It’s that age old problem around city-living – you move in to a new apartment, look around and realize that you’re going to need to cull half your belongings to make small space living work for you without being eternally surrounded by clutter. We have all been there!
Ben Hanley, Senior Home Stylist at west elm London, was approached by Shini, brainchild of lifestyle blog Park And Cube, to help find a way to make her new apartment work for her. Her objectives? Dedicate one room to her home office and turn the second in to a combined bedroom/living room without the need to throw anything out.
Read on to find out Ben’s advice and how Shini worked with our free Home Stylist service to resolve her dilemma.
What challenges were there?
“The biggest challenge was seamlessly giving one room two purposes – both a living and bedroom space. Shini’s lucky because she lives in old Victorian style building – the ceilings are high and she has two floor-to-ceiling windows, which let lots of light in. Combined, these give the illusion that the room is bigger than it really is,” says Ben.
What was the brief?
“After living in a warehouse duplex studio apartment and having everything out in the open, I really wanted to separate the ‘personal’ and ‘business’ in the new flat – I work from home. We wanted to make the space personal and homey with warm, neutral colors and textures. I wanted to be able to shut the door to the office and go into a comfortable space where I can switch off and spend time with my husband,” says Shini.
“Like with clothes, I tend to gravitate towards a minimalist, slightly masculine style with a hint of delicate, feminine – sometimes eclectic – elements here and there. I don’t think I’ve yet found my true interior style (the woes of renting!), but in my 9 years of living in London, I’ve been able to experience so many different types of flats: from Victorian townhouses to Dalston (East London) warehouses. Flat after flat I refined my collection of ‘things’, and only kept what I loved and used most. I wanted to choose my new furniture for the new flat in the same way – handsome pieces that look timeless yet functional.”
What are the key pieces in the room?
“The glass-topped media unit, small sofa and wool rug. I knew we had to get a TV in the room but being a rented space, we didn’t have the option of fixing it to the wall. The unit offered essential storage and the glass top helped avoid it looking too bulky in the space.
Being the only living space in the apartment, the room needed to offer enough seating to give Shini the option of inviting guests round. We had just enough space to squeeze in a smallish sofa and an additional armless chair.
The wool rug for me is the piece that pulls the room together and adds the warmth that Shini asked for.”
What do you think of the finished space?
“It’s my haven, especially when I need to take a short break from work in the middle of the day. I love that the decor is clean and calm, yet has an energy (in color and design) that is mood-lifting and inspiring. The little decorative elements tell stories and reminds me of holidays, so it’s a very personal space. I love decorating the oval coffee table and the rug it stands on – it’s like walking on a cloud after a long day of work,” says Shini.
Ben’s top 3 tips for creating a multipurpose room:
- 1. Have a cohesive design scheme – don’t overfill with pattern and colors that you might tire of. Pick out a few belongings that are must-haves in the space and use them as starting block for the rest of the room.
- 2. Avoid bulky furniture – you’ll most likely have a lot to fit in to the space so pick out pieces that will help lighten the room not overwhelm it. Light-surfaced furniture like glass or marble are great for this.
- 3. Work the floor – use rugs and flooring to divide the space. That alone works with dual purpose – giving clear definition between the two functionalities whilst adding essential warmth to the room.
Watch how it all came together:
Featured (US site): Souk Rug // Elton Settee // Pillar Table Lamp // Hex Side Table // Ingrid Chair // Industrial Media Console // Marble Oval Coffee Table
Featured (UK site): Souk Rug // Elton Settee // Pillar Table Lamp // Hex Side Table // Ingrid Chair // Marble Oval Coffee Table // Glass Topped Rustic Storage Console
Born in Seoul, raised in Warsaw and now London-based, Shini Park is a digital consultant, graphic designer, photographer and the writer behind lifestyle blog, Park and Cube. Her book, Adorn: 25 DIY Stylish Fashion Projects (by Shini Park and Kit Lee, published by Hardie Grant) was released in April 2014. Connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.