Inside Job: 8 Interior Hacks We Picked Up From Designer Home and Studio Tours

You know what’s great about getting access to somebody else’s place, besides getting to be all voyeuristic? Sometimes you can learn a thing or two, especially if you’re visiting the space of a super-creative type—like, hey, the designers we feature on this here site. Dive into some of our favorite discoveries that can be translated to you own home, whether or not you’re way-handy with drills and glue guns. —erica

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Don’t feel like you have to tuck everything away.
Those paper towels and supplies look weirdly chic hanging over the sink at Blanca Monrós Gómez’s Gowanus studio. (Think we spy a Grundtal rail and accessories from Ikea?)
Get the deets.

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Embrace low-key overhead lights.
Don’t make things too complicated! Check out how sick (and carefree) the bedroom of Kathleen Whitaker’s L.A. house looks with that pendant lamp.
Get the deets.

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Store things on your kitchen shelves besides dishes.
Asia Ragland keeps her camera collection on display right above her bowls—it makes her cooking setup look as cool as it is utilitarian.
Get the deets.

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Let your books be wall art.
Something your Kindle can’t do: Jazz up your walls. Get a load of what Bridie Picot of Thing Industries did with concealed bookshelves. Adorbs, huh?
Get the deets.

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Have some fun with doors.
At the Draught Dry Goods HQ in Portland, this is what you see when you enter. When you leave, you get this message painted on the other side: Make yourself scarce. (Snap.)
Get the deets.

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Understand the magic of a curtain.
Not just for windows! Sara Barner’s spot looks a whole lot airier with one as a room divider than it would had she constructed a wall.
Get the deets.

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Frame things besides pictures.
See those flags in Nikki Chasin’s space? They’re actually tobacco silks from an antique market (that once came with cigarettes).
Get the deets.

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Think of fabric as wallpaper for people who can’t commit.
At her Bushwick, Brooklyn, pad, Hayley Boyd of Marais USA uses a blanket as a backdrop for her dining table—which makes it feel like it has its own little niche.
Get the deets.

Looking for more projects? Let the GREI. guys turn you into a Home Depot diehard.

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Bridie Picot Takes Us Inside Her Upstate Getaway

Oh, yah, you can do a whole lot with a small space.

The first weekend Bridie Picot spent at what she calls her shack in the Catskills, she googled brown bears. “I saw one crossing the road and wasn’t sure how scared I should be,” says the lady behind the cheekily functional home line Thing Industries. She quickly got over the fear factor, and now she spends almost every weekend there. Here, you’ll see why. —alex ronan

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I first found the developer, Catskill Farms, with a plan to build my own place. But they had already built the shack. No one wanted to buy it because it was too small. It’s about 500 square feet and has only one bedroom.”  

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“I wanted the furniture to be simple and easy to move around—good for having lots of people stay over. I have a sofa from the Danish line Busk & Hertzog that folds out to a queen bed. I had nine people staying over for Thanksgiving. It’s tight, but it’s fun. This little fireplace heats the shack in about 20 minutes flat! You can also cook things on top of it, though I don’t fancy that because of the potential for mess—so usually I use the top for heating water with herbs. In the winter, it works as an old-school humidifier.”

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“I have the storage worked out pretty well, and I hate clutter. A few of the products in our second collection (launching in May) are designed for just that purpose: having people visit and giving them their own space for ‘putting,’ as my niece calls it.”

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“I’m from New Zealand, so naturally I’m fond of sheep. Coincidentally, the sheep is also my Chinese zodiac animal thing.”  

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“When I walk in, I feel totally relaxed, bordering on lazy. The house is really close to the Delaware River, which is my all-time favorite place to swim. I love the seasons up there, the neighbors, the potential to have chickens and bees. Inside the house, my favorite thing is the picture window in the bedroom.”

Bridie made us a spotted rug that’s totally fierce.

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6 Super-Important Possessions that Make Allison Heutsche Feel At-Home

Including one very adorable doggy.

Allison Heutsche of the L.A. jewelry line Artasan loves her Larchmont Village apartment-slash-studio so much that she gave it a nickname: The Tree House—a shout-out to its foliage-filled views. But what makes her abode most special are the meaningful things it holds. Get the stories behind the half dozen things she values the most. —serena qiu

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“Right before I moved to L.A., my mom found me this antique watchmaker’s bench that she thought could be a perfect workspace for making my jewelry. It was one of two things I brought with me in my move. It’s one solid piece of furniture except for the drawers on the backside. I made some modifications, and now it’s where I do almost everything for jewelry-making. When I’m sitting on my bench behind the glass, it’s like I’m looking out a window into my world at all the things that inspire me.”

