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Sandy's Southern Exposure




Brooklyn, New York



Square Feet:


What I Love About My Home

I love the light. There are only two windows and the ceilings are low enough to touch without standing on tiptoe (really), but the southern exposure illuminates the whole apartment from morning until evening and makes it cheery. I couldn't stand the thought of blocking any of that lovely light with curtains... so I never hung any.

Biggest Challenge in Furnishing My Home

Storage was basically nonexistent. There's only one tiny closet, so I improvised with expandable hanging bars in a nook in the bedroom. Most of my shoes reside in the kitchen cabinets or in the oven (gasp). I really had to figure out which "things" were important enough to keep in my home, and then create a specific place for each and every one of them. The biggest help is my bed frame—the mattress lifts up to expose a hollow storage space for off-season clothing, tools, and luggage.

Favoriting and voting have ended.

Comments (82)

n/m, Sandy. I will figure it out. =) thanks and good luck!

posted by pier723 on April 19, 2011 at 5:07pm
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@Gaidig, thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into it!

posted by pier723 on April 20, 2011 at 11:46am
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kitchen - genius. Love 'call your mother.'

posted by BeWellA2 on April 19, 2011 at 8:04am
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Your bedroom area's got charm :)

posted by csmoura on April 19, 2011 at 8:24am
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This wins for the best kitchen!

posted by Katrin_TakingNotes on April 19, 2011 at 9:13am
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love the dog and cozy bedroom

posted by blair9213 on April 19, 2011 at 9:15am
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I like when I admire a space and then glance up at the square footage and I'm surprised. It doesn't feel or look teensy, it looks cool and liveable and orderly. I love the mix of big city elements with the more rustic touches (the floors, the boots, the empty frames). And there is nothing more decorative than a beautiful dog who looks like a mix (spay, neuter, adopt!!!). Love.

posted by cvgmiami on April 19, 2011 at 9:23am
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Your kitchen is fantastic! And your bed right next to the big window with the decorative accent wall - perfect! Looks so cozy and smiley =)

posted by Lasertoast on April 19, 2011 at 9:35am
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Love your kitchen and all your accessories throughout your place. Do you have a couch, seating, etc for living space or do you just hang out on the bed?

posted by rachaelk on April 19, 2011 at 10:00am
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Wow- way to take not so hot kitchen cabinets and make them a very hot feature! Not usually a fan of having closets out of the closet but you've done it well -- really cute bedroom (and adorable doggie!).

posted by citipearl on April 19, 2011 at 10:01am
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You've done well with this space. I like how the dressing area, sleeping area and kitchen all have a totally distinct feel.

You did a great job with the exposed clothing and cookware.

posted by mellowhome on April 19, 2011 at 11:39am
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love the kitchen cabinets

posted by lorrinm on April 19, 2011 at 11:25am
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Your entire place is so gorgeous, cute and trendy! My only question is, do you have enough room to stand in front of the stove and cook?

posted by pier723 on April 19, 2011 at 11:33am
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oh, and I wish AT can do a HT of your place. =) good luck!

posted by pier723 on April 19, 2011 at 11:35am
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good job

posted by nyceastvill on April 19, 2011 at 11:40am
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Love it! Where you get the mirror in the bedroom?

posted by Usagi on April 19, 2011 at 11:47am
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I love much less the cage for the dog.
The flat is already way too little for such a dog, and than put it even in a cage?!
I find that just cruel.
And yes, I'm aware that in US there are vet that advise owner to use cages. I think they should change job.
Dog are not objects.
Buy yourself a tamagochi.
(sorry, offtopic but I had a urge to express my mind)

posted by diridi on April 19, 2011 at 12:17pm
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hi everyone, thank you for the kind comments!
@diridi you're correct, the apartment was too small for my dog. he was a rescue, so our little home was much better than the shelter. but, i've since made the (heartbreaking) decision to send him to ohio to live on a farm. now he has the wiiiide open spaces he deserves.
@usagi the mirror is from ikea (mongstad)
@pier723 there's *just* enough space to open the oven door or stand in front of the stove (but not both!)
@rachaelk definitely no space for a sitting area. eating/reading/socializing/etc... all bed-activities.

posted by heysandybell on April 19, 2011 at 12:39pm
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You really made it work! That kitchen is really really cool.

posted by danze on April 19, 2011 at 1:04pm
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I've been thinking about doing the same thing to my ugly cabinets but have held back because I wasn't sure how it would look. Your kitchen made up my mind- I love it!

posted by catiaelizabeth on April 19, 2011 at 1:05pm
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I love the blue and white walls with the contrasting colored frames where your bed is, the blue is such a nice shade. I'm curious where you found the frames, particularly the gorgeous circular one.

