While certainly not small, the gorgeous homes featured on this weekend's AIA | Los Angeles Fall Home Tour in Manhattan Beach, CA are sure to be inspiring! I am thrilled to be covering it for Apartment Therapy and will snapping small space ideas along the way just for you guys! Click here for tour and ticket information.

::images via Interior Design::

Reinvent Your Furniture

I love this magazine holder via Back Garage. It's a clever re-use of an old piece of furniture. Small spaces thrive on details and this piece works. Keep your eyes open and view items on the street or at flea markets as opportunities to reinvent furniture.

::image via back garage's flickr::

Enter For A Chance To Win $4,500

Yes, three years ago and before I wrote for Apartment Therapy or started loving. living. smalll. , my old kitchen was a semi-finalist in the Apartment Therapy's 2006 Fall Colors Contest. Reading back my answer is really funny - I was so *serious* but I did have some inspiration for those bright colors.

Click here to enter this year's newly named Apartment Therapy Room for Color 2009 Contest for a chance to win $4500 - wow!
You have until 10.12.09 to get your most colorful rooms in the mix! Good Luck!

Laure Joliet of At Home At Home, Dwell & Apartment Therapy

This week's A SMALL CHAT is with the lovely Laure Joliet, fellow Apartment Therapy writer, Dwell contributor, blogger for her own design blog, At Home At Home and photographer and owner of Laure Joliet Photography. To say Laure has an amazing eye is an understatement. Her design style is vintage meets elegant simplicity and you can tell she really cares about her home and enjoys living in it. Enjoy this little interview with Laure and her small space style. And click here to see Laure's incredible portfolio and to contact her for any photo projects.

You have shared your Venice home on Apartment Therapy and it's full of family heirlooms, vintage style and modern touches. Your space really feels big even though the footprint is small. What small space ideas went into designing a layout that was comfortable, functional and stylish?

I like to block out spaces so that each area is defined. For the studio there were three areas downstairs: dining room/office anchored with the dining table and the credenza, living room anchored with the danish love seat and chair and the kitchen which is separated by the standing kitchen island. It's important to zone your space otherwise you end up pushing furniture against walls and cramming too much in.

I also edited my belongings by going through everything and donating books, clothes and just stuff. I knew I would love having space more than having stuff. This way I could keep everything in the 2 credenzas and the overhead storage and it didn't have to be out and in the way cluttering up visual space.

It's also important to consider your color palette: if you keep a palette going throughout a space then it feels larger because the eye sees the space as a whole. I love having plenty of empty white space on walls with pops of blue, green and orange around.

As a writer for AT and Dwell and your own blog, At Home At Home, you've covered some pretty amazing small homes and design ideas. What are your best tips for small space dwelling? And what mistakes do you see being made?

I'll tackle the mistakes first. Honestly I think the biggest issue is that people have furniture that's the wrong scale. Don't get me wrong, you can have a large sofa or dining table, but it needs to be balanced with space. You need 3 feet for a comfortable walkway or a space between a table and a wall. So have a nice big dining table but then don't cram in the credenza. And the second one is: don't be afraid of color. A lot of times a small space looks larger once you add texture and pattern to it. It gives your eyes something to look at, instead of how small the room is. Paint a wall a bright color, line one with bookshelves, overlap some rugs or cluster artwork on a wall. When you have a focal point or accent it anchors the space and the the small stuff looks organized and not like clutter. So don't be afraid to have stuff in a small space, just make sure it's balanced with some blank space too.

You've been doing interior design and really have created some pretty and functional spaces. What tips have you learned from designing and staging interiors that translates well to designing a home?

I've resisted this for a long time but it really, truly helps to start with a floor plan and then a mood board. Putting the time in upfront to determine what you have room for and what overall direction you want to go in saves so much time later. It's tempting to just jump in and start buying accessories, lamps, pillows and start pushing furniture around (and trust me I still do) but you'll be happier with the result if you have a gameplan to follow and help keep you focused.

I've also noticed that when we do staging the rooms really come together with the accessories. With the big blocks of furniture the rooms might look empty and boring and a little sad. But adding a cluster of vases, some art, plants, mementos, rugs and throw pillows (keeping a palette in mind and also mixing up textures: wood, glass, paint, linen, pattern, etc) actually brings life into the space.

And finally lighting. Having lots of lamps in a space makes it feel warm and inviting. At home I shoot for at least 3 points of light in a room, but when we stage it's more than that. We pair them on credenzas, add them to consoles and have them on either side of every bed. In a studio we just completed, there were 6 lamps. It helped define areas and kept it feeling light and warm.

You have great taste and really have mixed vintage gems into your home decor. What are your best tips for scouting flea markets to discover great vintage finds for small space?

The Rose Bowl can be daunting, but not if you go often. You start to notice what stuff you're drawn to and then later on when you're looking at magazine spreads you'll notice similar items used in different ways. It gets your imagination working and thinking about objects and furniture differently. Never be afraid to combine different eras. A shabby chic chest with a danish modern table with a lucite lamp can work, just make sure you're buying things that you love or that make you smile.