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“In 1996, I’d gone through a bad breakup, and my parents gave me the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Legend was that if you made 1,000 paper cranes, you’d be granted a wish. I wanted peace of mind, so I made a goal to fold 1,000 cranes that year. I would make five or ten every morning as a meditation. My kitchen was filling with bags of birds, so I started stringing them and hanging them across windows, walls, doorways—I went way over my goal! When I moved out, I kept one strand to remind me what that year meant to me.”

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“Each of my sisters had an antique trunk, and I was the only one who didn’t. Right before my move to L.A., my grandma wanted me to have hers—to have a part of her with me. It and the watchmaker’s bench were the only two things I left with. She was a pretty spectacular woman.”

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“I remember the dressing screen in my parents’ bedroom as a kid, and how my sisters and I would play dress up. Eight years ago, my mom shipped it to me as a surprise because she knew how much I loved it.

The sheepskin I use for meditation and Kundalini yoga. Both are so instrumental to my work. The idea of the sheepskin is to help with the electromagnetic currents and to ground you.

Harold & Maude is one of my favorite movies, and I needed a Maude in my life. Maude is all about living to the fullest! When I went to pick up a dog seven years ago, I saw him. I couldn’t name him Maude, so I named him Harold. He’s saved me so many times. He’s a total people-person—and I’m not usually—so he makes me get out of my bubble.”

Now take a look at the special piece Allison made for us!

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Step Inside Alyson Fox’s Glorious Home-Slash-Studio

Ready to have your mind blown? Oh, good.

“Our interior space is very minimal—a lot of breathing room for thinking,” says Alyson Fox, the jewelry designer and maker extraordinaire who moved into a home she and her husband built in Spicewood, Texas—35-ish miles from downtown Austin!—in November 2012. “It has a lot of nice, quiet details and compliments the landscape we see from every spot in the house. I love opening the door and running around outside with our puppy…and I love showering outside.” Get lost in the unreal space below. —alisha prakash

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“I spend a good portion of my day out in the main living area. I sketch on the kitchen table a lot and have a weekly ritual of rearranging the ceramic pieces on the shelves. That helps me center my thoughts for some reason. I also like visiting the fridge a lot—snacking is apart of my creative process big-time.”

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“We wanted pops of neon in our house alongside all the neutral and wood. These dueling pink bowls live on our counter in the kitchen. The lucite pink bowl was the first piece we bought from a online store in Australia. Its inspiration is a candy wrapper. I wish I could remember the designer’s name. It glows during the day from all the light. The other one is a Kaleido tray designed by Clara von Zweigbergk that I got at Nannie Inez. They come in really great colors.”

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“I have been making a set of recycled leather flags for Hawkins New York and have some other flag-inspired pieces coming out with my own line as well. I have always loved flags.”

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“I keep most packing materials that I get. I use cardboard for making lots of different things. I love the way boxes look when they are taken apart—the shapes are very inspiring to me. On the ground are swatches of rug prototypes that are in the works (a.k.a. comfy dog beds to our pup Stache).”

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“We bought the land about two and a half years ago. My husband and I morphed a couple of houses that we liked for the initial design, and then it was a collective project with his family to get the design details fine-tuned and built. His dad did the plans and plumbing, and his brother did the engineering, contracting, and final woodworking. The view is what sold us on moving to Hill Country.”

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“These are some of the pieces that I did with & Other Stories. The canvas pieces are prototypes for tapestries that I made from dyed drop cloths that we used when building our house.”

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“This is my studio. It’s really exciting for me to have a studio in our home. It stays pretty clean, but looks different each month depending on what I am working on. I don’t work well with a lot of clutter, so I clean it up every week. I don’t get very attached to things, so they get recycled or given to friends when I have gotten what I need to out of them.”

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“These three things are taped next to my computer on my desk because they make me happy—some mini flowers my husband picked outside for me before he left for work one day, a portrait from my Shade of Red series, and a photo my dad took of me and my sis cruising on our bikes in San Antonio when we were itty-bitties.”

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“This is a shot of the house from down below.”

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“Stache—my bestie, my studio mate. If he’s not on one of the rug samples, he’s under my desk at my feet. He is so much of my day. At least 15 times a day I stop and smother him.”

