Living Large in a Small Space
By Stacee Harger
Better Homes & Gardens Quick & Easy Decorating
, 1996

Do you feel like your possessions are squeezing you out of your home? Then attend this small-space design seminar led by architect Tedd Foley, who lives quite stylishly in a 463-square-foot condominium.

By paying attention to a few basic design elements, you can find a place for all the things you love and still have room to live among them comfortably.

No one knows that better than San Diego architect Tedd Foley. After moving from a detached home into a one-room condominium, he had three goals in mind: to make the space functional, to keep it affordable, and to make it fun.

Tedd got started on the fun part right away by painting most of the walls black. Normally, dark colors tend to make a room seem smaller, but Tedd neutralized that effect by mirroring one entire wall of the condominium, by using minimal window treatments, and by opting for light-color carpet and storage pieces. At night, halogen bulbs take over, producing a warm white light that is more akin to natural light than incandescents.

Tedd took advantage of varied levels within the apartment to define the living, working, and sleeping spaces, while still keeping an open feeling. He used inexpensive, assemble-it-yourself storage pieces to create partial walls, and designed each area around his existing furniture—all simple, small-scale pieces.

Two steps up from the living room—defined by a dramatic checkerboard area rug and contemporary seating pieces—is Tedd’s home office. Here, the architect created a desk by placing a gray laminate work surface atop modular storage pieces. When a dinner party is on the agenda, Tedd simply clears the desk of its office accessories and transforms it into a serving buffet.

Adjacent to the office is the sleeping area. To provide some privacy, Tedd strategically assembled a tall display wall at the foot of the bed and mounted vertical blinds to the ceiling to close off the space. Vertical blinds also obscure the view into the kitchen.

The apartment’s 16-foot-long balcony takes full advantage of San Diego’s idyllic climate and functions as an extension of the living room. Here again, no space is wasted. A washer and dryer hide behind the doors at one end. At the other is a whimsical storage cabinet Tedd designed. In between, a table and chairs take pressure off the kitchen’s slim snack counter.

“The deck is a good place to come to read, have brunch, or entertain thirteen of your closest friends when you only have four hundred sixty-three square feet,” says Tedd.

(page 100)
Architect Tedd Foley proves that you can live comfortably and happily in a small space—if you plan carefully and use your imagination.

To give a bold checkerboard living room rug even more impact, Tedd arranged it at an angle to the wall, then aligned his furniture—including a Corbusier love seat and a pair of Wassily chairs—around it.

Meticulous space planning was critical for this 463-square-foot floor plan.

(page 102)
Tedd turned some ordinary plastic and rubber materials into a bright yellow and blue zigzag sculpture over the kitchen pass-through.

Multipurpose furnishings are a must in small spaces. Here, a laminated work surface resting on three sleek storage pieces serves as a desk, a nightstand, and even a serving buffet.

Two steps up from the living/dining area is Tedd’s home office, defined by the platform itself as well as some strategically arranged furnishings.

(page 104)
Stacked in a floor-to-ceiling configuration, storage modules provide privacy for the sleeping area as well as display and storage space.

The 5½X16-foot balcony also makes the most of limited space. A colorful armoire that Tedd designed repeats the apartment’s use of a checkerboard motif and stores a load of household items.


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