Entertaining in small spaces can be a major headache (for the host and everyone involved). Especially when the floor plan doesn’t allow you to maximize the space, the kitchen doesn’t open to the living and the outdoor space is awkward. For this project, I turned the 1 bedroom into a studio by opening up the bedroom to the main area for more functionality. Wait, you turned a 1 bedroom into a studio? Who does that?
I did somewhat the same thing to my current home, I stole from my second bedroom (it’s now technically not a “full size” bedroom, though I’m not sure was it one before, JK). It enables me to install a wall of built-in closet in my master. The original idea of using the second bedroom as a walk-in-wardrobe just doesn’t work when you think about how it functions. Do I really want to walk to another room naked to get a piece of clothing? No I don’t, plus it will be even more awkward once we have a baby and the second bedroom is now a nursery. Why would I walk naked into my baby’s room?! Okay time to stop thinking about this. The point is, if the room or your home isn’t functioning for your lifestyle, it means it doesn’t work, period.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Before photos.
Let’s take a look at the before; 1 bedroom condo unit with builder basic features. This is not terrible, especially for a condo in a country where land is scarce, but it needs more to convey a lifestyle that is highly desirable. We’re keeping the two tone kitchen; the white uppers and the floating wood cabinets. It can be a lot harder to work around a orangey wood tone kitchen but luckily this one is still okay (similar tone to the kitchen pinned on the mood board, see below). I personally think that the floating cabinets is a nice touch, it gives an illusion of more space visually (which is what I love to do in my designs). We’re also keeping the unobtrusive built-in closet.
Remove the swing door to the bedroom and hack away the TV wall; use sliding glass door instead to give the option to function as one big space. If I have to choose between a small 1 bedroom versus a multi-functional studio, it’s definitely the latter. The glass door can be closed during bedtime. For the glass door, I prefer only the top and bottom portion to be glass (continue reading to get a better idea of the design). New bathroom sink and wall tiles because this is the only bathroom, right now it’s generic bathroom design, we need to give it some style. The new floating vanity top spans the entire length between the shower and toilet for both function and style.
Let’s look at the inspiration; at 517 sq.ft. (fun fact: my current home is only 700 sq.ft.!), Minimalist is the way to go. However, often times Minimalist spaces look cold and seems terribly unfinished. If you’ve ever came across a “Minimalist designed space” that makes you think “man, these people must have just moved in” (with furniture casually scattered around).
The possibility of making this into a high end rental unit came up, the owner want to rent this to couples, small family for short term stay but doesn’t want to exclude renting to locals for special occasions (such as small group gathering for a few days or single day birthday celebration; especially popular among young people in Singapore where our own homes are not much bigger or well-equipped anyway). I want the studio to feel airy and open, I know going Warm Minimalist appeals to more people (even folks who aren’t Minimalists). I’ve seen rental spaces that looks like a boutique hotel yet feels like home (rare but they are there). Also, these drop dead gorgeous herringbone floors kept appearing while I was pinning for Warm Minimalist (the original glossy floor tiles need to go). So I set out to accomplish this –
Stay tuned for post on creating the kind of (home) first impression that you AND your guests would love. Having a semi closed off entry (with a bit of privacy) is special to small apartments (especially a studio where you usually sees everything all at once). This entryway divider creates a separation from the front door (you only get a better view of the space as you walk in). We can now have our handy custom shoes drawers plus a tabletop to put keys, etc. The niche on the left can be used for taller boots, shopping bags so that they are not just sitting on the floor. The original floor plan doesn’t have an entryway like this but I want to create this impression; you enter your room into an entryway where you can take off your shoes/coat, drop your bag before walking in to be greeted by inviting seating and outdoor view.
Now, your focus isn’t about seeing the kitchen and dining right away, I’d recommend switching the kitchen faucet to brass. We’re sprinkling brass through out the space for a warm look (note: chrome and stainless steel are cool colors, brass and copper are warm). Too much cool colors is one of the reasons why some people think that Minimalist homes are cold and uninviting.
Apply cement screed on the original wall tiles in the kitchen to create the “raw concrete” look, adding rustic elements also warms up a space making it look lived-in (like a real home) instead of “showroom/hotel”. Be careful with adding too much rustic into a place that isn’t supposed to be rustic and randomly using rustic furniture when rest of the home is more Contemporary styled. The brass faucet and painting ties to the overall old world feel of this kitchen making the rustic feature appear more natural. If you have the extra budget, you can even go for a marble countertop since this is a small single-wall kitchen.
A custom floor to ceiling cabinet now hides the washer-dryer. Even if it’s a studio, I still think it’s not very pleasant to stare at your washer-dryer while dining (I sure know, because I used to sleep close to one in our studio rental). If possible, always try to hide these things behind closed storage (unless you have a dedicated laundry room). The new found storage space on top of the washer-dryer can now be utilized so it doesn’t make you look like you store washing powder inside your kitchen cabinet (one of my pet peeves). The new closed storage in the same finish as those closet doors that we retained to make it look like the design is intentional all along.
I have a problem with building that shoes storage right next to the fridge (see above, the almost non existent space plus the light switch would be there in reality). Now from the dining area, your shoes drawers are completely out of sight. From the 3D design above, the bench is purposely designed to be longer than the table. I would have recommend more seating options if this isn’t a studio. Though I do think it’s not a problem to seat 4 in this one. Also I would have gone for custom made in similar tone as the kitchen cabinets (just like how hotels custom made their furniture to better fit the space plus it also exudes exclusivity). If you like the dining set here, I’ve listed an off the shelf version below.