Alyson’s new edition on Sunday is just as rad as her home—see it first in our newsletter.

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Watch Morgan Carper Fix Up Her Fort Greene Casa

Extreme Makeover: Designer Home Edition

When Morgan Carper—the force behind the textile-fueled apparel line of the same name—and her hubby, Chris Bradford, got their hands on a 125-year-old Fort Greene brownstone in February 2013, they were pumped to dive in and make it their own. “There’s still work to be done, but this house will constantly be a work in progress,” she says of her (very major) renovation. “I love the idea of growing and evolving into our home.” See what she’s done with the place so far. —alisha prakash

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Before!

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After!

The Living Room
“This is the parlor-floor living room—beautiful bones, but so dark. Because the house is so extremely narrow, we wanted to lighten up the space as much as possible. Bringing down a few walls, painting everything bright white, and laying down white oak floors was our solution. The old floors were actually quite beautiful, but they weren’t original to the house—and the red oak made the space dark. New flooring transformed the space, while adding a personal element to make it our own. I have always loved the classic look of herringbone flooring—the lines elongate the room, and the light finish brightens it.”

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Before!

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After!

The Study
“We removed a wall with double doors, opening up the space. The restoration of the moldings was painstakingly time-consuming but incredibly rewarding to preserve such detail and character. Chipping away at all the years of paint was like going back in time. I loved thinking about the families that lived in this house and what was happening during that time, color by color.”

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Before!

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After!

The Kitchen
“We wanted to make the space as light as possible, so we gutted it and replaced the dark cherry cabinets with black countertops with white cabinets and Carrera marble. We splurged on the countertops while maintaining low costs with the Ikea white lacquer cabinets—it’s all about balance. Getting to see the skeleton of the house was amazing. The beams and foundation are so stout and solid—they just don’t make them like they used to!”

Talk about amazing, Morgan’s latest cape will seriously step up your outerwear game.

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Step Inside Asia Ragland’s Baller Venice Beach Bungalow

The perfect excuse to buy a white couch.

Asia Ragland, the designer behind tough-girl jewelry line Feliks + Adrik, takes WFH to the next level. At her Venice Beach pad—just a stone’s throw from the beach—the washer-and-dryer nook doubles as shipping facility, and a dining table serves as a sketching-slash-assembly station by day. “What I treasure the most is being able to ride my bike to the end of Rose Avenue and jump in the ocean at the end of a workday…or during lunch,” she says. Yup, we’re jealous—and we haven’t even toured the space yet. —alisha prakash

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“This multi-functional table is where I sketch, assemble, and dine. I am a fan of texture and comfort, hence the many throws and rugs I decorate my furniture with. These two sheepskin rugs are from Ikea. I threw them onto this wooden chair to add an element of softness and create some cushy for my tushy.”

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“My jewelry collection has grown over the years. I generally gravitate towards unusual statement pieces, which is evident in my own designs.”

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“I love waking up in this room even though it doesn’t give me a chance to ever sleep in. The guitar was a birthday gift from my musical genius of a boyfriend. He taught me ‘Bird on the Wire’ by Leonard Cohen, but that’s the extent of my guitar playing. It gets more action when musically inclined friends visit. And the ornate jacket hanging on the wall was a gift from my father when he was in India.”

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“When I was on the hunt for a new home/work space in Venice, it was imperative that it be place I could spend all day and night in. Natural light and the ocean breeze flood my windows, living-room skylight, and open doors.”

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“This is our shared courtyard. There are eight bungalows on the property that were built in the early 1900s. We have had barbecues, crawfish boils, and dinners and have celebrated many birthdays parties here.”

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“The moment I signed the lease in Venice Beach, I knew I had to buy a white couch. Granted, it is covered with throws—but it still feels beach-y.”

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“This is the kitchen, where I display my small, yet beloved collection of cameras. The Nikon F50 is a 35mm film SLR camera that I lugged around Europe for four months in 2002. It was my first real camera. In the middle is a vintage DeJur 8mm movie camera I bought years ago at an antique shop in Big Sur. And the last one is a functional vintage Polaroid Land Camera that I bought in Mexico.”

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“I purchased this handmade wall tapestry, the vintage leather shoes, and the ornate umbrella on a recent trip to India with my mother. We returned with new luggage filled with all sorts of Indian treasures.”

Get your hands on Asia’s rad new edition before it’s too late!