I have a salvation army near me that I check out pretty often. Things are cheap so I feel freer to take risks on things I wouldn't normally consider. I comb through artwork, accessories and furniture and I consider what I can paint, what would look good as a multiple (like a bunch of blue glass jars that might look like clutter if there's just one or two, but 5 of them looks like it's on purpose) and I almost always find a good lamp (I have way too many lamps).

Thanks, Laure!


While this is not my personal small space style, I love this room. The white palette is perfect for the colorful accents throughout the space and provides dimension and design. How great would this LV coffee table book work as well? Love finding books and small items that work!

::images domino and louis vuitton art. fashion. architecture.

A Minimal Desk

when I came across this great Sag Harbor house, I knew there would be some neat small space ideas inside and I was right. Aside from using the walls and introducing textures, the actor owner used his bedroom footprint to include a lengthy desk space under the wall of windows. clever and resourceful, this is a nice example of how to create zones in a small space while keeping a cohesive style.

::images via NY Times::

Whimsical Wallpaper Works

I am loving the whimsical wallpaper by artists Taylor and Wood called Frames. Yep, that's pretty much what it is! Form + function are harmonious in this great accent. I would love this against one wall with a simple credenza or bookshelf balancing the design of the wallpaper.

::via Design Public::

Parallel Nesting Tables

I happily spotted these Parallel nesting tables at West Elm and love their form + function. Space saving in manor, these tables are perfect to move around your small space at a whim. And they look really good with clean-lines and a design element! Finally a non-bulky and non tv-tray style interpretation.

Hang Your Lighting

Love this industrial swing arm lamp from environment.

It's the perfect small space addition to a bedroom.

Adding Scale Through Accents

Scale. It can really change how you feel in your space. As you are thinking about your small space layout, remember that scale plays one of the biggest roles. You can have large or small pieces but they need to feel proportioned in your space. Your furniture will anchor your space and create balance but there's also another way to add scale or extra weight or height to a room - through accents. By placing pieces with height - like this vase full of tall flowers - you have anchored this console table. This is an easy way to change and enhance the scale of your small space. Enjoy more pages out of the SMALL SPACE DWELLER HANDOOK right here.

A New Online Mag Showcasing Accessible + Stylish Design

If you are like me and missing this magazine, then get ready for a brand new online magazine launch in just a few weeks. Incredibly creative and sweet, Michelle Adams of Rubie Green, has teamed up with photographer friend, Patrick Cline, to create Lonny.

Premiering October 1st, Lonny will pick up where domino left off. But this is not a replacement - simply an "ode to" and "an inspired by" mag. Featuring accessible design, mix of hi-low products, budget-friendly decorating ideas and a focus on photography and eco-friendly living, Lonny is about creating new styles and new ideas for the home.

I can't wait to see what this talent duo has come up with!


*loving* this dress
*loving* this decor

I have an event in a few weeks and think I might have to get this dress for it. I love the black and gray contrast - especially for the Fall. I was inspired to roundup a few of my fave home decor items to see how they would look in the same palette. I have this couch in my small space and love it!

Graphic Patterns

I am in Vegas this week, attending the World Market Center's furniture market, and enjoyed walking around the showrooms and seeing the amazing furniture and decor. One showroom, Dovetail, was full of amazing pieces. I honestly could live there! I was drawn to this little area featuring reupholstered club chairs in a black and white graphic print with a linen pink throw pillow. Simple setup? Yes. Works well? Yes. Try using a graphic print in contrasting colors, like black and white, and then add one additional color. This cohesive look will make a big impact in a small space.

Beveled Mirrors

I've been blogging weekly recaps of Design Star for Apartment Therapy and while watching the finale the other night, I was inspired by Dan's use of beveled mirror panels on the wall and in the custom built-in above the mantle. I think when used the right way, this can add a chic vibe to a small space while expanding the space and adding tons of extra light. Depending on the size, most panels cost well under $20 and you can create an impactful and affordable small space accent while using your walls.

::images by hgtv and blount design::

Morgan of The Brick House

I am excited to share a new series on loving. living. small. called a small chat. for this interview series, i am inviting some lovely bloggers, designers and stylemakers to share their thoughts on small space dwelling. The first interview is with Morgan of The Brick House. Morgan's blog follows the renovation and design layout of her home, yes, a brick house. Her style of modern and vintage hi/low decor is inspiring and pretty. read what she has to say about designing and living in a smaller space.

Your blog, The Brick House, chronicles your renovation and your love of vintage finds. As you've been designing your space, how had you've utilized your space while keeping your design style in tact?

I've been trying to go slowly and discover how we use each space on a day to day basis. I'm a collector and I love vintage, so I'll scour our surrounding areas for great deals. Most of the pieces I bring into the house are a bit of a surprise. Thrifting allows me to save money but doesn't allow me to pre-plan how a space will come together. Most things I bring home initially have an intended area or purpose, but somehow end up somewhere else entirely. I'm trying to be extremely flexible when it comes to utilizing space and have developed my design style through tons of failure as well as trial and error.

What are the best accents for small spaces?

