280 SQ. FT. Mini Modern

by Apartment Therapy SOURCE Apartment Therapy

Nestled between Gramercy and Murray Hill, in one of those nebulous neighborhoods of Manhattan, lives Chris Paulsen, a former model with a propensity for modern design.

As I first met him in the doorway of his little apartment to conduct our House Tour that day, I couldn’t help but blurt out my first question, “Where exactly am I?”

“Well...The New York Times once declared this neighborhood The Brown Zone,” Chris laughed. But Paulsen’s studio apartment is quite the opposite of anything neutral or undetermined. In fact, Chris’ home is a perfectly arranged treasure trove of colorful, playful design pieces and personal mementos. From a drool-worthy collection of standout furniture pieces designed by the likes Eames, Philippe Starck, and Ted Boerner (to name a few), to some smaller details like a pair of nail-clippers disguised as an adorable, well-placed little froggy figurine, Chris’s apartment is filled with carefully chosen elements that serve his 280 square foot space well in both form and function.

As a renter, Chris's choices in decorating are a source of great advice for others who face similar challenges in small-space living. Because he can’t paint the walls, Paulsen fills his home with colorful accents and strategically incorporates each furniture piece so that it stands out like a valued work of art. Making the most of a narrow room, Chris utilizes the limited space to its fullest, with floor-to-ceiling shelving that allows his colorful collection of books and keepsakes to stand out, and an IKEA wardrobe system that fits so precisely against the length of his bedroom you would think it was an expensive built-in. Wrap everything up in a floor plan that allows you to walk from one end of the apartment to the other without having to stumble over or tread around a single piece of furniture, and you have a small space that follows what I like to call the Paulsen Platinum Rule: - Everything Practically Perfectly Placed. Or was that Mary Poppins?

Photo credit: Matt Sanders