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Take a Tour of Gia Bahm’s Dope, Three-Story L.A. Home

Peter Jackson might be jealous.

imageGia in her casa.

How would Gia Bahm, the Los Angeles-based badass behind the jewelry line Unearthen, describe her pad in Mount Washington? “It’s got a bit of a hobbit hole vibe, but you can feel all the love and time the owner has put into the place,” she says. “It’s set up in a non-traditional way—living room on the first floor, kitchen and bathroom on the second floor, bedroom on the top floor.” (Yah, that’s right, three floors.) Check it out. —alisha prakash

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“A view from the top of the stairs of my bedroom, looking into the kitchen. I’d like to imagine that it looks like I live in a treehouse!”

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“I totally lucked out on this rug from the Rosebowl Flea Market. The flea market is a super fun and very classic monthly Los Angeles event. If you visit L.A. the second Sunday of the month, it’s cool to check out. Prepare to be overwhelmed. And the couch is from a friend of mine—it was her grandmother’s.”

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“This is the view from my kitchen down to the living room. The kitchen is basically a loft. There’s the piano below—I love when the piano gets played. I’m trying to learn, but so far I can still only nail part of a Wings song.”

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“So many stained glass components! Super old. Total inspiration.”

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“The protector!”

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“My gnome-y kitchen. The house was built in the twenties by a Hollywood director, so the story goes.”

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“These are the doors to my bathroom! I love the handles and the rad/weird/special carved detail around them. I am planning to use the handles as inspiration for an upcoming design. See if you can guess it when it comes out…”

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“This desk was in the house I grew up in, so it’s super comforting to me. It’s a place where some of my most special objects and memories live.”

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“Real golden-hour light in the living room.”

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“The front door. The house is light pink!”

Trust us when we say Gia’s new edition is just as dope as her home!

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Make Yourself Right at Home in Caroline Z. Hurley’s West Village Apartment

How’s this for insider access?

Perk of having an architect sis? In addition to the ultimate Jenga teammate, you have someone down to do a home makeover—or at least that’s how it went for artist/designer Caroline Z. Hurley and her compact West Village pad. “The apartment has been in our family since 1990 when my oldest sister went to NYU. Both of my sisters have lived in this place at one time, and we had all been talking about renovating it since the beginning,” says Caroline, who turned to her sibling Angela to make it all happen. See what they did with the place. —alisha prakash

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“This is the living-room area. My textiles are on the couch, and those are two collages I made a couple of years ago. The rugs on the walls are prayer rugs from India. The cover that’s over the L-shaped couch is also from India. I wanted it to be cozy and colorful and fun.”

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“I’ve always desired a super-functional kitchen where I can bake and have dinner parties. There’s a better oven and workspace now. On the left is where I keep all my inspiration and things that are coming up during the week. Before the renovation, it was hard to function in such a segmented space, and now it’s just one large open space. Also, those coffee beans are my go-to coffee—Café Bustelo.”

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“This is my bathroom. When the door’s open, it becomes a changing room, and when it’s closed, it’s a bathroom. Every time I have a party, I feel like people love to hang out in the bathroom. It’s a cozy little spot. Those baskets on the top are from Bali. The basket on the left is from one of my favorite stores that I actually used to work at in L.A. called Plastica. On the left are some of my pasta necklaces.”

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“These are two of my favorite chairs. My boyfriend and I found them at Elephant’s Trunk, a flea market in Connecticut. We found these amazing pieces for around $5 a chair. They’re outdoor chairs, but I use them indoors. I spent so much time at ABC Carpet trying to find the perfect rug, which is on the ground here. It has a really interesting pattern—a flower in one spot and a half circle in another.”

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“This textile is from a street vendor from my trip to Bali. This plant is inside one of the ceramic vases my boyfriend made. I signed him up for this class at Greenwich House Pottery, and he came back with all these really beautiful pieces. They were his first try at the wheel, and he really nailed it. That clock, I found in India—I had to have it. It’s a piece from part of a clock—just the numbers. I love the font of those numbers.”

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“That’s one of my paintings. It’s an abstracted beach scene. It came in a flurry—I painted it in an hour or so. I had all these ideas stored up; I had been sketching and it popped out all at once. The chair I found from this woman who used to be on Houston Street. Her name is Christine—she had these amazing mid-century pieces. The thing the TV is sitting on is an old-school desk—that was also from Elephant’s Trunk and was $10.”

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“We designed the apartment with the bed lofted so there would be more living space. It’s this cozy nook. I’ll read up there, or when I’m not feeling well, I’ll bring my computer and watch a movie. It’s nice to have zones—this is my sleeping area, this is my TV area, this is my office area.”

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“The books feature some of my favorite artists like Dana SchutzCy Twombly, and Richard TuttleJohn Robshaw is a friend of mine who brought me and another friend to India. We learned the textiles of India through his eye, which was a really great experience. The last book is called Terryworld—it’s photographs by Terry Richardson. It’s basically like porn—he’s an amazing photographer, really cutting-edge.”

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“These are shells that my boyfriend and I picked up from Ho Hum Beach off the coast of Bellport. I love the ocean, so it’s a nice reminder that it isn’t too far away. The two compasses are ones I found in strange flea market in India. My dad gave me a compass necklace—I think that might have started my desire to collect compasses. The ladybug is for good luck and from my sister who just had a sweet baby girl named Rose. Rose really loves the color red.”

You’ve seen her amazing apartment, now see what Caroline has created to decorate yours!

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Samantha Pleet Teaches Us How to Decorate Like a Pro

A how-to guide for small-space dwellers—or anyone, really!

By looking at the pictures, you’d never guess that the adorable Greenpoint apartment that Samantha Pleet shares with her husband  is only 650 square feet. The super-savvy clothing designer’s secret? These easy-peasy tricks that anyone can do. Who needs room to spare? —monica derevjanik

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Hang your art high.
“If you have limited wall space to display your art, think vertical and hang your pieces over door frames. It will help make your ceilings look like they’re higher than they actually are.”

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Get creative with your walls.
“Our bedroom has a forest theme, which started with our mural painted by Leon Ben.”

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Spruce up your bed.
“What’s the point of a boring bed? We made our own out of birch trees.”

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Play around with your bookshelves.
“We made our bookshelves from salvaged wood. We love that it creates the illusion of more space if you stack them all the way up to the ceiling like in an old library.”

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Separate your space.
“Our dining room and living room share the same room, so we used furniture to divide the space while maintaining the openness. Our couches face our projector screen, which creates a little theater.”

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Add some green.
“We have a lot of windows, which works great for our plants. Our little green friends give our apartment its tree-house vibe.”

Get the awesome tank Samantha made for Of a Kind—as cool and airy as the space she lives in.

Photos courtesy of Agnes Thor.

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Explore Annabel Inganni’s Los Angeles Hideaway

It’s tucked into a hillside! No joke!

When East Coast girl Annabel Inganni headed to Los Angeles 15 years ago, she very quickly, as she puts it, “released some of my inner bohemian.” For her, that means making the outdoors as a huge part of her living sitch and getting down with sunny colors (also evident in her killer home goods line Wolfum!). See how she keeps things chill and airy at her Monterey Hills pad. —carly pifer

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“Our house is small, but we have expanded by designing our deck to be our outdoor living space. This is our only dining table, so we often enjoy our meals outdoors, lighting a fire in the winter. Garden boxes, where I grow different veggies and flowers year-round, edge the deck to keep my daughter safe.”

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“Since our house is below the street, nestled in the hillside, most people miss our stairway down. I love how it twists through the yard—its design and materials echo all the natural elements. It feels so good in Los Angeles to be surrounded by so much green.”

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“Gardening is a passion of mine, and I have several boxes throughout the deck and yard. Two are dedicated to herbs, while several others have fruits and veggies in rotation—mostly lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, and now strawberries for the summer!”

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“I found this orange velvet fabric in a thrift store and had our vintage Knoll by Eero Saarinen chair reupholstered. Since I am married to a furniture designer, most of our house is built-in, so I love adding these bright, unique pieces where I can.”

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“Immediately when you enter the house, you are greeted by this vintage Marimekko fabric that I stretched to hang over our couch. I love the simplicity of the Lokki print, which, again, reflects the organic nature of our home.”

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“Our bedroom has a wall full of art collected throughout the years. The portrait is of my grandmother, Barbara Bird, whom my daughter Birdie is named after. Others are from travels to Paris and Rimini, Italy, as well as finds from local thrift shops. There is also a vintage Audubon print, which I adore.”

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“Our vintage Verner Panton Flowerpot pendant lamp is one of my favorites. Not only is it orange—my favorite color—but the shape is also sleek and sweet at the same time. It gives off a very romantic, soft light.”

Score Annabel’s tray and coaster set now—it’ll look as good in your home as in hers.

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