I love when Apartment Therapy’s annual Small Cool contest rolls around. The contest, which runs through May 9, is a gold mine for great solutions that make tiny spaces work. “From teeny tiny studio apartments to compact cottages, we love discovering the homes that really show off just how cool small homes can be,” Apartment Therapy states. I do, too.
I’ve been checking the site daily for new entries. Readers can submit houses that are under 1,000 square feet until April 20 and vote for their favorites through May 1. The Grand Prize winner will be selected on May 9. From what I see on the site now, that’s not going to be an easy decision.
These are my three favorites so far. They range in size from 360 square feet to 420 square feet, and I could live very happily in any one of them.
The owners of this 397-square-foot New York loft love the large windows, dark wood floors, a brick wall, a fireplace and high ceilings. “We also love that having this small space has forced us to continually streamline our possessions and come up with ways to organize,” the homeowners state. They designed and built the bookcase, which also holds wine, spirits and a textile collection. An industrial shelf unit in the living room closet (behind the wingback chair) doubles as both storage and an entertainment center. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy
Ariel’s 420-square-foot Los Angeles studio apartment makes me wish I hadn’t purged all my books. I love her solution for displaying books without making the small space feel cramped or cluttered. These bookshelves use spring-loaded Ikea shelf standards (which Ariel had powdercoated off-white to feel less industrial) in a system of wrap-around shelving painted chartreuse. “At night, it's like a glowing jewel box,” Ariel says. The back wall is painted “chocolate pudding' brown, which makes it recede. Mirrors on the door panels add a sense of space. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy
The tall ceilings and big windows in Laura’s 360-square-foot Washington, D.C., apartment make it feel cozy instead of claustrophobic. “Even in a small footprint, having the ability to go vertical made a big difference in maintaining an open feel,” Laura says. Because the apartment has only one very small closet, Laura built a loft bed that also functions as a storage locker. The shelves on one end are on wheels to slide out and provide access to the storage space underneath. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy