just throw up some plywood first to cover the wall and then go for it! This works for just about any wall cover. When you are ready to move out, undrill the plywood and your white wall will be in tact - just the way it was when you moved in. 

:: Photos snapped by me at the very fab Rolling Greens nursery ::


loving. living. small.'s blogroll update
new blogs that inspire

I recently updated the loving. living. small. blogroll with some design gems - blogs, sites and style that inspire me daily.  I wanted to share a few of my faves with you, like the lovely artwork of Caitlin McGauley, digital inspiration board social community - Pinterest and lifestyle blog, Eat Drink Chic.  And you can click right here to check out more then 175 fabulous and inspiring blogs about design, art, culture, photography, interiors, cuisine, paper goods, green living and more to help you along in your day and to enjoy your small space.


small space dweller handbook
incorporating bright colors in small doses

I recently snapped up one of my fave new items for my new space - a bright poppy orange felt pillow. (seen above through the lens of my new Hipstamtic app) I loved the texture and style and thought it was the perfect amount of bright orange to go along with my mostly neutral palette (click here to see more). The cheery color and cool felt texture literally makes me feel good which is what it means - to me - to make a house a home. I definitely would recommend using bright colors in small doses in small spaces to add texture and style. How do you add color to your small space?

Check out more pages in the SMALL SPACE DWELLER HANDBOOK right here.


small space d.i.y.
turn your frame into an inspiration board in 5 minutes







When I moved into my new small space, I definitely knew that my new dining room-turned-office would have a special place for an inspiration board. I've never had a functioning visual board in my space before, opting for spiral bound sketchbooks instead. This new space was perfect for a visual space and instead of buying a boring old bulletin board, I decided to make my own for $35.

I bought the biggie RIBBA frame at Ikea for $25, a pretty good deal for such a large frame. After stopping in at a few stores, I finally found exactly what I need, a roll of cork. (That's the other $10) Once home, I taped down one end to the matte and cut to size and -voila - a brand new and pretty looking inspiration board. Since I just moved in, I am still working on filling it up but I have tons and tons of inspiration waiting in my notebooks, like the blurb from an old magazine that got me going in design in the first place (yes, I actually kept this!)


a small move
custom lighting is easy & affordable











oh I am excited to share this post with you guys today - my custom lighting. Ok so it may not as fancy as that sounds but I did have my own chandeliers and shades installed in my new small space and I am super happy with the result. As a renter, I know I can do some small things to make my space feel more personal and comfortable and changing out the "not very me" lighting that came with the apartment was one of them. I have actually never done this before in other units I've lived in but since this was such a special move, I decided to go for it. And aside from personalizing my space, the new lighting gave more balance, which is my fave small space tip (see more in the SMALL SPACE DWELLER HANDBOOK about lighting design)

Through a few friend referrals, I found a great handyman (see #7 here) and he helped me hang the lights and my curtains as well as completing some ikea projects. (if I finished them, I surely would have way too many nuts & bolts leftover :) For a little over $100, I was able to get all of these small details accomplished in an easy and affordable way. I figured I would give up a splurge (like mani/pedi's for 2 months) to get this stuff done - totally worth it!

My first custom lighting change was in the dining room-turned-office. I was not digging the brown and some random color light fixture and when I went of to NYC a few weeks ago for fun and a little Blog Out Loud love, I spotted my dream lighting source (see my blog post about an exact look-a-like from November right here) and snapped it up for a mere $60 - i know, right?!? Down came ugly and up went pretty and I am so happy every time I see this shiny light.

My second custom lighting change was the hallway light, also an ugly light in the same family of the dining room fixture. Down it came and up went a $5 lighting plate that I bought at Home Depot. I already had my Tord Boontje Midsummer shade (see it here) but needed a lightbulb in place before I could place it up there. I am *seriously* happy to see it here and love how it reflects off the mirror - very cool!

Placing my own lighting in my new small space is definitely one of my fave a small move details. I definitely recommend it in your own home - renter or owner. It costs a little bit of $ and it really makes you feel good - I say go for it!

Check out more little details in my new small space right here in A SMALL MOVE. And check back in this week when I reveal my biggest DIY project to date - making my very own headboard.

Also, check out sources of my inspiration right here on my Pinterest mood board.


small space dwellers
dark walls + accents

I am loving the next room in the small space dwellers series because it's a mix of dramatic flair and soft edges. I've been a fan of Stacy Bass photography when I spotted her on fave site desire to inspire and I bookmarked her site to follow and enjoy her portfolio. Aside from exteriors and table top, the interiors are lovely and this room is fabulous! let's take a look at some of the real small space ideas inside...

I am loving dark accent walls in a small space. This creates a substantial texture to the space. Best tip - keep the moldings bright white to create a seamless style to the white ceiling - driving the eye up to create vertical depth.

I love this look - grouping similar decor accents in groups. The pretty ikat patterned canisters work!

If you've been reading loving. living. small. then you know that using your walls is one of my fave small space ideas. hey if you don't have the floor space, go vertical. I love how the simple wall decor is symmetrical and stylish.

Oh I also love this one - swing arm lighting. placed sweetly on the wall, swing arm lighting is a great way to create lighting balance in a small space without taking up any floor space.

