MICHELLE JAMES: Being in a small space really sets you up
to weed out the things that are just there to fill space.
I tell people how small it is.
I think when they first come in, they think, wow, it really
is that small.
I'm Michelle James, and I'm a product photographer.
And this is my 311-square-foot apartment in the West Village
in New York City.
So I moved from California.
I had 1,500 square feet there and just had no time to keep
up with it, because I worked so much.
I didn't want to spend every single
weekend cleaning my condo.
I wanted the New York kind of feel.
I didn't want a box in a high-rise.
I grew up in Florida, so I'm sort of a beach girl.
I don't surf, but I love being on the water or
being by the beach.
The painting that's on the wall here is where the color
scheme sort of came from--
the plum that kind of makes the outlines, the green in the
shirt has kind of become the table.
A dress that I had that I had worn for a Christmas card one
year, I was like, why is it in a box?
It's a beautiful piece.
It needs to be something I can look at every day.
By really using paint, I think that helps to
pop some of the moldings.
It's nice and open, but I also have a living area where I can
have guests over, we have seating.
There's a couch that becomes a queen size bed.
I can also--
I have the table that's on the wall.
I can pull it down.
It can become a two- to four-person
So the chairs I found on eBay.
I had been looking for a specific chair.
And then I basically gutted them, stripped, sanded,
repainted, reupholstered, and they're the
new dining room chairs.
On the one windowsill, I have a Tic-Tac-Toe board of Paris.
I have a small little garden and a container of sand from
my hometown that's a little piece of home that I'm able to
bring into my small space.
So another thing that I am really passionate about,
obviously, is photography.
I collect vintage cameras.
And then I also had some space above, where I decided to use
it as storage for my shoes, because a
girl loves her shoes.
So the apartment is not a studio.
I think it's technically a one-bedroom.
But it is 12'x8'.
So based on the size of the space itself, all that would
fit in there is a full bed.
I think it would just be bed if there were any larger-sized
bed in there.
We built this out of just plywood.
We put drawers underneath so I had space for clothes.
And then I have a shoe cube to help, again, use some of the
vertical space to put some storage in for that.
Based on some of the moldings that I have in the room
itself, I kind of got the idea that I believe it was part of
the hallway, originally, because when you go outside,
it's the exact same molding on the ceilings, and it's about
the size of a hallway, when you look out there.
So they just put a wall and said, we
could make this a bedroom.
When people come over here, I think at first they're taken
aback by all the color and how small it really is.
But I can clean in 10 minutes and go out and do fun
stuff in the city.
I don't have to be a slave to my space.
But I also have created an environment that I really feel
at home in.
The comments that I've gotten are like, this apartment
represents you and your hobbies and your loves and the
things that you're passionate about.
I feel so good in this space because of the colors, because
of just little elements that I really, truly love.
So I'm surrounded by those things, and it makes me really
feel at peace to be in this space.
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