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The No-Rules Approach
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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Whether granite countertops, a custom kitchen island, or built-in wine storage are new kitchen musts, discover thousands of kitchen designs to help make your dream come true.
Browse inspiring bedroom design, then outfit your own bed furniture, convertible sleeper sofa ordaybed with designer bedding sets and a decorative pillow.



Living In 500 Sq. Feet • Living Area 

Hey guys, I'm back with more behind-the-scenes on our small pad's renovation. On a previous post, I covered the juicy details of our kitchen's transformation so today it's all about the living and dining areas. So here's the scoop. Since the original floor plan of the apartment was very boring simple, we had to get quite creative. After opening up the kitchen we were left with a square canvas to work with. The challenge: create three specific areas in the space, one for living, one for dining and a small home office. The solution: building an L -shaped partition that would not only separate the living from the dining area, but also hold our much needed closets, serve as a bookcase and create a hallway to the open bedroom. 


Besides all the construction, there was also a lot of TLC needed in the place. Since we wanted to give the apartment an urban look we went for crisp white walls and ebony-stained floors, creating a beautiful contrast. The white walls gave us the perfect canvas to display our colorful and fun prints from Cuban artist Consuelo Castañeda. To add more emphasis on the partition to the bedroom, we painted it black to create a bold statement.

We knew right away the perfect spot for the home office was where the old closet by the entrance was. So we demolished it. Taking advantage of the high ceilings, we built a new one all the way up. The bottom portion was designed to hold the built-in desk and file cabinet (also housing the printer and office supplies), and the area above became a closet for extra storage.


In order to make the most of the room, we decided to get rid of the non-working fireplace, giving an extra three feet of useful space. Trust me, it wasn't an easy task to demolish all that brick. To add some fun and architectural interest to the brick wall, and to cover the hole left by the fireplace, we built a wall with a display shelf in front of it. After all the hard work we invested in the process, I have to say it really paid off, plus we had a blast decorating it. For a small space, we made every single inch work for us, giving us a place we want to come to home to. BTW, I was recently invited to “Get Personal” with Irene in her awesome design blog Bloesem. Check it out! And for those of you who haven't already done so, today is the last chance to enter our Valentine's Day Giveaway.

Images © TheDesignerPad 

If you're digging this look and would like to try it at home, here are some key pieces that will help you achieve it. Some are the same as the ones we used in our decor, other are a very close and affordable options.

( 1 ) Totem Pillow Cover  ( 2 ) Sunnyside Pillow  ( 3 ) Plywood Lounge Chair  
( 4 ) Wonderful Vase 5  ( 5 ) Parson's End Table  ( 6 ) Ayo Rug  ( 7 ) Candle Light   
( 8 ) Banana Bowl  ( 9 ) Glo-Ball Floor Lamp

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Reader Comments (24)

Would never think the apartment is only 500 sq feet. With the renovations it looks big and modern. Is great to see the before and after photos in the post and what you did to stretch the space and use every inch in the apartment. Love it!!!
Feb 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarlenni
Every time I see the apartment I miss you guys a bunch! I think it's time to book a trip to NYC and play with Oliver.
Feb 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
The space looks so expansive. I especially like the way you created an entry way to the bedroom with the closets.
Feb 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershalini
I love love LOVE the way you transformed your apartment. I wish I could remodel some of my apartment, or at least apply a little paint, but alas I am only renting.
Feb 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah@grownupnow
Hi Sarah,
thanks so much for your kind comment... I'm glad you like the renovation. I'm sorry you're not able to do any major tweaks in you rental. But if you're looking to spruce it up a little it there are minor things you can do to change the look. If you need any suggestions let me.
Feb 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterEduardo
I'm always so impressed by your talent. The apartment is beautiful.
Feb 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
This space looks amazing. The total transformation is quite AMAZING! I was hoping you could give me some advice. I live in NYC in a teeny tiny apartment - 175 sq. feet. I love the modern look mixed with some traditional - like soft pillows and soft colors, but my space is very cluttered and I don't how to start or how separate the spaces. Can you help? Thanks so much!
Feb 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReese
Hi Reese,
thanks for your kind words.
Sure, why don't you send me pictures and a floor plan of your place to see how I can give you general tips on how to make your space work better for you.
Feb 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterEduardo
it's beautifull but the most i love it is the painting left right ... who do that and where can i find it
sorry for the english i m french
Feb 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarion
Hi Marion,
thank you for your nice comment.
The artist's name is Consuelo Castañeda and her website is
Feb 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterEduardo
Hi. I saw your apartment on YHL and am so glad that you are posting more detail here - it's amazing! I'd love to know who makes the yellow fabrics you used on the pillows on your couch and bedroom. Thanks.
Feb 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
I am so in awe of what you've done with the place. I would love to get more details, like the dimensions of the rooms! I am seriously considering renovating a small space so that would be so helpful! Would you be able to tell me which carpenter you've used as well?? Thanks!!!
Mar 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteryon
Hi Yon,
Thanks for your nice comment. I don't have the dimensions right now, but I can send them to you at a later time. As for the construction work, I did all of it myself. Warm regards,
Mar 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterEduardo
wow, this renovation is stunning!!! i happen to be moving soon. This is very helpful!!
Mar 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYue Edwards
I would love to get more details, like the dimensions of the rooms! I am seriously considering renovating a small space so that would be so helpful!
Wow! I just discovered your blog and I've been reading it voraciously ever since! Your place is truly inspirational - you've done some amazing things with it! Bravo!

Anyway, enough exclamation marks...I have a curiosity question - did all your figurines happen to be black, or did you paint them yourself? They look gorgeous!
May 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZ Campbell
HI Z Campbell,
Thanks for your comment. I'm thrilled you found my blog and that you enjoy reading it. Funny you ask that questions. Actually some figurines were already black but others weren't. So I decided to paint them all the same color black to unify the collection.
Cheers, Eduardo.
May 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterEduardo
I LOVE your place, and the office is just what I would like for my new place. Can you please tell me more about the materials you used, such as the source for the filing cabinet?

Thank you!
Jul 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Hi Lisa,
Thanks for your comment. i custom built the filing cabinet under the desk. I basically used sliding drawer hardware and built a box to hold three metal filing baskets. The actual desk I covered with white plexiglass to give it a sexier finish. I hope this helps.
Jul 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterEduardo
i love love love love your renovation ..... it actually is competing with big palace with acres lot ... doesnt seem like 500 sqf........... wud u plz tell the paint color u used in fireplace wall (grey) and bedroom ??
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteruzma

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