A 360-Square-Foot Studio Is Like a Tiny Cabin in the City — House Call

Name: Kyle L. Quilici, my boyfriend, also named Kyle!
Location: San Francisco, California
Size: 360 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, renting

I moved into this studio five years ago from a listing I found on Craigslist. I was attracted to the cabin-like feel of the wood-beamed ceiling and the brightness from the skylights. It was located in a random part of the city, right in between a few different neighborhoods, but the street itself is a gem—tree-lined and quiet. Around the same time, I had co-founded a company called New Minimalism that declutters and redesigns homes in the Bay Area. I used my new home as a place to put into practice the philosophies of simplified and sustainable living.

As a co-founder of New Minimalism, it is important for my home to be a clutter-free sanctuary that works well for our needs. We feel lucky that our wall of windows looks out onto a tree-lined street. It’s so nice to see green in the middle of the city. The ceramic elephant and pendant light are thrift finds, and the glass piece was made by a friend.

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

From the beginning, I consciously took my time to decorate the space using secondhand finds. I also made sure to not fill the space 100 percent. This approach paid off when my boyfriend (also named Kyle!) moved in earlier this year. Together Mr. Kyle and I undertook some design projects to make the apartment go from “me” to “we.” We painted the accent walls new colors, found the right desk situation for both of us, created a space to store his surfboard and created the oversized image of the beach from Kyle’s photographer friend, Maggie Kaiserman. It’s a really cozy retreat that we love coming home to.

Our kitchen is like a well-appointed boat kitchen. It has everything we could need. We cook most dinners at home and this kitchen has encouraged us to become experts at “simple yet delicious” dishes. We are grateful that the studio in general has a smart layout, and the skylights provide a bright and airy feel.

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Minimal, mid-century, inviting, sustainable.

When my boyfriend moved in, we wanted to carve out workspace for each of us. After playing around with a million different ideas (floating shelves, a large bookshelf with closed storage, a wall-mounted system…) we found the solution with these two secretary desks from Urban Outfitters. Together, they appear as one large console table. But in fact we each have our own space to call our “home office”. The

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

What is your favorite room and why? There aren’t many to choose from! I would say the main room is my favorite over the bathroom.

The bedroom nook is super cozy, yet just big enough for two people to comfortably use. We each have a mini side table and bedside light to give us a proper place to read and drink tea before bed. The surfboard was a new addition that came with the boyfriend. After a few iterations we decided the corner was the most space-efficient spot. We added a plant to soften it up a bit.

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I would have a little rooftop space with plants.

The large image of the sunset was taken by photographer Maggie Kaiser. We wanted an image that felt like a window. We also liked the fact that this wall faces west towards the California coast. So in effect, we have a beachfront studio.

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? It was the photo by Maggie Kaiserman.

The image on the wall is a photo by me, taken with my 35mm camera. It was taken on a warm summer night when I used to live in Brooklyn. My roommate, the subject, was playing around with a jump rope, and I was fiddling with my flash. I love the kinda eerie result of the off-kilter framing, the way she is floating in space with her hair covering her face.

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

Any advice for creating a home you love? Take your time! It’s okay to have blank walls. Live in your space a bit to understand what areas you gravitate towards during different times of day.

Pre-boyfriend-move-in the entry was painted pink. We updated the colors to a more moody palette. The wall of closet does wonders for keeping our space clutter-free. We hide two bikes in there, plus camping gear, jackets and shoes.

(Image credit: Ryan Devisser)

Optimize your home design to support the activities that happen 80 percent of the time. Many clients we work with have aspirational areas of their homes that never get used.

Buy secondhand to create a unique and more interesting home.

Thanks, Kyle!

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