Art. Like real ART. I think it makes any space, big or small exciting and unique. I always think that's why those spaces on TV design shows look a little bland and featureless. They usually lack art or try to make fake art to match the room. Fake art tends to look a little themed and hooky. Oh, and plants. I love plants and they are so easy to find, cheap to buy and liven interiors up the way pillows or tchotchkes can't.

Have you ever had to give up a piece of furniture because of your footprint? On the flipside, what piece of furniture do you use the most in your small space?

I give up or sell furniture constantly because of space limitations. I have an extremely hard time passing up a great deal on quality vintage furniture and over time have switched items in and out of the house that fit better in terms of scale, quality, design (or if I just got tired of looking at something). I probably use my white couch in the den the most or the built-in desk. Our whole lives are spent in the den.

You have such a great eye for vintage and thrift finds. What are your best tips for finding decor for smaller spaces?

Hey thanks, I try really hard! I say quality first. Quality doesn't always have to be the most expensive either. Vintage items are typically made better than the pressboard passed off as wood in a lot of current furniture, and you can find them for cheaper than Ikea stuff. Go to high end vintage stores and really look at and touch and feel quality items to get a sense of what they should be. It will help you develop your eye and instinct when your at the thrift stores, garage sales or flea markets. It gets very easy to recognize the weight, finish, and construction of quality vintage that may seem a little worse for ware but can easily be fixed up with a little danish oil rub down, sanding, and TLC. Craigslist, flea markets, thrift stores, and vintage stores are my main sources and I've used them to furnish every space I've ever lived in.

You have great a great color palette in your home. What inspires your color choices and what advice can you give small space dwellers looking to add color in their space?

Color has always been really hard for me, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I think the 30-60-10 rule is one to live by if your color challenged (which I am). I've really been inspired by the interiors I see in blogs or decor magazines and I work at being aware of what I respond to on an initial gut level. I'll focus on what I like or disliked based on that initial "WOW" or "EWW" of a space. Then I'll try and copy what I love. Figuring out your personal taste is much harder than it seems, there is just so much stuff out there to choose from. Thats why I like the limitations of being thrifty. It limits choice and forces you to be make do with what you find.

I've been enjoying a more neutral palette of browns, grays, blacks and whites with hits of yellow and red. I love white walls and if white or a pale neutral is your 60% color you can go a little nuts with more intense colors. I love looking at Scandinavian interiors with all those white walls and floors and then crazed colors and patterns everywhere else. If your ground is neutral then you can change details in and out really easily, like if you get sick of that fuschia rug or lime green chair just switch it out and you don't need to worry about repainting the walls or tearing out the floors. Its great to have a more neutral base that can be changed up with the addition or subtraction of art, lights or accessories. Neutral doesn't mean beige. I outlawed resale beige in my life, it's just to depressing. Develop your personal taste and then trust it. Buy things you love (and not just think you kind of like or might need) and they usually fit together really well.

Thanks, Morgan! Click here to check out The Brick House and see Morgan's space. And looking for some cool vintage finds, then click here to buy some goods from Morgan's etsy shop, Brick House Vintage.

::Enjoy more small chats:
::Jessica Rust of Rust Designs
::Bob & Cortney Novogratz of Sixx Design

Expand Your Room With A Gallery

I often post about using your walls and placing an art gallery to expand your small space. I love this gallery featured in designer Tobi Tobin's Malibu Beach Cottage. While this is a bigger space (love those vaulted ceilings) the same look can work well in any size space.

::images by tobi tobin design::

Inside Out Lamp Shade

I really like this lamp shade featuring artwork inside the shade and leaving the simple white neutral on the outside. Good lighting is key in small spaces and hanging an interesting chandelier or shade is a good solution to using your small space footprint. While this shade is pretty pricey, consider trying this as a more affordable do-it-yourself.

::image via designvagabond::

Summer Fruits and Rustic Design at Gjelina

i've had the pleasure of enjoying the design and dishes at Venice's Gjelina and had to share my latest. Grilled Peach, Prosciutto, Buratta - um - yes. Followed by the Butterscotch Pot de Crème with Salted Caramel & Crème Fraiche - um - yes. Aside from this incredible meal, I always love spending time at this rustic space. The original light bulb-inspired chandelier that hovers over the bar and communal tables, the floor-to-ceiling riddling rack wine storage and my favorite, slated wood wall enclosing the patio. if you are looking for inspiration for this design palette then come visit, eat good food and get tips for building your small dream house.

::all images by me::

A Small Space Storage Challenge

i wanted to share my new ride, an orange beach cruiser, with bell. we are staying down by the beach for a few months and i'll be enjoying this ride every day. to be honest, i need to come up with a good small space storage solution for this one - more to come on that. have a great labor day weekend! and if you see me on my orange bike, say hello :)

domino interior's find a new home at flickr

as you know, i miss me some domino mag. honestly, they profiled and featured amazing *small spaces* and did it well with color, resourcefulness and style. while i am happy that I saved quite a few back issues and can display them in my home, I love the flickr pool that friend cassie started featuring some of domino's best interior shots.

images via the domino magazine files flickr pool