I created a casual living area that is fresh and airy (note the sofa legs). Furniture on thin or with high legs makes for less visual heaviness. That MUJI steel side table is gorgeous but is no longer available outside of Japan Muji.net (they need to bring it back for overseas fans!). I have always wanted to do a casual hanging lamp on the wall like this (note, this space also has a ceiling lamp that I chose and ceiling lights, scroll down for links to Get The Look).
Talking about the design of the living area brings us to the outdoor balcony because they were designed with each other in mind. I wanted to create an indoor-outdoor experience when you entertains. When you have a few friends over and they can spread out from the outdoor to indoor and to the dining and getting drinks at the kitchen area (it really is one open space). I want the sectional to “fill up the entire balcony” to create a cozy atmosphere while your friends/family are there, maximize the amount of seating we can have. There are a few options for placing your drinks. The console table also serves as a spot to display art, candles, plants. I would add a rug if not for this studio being in a country that often gets heavy rain (it’s even happening right now; urgh the rainy seasons).
By the way, I often see rattan type outdoor furniture in Singapore, but I find this sectional on legs from CB2 more like “living room furniture” which is why I prefer to use something like this. It can be more costly than the generic rattan furniture but I find this very inviting that if I have a balcony/patio I might just replicate this look.
The space appears bigger when you open the sliding door to the bedroom which I kept it simple. An intentional small sized art on the wall (stay tuned for how to hang arts in your home). I’m sure you’ve heard about how terrible it is to hang arts that are too small but there are ways to hang “small art pieces”, I will talk more about this in future post.
See another bedroom reveal – A Happy Modern Bohemian Bedroom Reveal
I’ve always wanted to include a desk of some sort in a small space. I have my own desk in my 700 sq. ft home so why can’t others have it. I also purposely chose TV console table, desk (this one here is custom made or you can DIY if you want), chair that allow light to pass through the glass. When you spend money to do a feature like this (glass door/glass partition), don’t draw your curtains close or get those privacy films that make your rooms gloomy and dark. You want to let these light flow freely. I have a glass door installed for my second bedroom to allow lights from those windows to flow into my living area, I don’t need to switch on lights during the day. If you want bright, airy, fresh look for your home, simply don’t obstruct the light and invest in more lighting to avoid dark corners because you don’t have to switch on all of them everyday (alternate according to the function of the room).
This white square tiles with black grout is so Scandinavian but Scandinavian is also a Minimalist style, meaning it values simple and timeless designs. For bathrooms, I would always try to go for classic and timeless because it’s gonna be expensive to redo (unlike rooms where you paint them a different color and instantly feels different). I do not know too many people who would say no to a long vanity top (more space for stuff, yay!). I would add closed storage if this isn’t designed as a short term rental. I don’t put my makeup in my bathroom, but I think it’s safe to say you still need space for that extra toilet papers and toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving blade and I use diffuser in my home and love it even though it’s extra expenses (just like the flowers I put in my home). But I cannot tell you how much of a difference it makes for simple things like these (smell is an important and powerful sense too!), I feel like I’m finally dwelling in style. ;)
1. Telegraph 23″x11″ Pillow // 2. Atelier Areti Hook Lamp // 3. Cheshire Pendant Light // 4. Minimalist PrintMinimalist Print // 5. Diamond Pleated Grey Cushion // 6. Black White Striped Pillow (one on mood board is no longer avail.) // 7. Pastel Pink And Grey Pillow // 8. Glass Terrarium // 9. Steel Side Table (Muji Japan only) // 10. Peter Hvidt & O. M. Nielsen, France & Son, 1960s Danish Modern (on the mood board), Retro Tillary Sofa (similar) // 11. Knitted Graphite Pouf // 12. Sheepskin // 13. Max Lamb Last Stool (Brass) // 14. Mega Bulb SR2 Pendant Lamp // 15. Hay Tray Table (White) // 16. Delta Trinsic Kitchen Faucet // 17. Wire Bird Figurine // 18. Sven Pull Matte Black Threshold // 19. Port Au Prince Print // 20. Kyra Console Table // 21. Hayden Dining Bench // 22. Hayden Dining Table | 23. J46 Chair // 24. Cylinder Sconce Outdoor (White) // 25. Canvas Art Print | 26. Domo Sideboard (White) // 27. Black And White Striped Cushion // 28. Elba Corner Chair // 29. Black And Off White Cushion // 30. Elba Armless Chair // 31. Avenue Black C Table // 32. Single Italian Brass Pendant // 33. Bright White Ice Ceramic Wall Tile // 34. Bartender’s Choice Serving Tray // 35. Wicker Accent Table (Honey) | 36. Artek A330S Golden Bell Pendant Lamp // 37. “Man In Suit” DIY Art | 38. Brass Flush Mount Lamp // 39. Tassels Felt Pillow // 40. Round Nesting Side Tables Set (Marble/Antique Brass) // 41. Bear Wood Stationery Holder // 42. Brass Task Lamp Threshold // 43. Rep Stool Square (Brown) // 44. Normann Copenhagen Flip Mirror (White)
Need your design questions answered? All you need to do is click here and I will attend to them personally. Oh, and Happy Chinese New Year! :)
All words by me, images from me, Pinterest and credited links. This is a non-sponsored post. All items are subject to availability by respective seller(s).
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