Part accent, part seating option, floor cushions are a great double duty accent in a small space. They add color and texture to a small space while providing necessary seating for guests - yes!

Check out tons of more small space ideas that real people are using in small space dwellers.

: Image via Stacy Bass Photography ::


a small move
10 tips for setting up shop

as I've started posting more finished projects, I realized that I didn't share my post about getting the "moving into a small space" ball rolling so here we go. I usually don't get overly personal on my blog but do want to share that this move is a very special one. I am living on my own again after ending a 5-year relationship. It's exciting to be starting this new chapter although definitely mixed with emotion and the occasional "ok, I have to handle this on my own" feelings. But it's good and that's what new beginnings are all about. Since I've already gone through most of my move, I can share some great tips for setting up shop (from a single, independent woman and a small space dweller) point of view.

 1) Spend a little extra money to unload mountains of stress when packing and moving
Seriously people, this one saved the day. I had initially thought I would enlist friends and family to help me with my move but the time and energy was really too much. After some research, I found a great moving company to help me move all my things out of SF and into my LA pad AND it was affordable. The myth about expensive moving companies is just that. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.

2) Make your bed first
I have blogged this on Apartment Therapy before too - make your bed right away. Somehow in the middle of all the boxes piled high to the ceiling, a freshly made bed allows you to feel "at home" in your new home.

3) Get your very own tool kit
My bff from high school gifted me a red toolbox when I moved to NYC in 2002 and it was - honestly - one of the best gifts I ever received. Having my own set of tools - hammer, screwdriver, etc, - has really given me opportunities to get going on hanging frames, building new furniture and just feeling independent.

4) Draft your very own floorplan (no experience needed)
When I first got the apartment, I drafted a little floor plan, complete with measurements. Not very professional (see above) but perfect for getting my ducks in a row with my existing furniture and outlining what I still needed (like a new desk and rug for my dining room-turned-office). This was super helpful and provided an understanding of my space prior to moving in.

5) Keep it in perspective - you don't have to do this all at once.  
As many people say, it's  marathon, not a race and this definitely speaks to unpacking an apartment. Take an hour each day - maybe an hour before or after work - to go through your things.

6) Best tip for unpacking the stacks of overwhelming boxes - take all of your stuff out!
My mom shared this one with me and it really worked. I placed my boxes in the appropriate room and each day, I set aside a few hours (like above) and literally unpacked every box. So the 5 office boxes meant stacks and stacks of office style things on my floor and couch. Then I just put everything away. I didn't even worry about placing things in what would become their proper place. Instead I just got everything off the floor and in it's right room.  I went back the following week and reorganized everything to the way I liked by setting aside an hour or so. 

7) Don't have a handy boyfriend around, hire a handy man. Yes!
So along with booking affordable movers as I mentioned above, I also booked an affordable handyman to come do a lot of things that I couldn't handle myself - installing 2 light fixtures (they are amazing and will be revealed soon), hanging all my curtains and blinds, helping to finish building some not so easy to build Ikea furniture, moving my very heavy new marble coffee table top into place and more. This was also empowering, as a newly independent lady :)

8) Painters tape is your friend - and your wall's friend
Blue painters tape is super versatile in small spaces. I first got to know it bc of my love of painting stripes in my small spaces. (My friends know that I have a thing for stripes (see some here and here) The neat thing about painters tape is that it can be used for a lot because it doesn't stick poorly and make a mess. My fave new use - using painters tape BEFORE I nail into the wall. This little trick protects the plaster from falling apart and will keep a clean hole in your wall to cover up at a later date.

9) Edit as you go
Just because your furniture worked a certain way in your old space doesn't mean it will in your new space. Take a look around and see how you feel. If it's too much, consider losing a piece or accent.

10) Most important tip when setting up shop - enjoy your new small space
Even though I had boxes and stuff everywhere, I had friends over for wine and entertained. Plus in the mornings, I enjoy a cup of coffee and catch up on my blog reading. Enjoy your space - that's what it's all about!

Click here to follow more of my move through my series, A SMALL MOVE.


a small move
go big in small spaces | artwork that stands out

I remember that one of my first posts on loving. living. small. back in Jan 2008 was about large canvas paintings in small spaces. I love that idea - big art in small spaces. I continued to blog about it over at Apartment Therapy as one of my first posts in Aug 2008. One would get the feeling that I like the idea of big artwork. When I moved into my new small space a few weeks ago, I knew that my bedroom walls would need a little love to match my fab DIY headboard (to be revealed soon).

Last weekend I went flea marketing and - oh la la - did I hit the artwork jackpot. I spotted these large paintings of two chic ladies and simply put - I had to have them. A little more "girly" then I had planned to go, they were stunning and I knew they'd work in my small bedroom. Some good negotiating and handshake later, they were mine - yes! I love them in my bedroom - the whole space feels good - balanced, anchored, stylin. Using your walls and going big with art really does work in small spaces. This style really fills a space and makes it substantial and structured.

By the way, I hung these paintings myself and got them level and even on the first try - whoa - that felt good. And the bedroom is still coming together -I am on the hunt for a coral and white rug that's affordable and comfy and a leaning mirror to go between the two windows. more to come soon...

I hope all of you small space dwellers have considered large scale artwork for your home. It really does feel awesome and that's what it's about.

And check out more of my a small move right here.