Also, I just want to say your kitchen is phenomenal (even if you don't use the oven for traditional purposes :) )

posted by ppelavin on April 19, 2011 at 1:46pm
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This place is incredible. I feel like you live in a boutique. When you have that little space, you might as well have all your belongings out on display - you've arranged everything very artfully. Great job!

posted by Pamela L on April 19, 2011 at 2:06pm
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Great use and wonderful personality in a teeny, tiny space! Also, a gracious response to the dog question : )

posted by MWesdock on April 19, 2011 at 3:17pm
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I can't stop looking at this place. Sandy, I have another question. How did you get those chalkboard pieces on the cabinet? I think I am gonna need to steal your ideas.

posted by pier723 on April 19, 2011 at 4:38pm
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I like the kitchen.

posted by Ofelia on April 19, 2011 at 4:56pm
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@pier723 thank you! those actually aren't chalkboard pieces on the kitchen cabinets. i applied chalkboard paint directly to the wood (one coat of primer and two coats of paint). you can find it at home depot.

posted by heysandybell on April 19, 2011 at 4:56pm
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Thanks, Sandy!! Are they easy to remove? I am in a rental. =)

posted by pier723 on April 19, 2011 at 5:01pm
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224sqft!!! I seriously don't know how you made it look enormous. It's very organized and that I thoroughly enjoy.

posted by Ban Clothing on April 19, 2011 at 5:20pm
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I wish I could vote a million times~~~ I love this.

posted by NYKate on April 19, 2011 at 6:02pm
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Awesome kitchen!

I'm sorry you had to give up your dog :( And I'm sorry you had to have such a judgmental and rudely worded comment thrown your way about your dog. Your home was a much finer place for your dog than the shelter, and often dogs like their kennels because they regard them as "their" space (I didn't say always, I just said often). Anyway, I completely admire your decision to find your dog a home with the open outdoor space to run around :) I don't think I could be so strong and unselfish!

posted by pheebs79 on April 19, 2011 at 7:01pm
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Oh, and also I completely admire your home and you've got my vote for sure! :)

posted by pheebs79 on April 19, 2011 at 7:01pm
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@heysandybell, kudos on 1. adopting a dog and giving it safe shelter 2. finding the dog a place to run his inner wold ragged and 3. replying to the comment in such an evolved manner. Love your place, already one of my favorites.

posted by cvgmiami on April 19, 2011 at 7:34pm
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Um, wolf, not wold. I have no idea what a wold is.

posted by cvgmiami on April 19, 2011 at 7:48pm
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I agree with cvgmiami. In addition to your apartment being so cool and so beautiful, I am also impressed with the way you carried yourself in regard to others' negativity. Some comments on AT can come across as downright insensitive!

posted by owlmug on April 19, 2011 at 8:02pm
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Another one for lovin' the kitchen! ;)

posted by junklover on April 19, 2011 at 8:10pm
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Finally an apartment that resembles my place (I'm in Brooklyn, too). It's truly inspiring and will help me decorate -- thank you!! I need a bed, no futon for me. :)

posted by ladymoz on April 19, 2011 at 8:20pm
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Did you ask your landlord before painting the cabinets or did you just go for it?

posted by Kvaty on April 19, 2011 at 8:42pm
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Really well done! I really like that you didn't waste space with a table in a small space. instead using the shallow shelf counter and the storage ottoman is genius. I like that you let in as much southern light as possible! Coolness!

posted by keifers on April 20, 2011 at 1:52am
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@pier723, you could use chalkboard contact paper.

@cvgmiami, wold is a traditional word for a certain type of countryside, which is a range of limestone hills.

@heysandybell, Beautiful job! I love your use of color and empty frames. I don't usually like exposed closets, but yours is gorgeous!

posted by Gaidig on April 19, 2011 at 9:15pm
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Oh jeez, an apartment of this size is fine for a dog. I live in a 3500 square foot home and it's not like my dog is tearing through the house to get exercise. I take her outside for that. Gimme a break, folks.

I'm moving to a 425 sq ft studio, should I give up my 7 year old dog that I've had since she was a puppy? Nope, she goes where I go, be it a palace or a pint sized home...till death do us part.

I'm so sorry you had to give up your pooch. I'm sure it wasn't easy.

posted by mellowhome on April 19, 2011 at 9:24pm
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Funny, the Humane Society supports crating:


posted by kelleyk on April 19, 2011 at 11:02pm
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um woaw.. like... how... where.. *sigh* love!

posted by illestwifey on April 20, 2011 at 2:59am
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Love this, dog crate and all!

posted by daylight on April 20, 2011 at 4:15am
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Holy crap! What a great teeny tiny apartment - I could live there. Even if I was a dog.

posted by mogoman on April 20, 2011 at 8:29am
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@Mogoman. I just laughed out loud.

posted by Allegra M on April 20, 2011 at 9:11am
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wow, thank you for the wonderful comments! (and special thanks to the dog lovers who understand that square footage and pet-happiness can be mutually exclusive)
@ppelavin the blue and white frames are from ikea, although they were initially yellow and black—i painted them. the circular frame is also ikea: ung drill.
@kvaty i didn't ask the landlord before painting the cabinets (i'm sure he would have said no). apologize later, right?

posted by heysandybell on April 20, 2011 at 9:26am
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I adore this! I have a large wire crate for my greyhound (she needs it and loves it) and your idea of using it to your advantage instead of wasting dead space is brilliant - is that just a piece of plywood?

posted by ohmydarlin on April 20, 2011 at 9:26am
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Thanks @Gaidig. Now I'm sure I meant "wolf" as I would not want sandybell's dog to run like a limestone mountain formation.

On the subject of dogs and small spaces, I think if you asked them whether they prefer a studio or a mansion they would say "Where I am loved". We often project our feelings on them.

posted by cvgmiami on April 20, 2011 at 9:48am
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i love that clearly SHOES are something you're not willing to live without :) so cute!

posted by bdigit on April 20, 2011 at 10:59am
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Ahh, I just had to chime in. I love your apartment but it is a tad small for your dog. I have two medium dogs in my apartment it is cosy but I have a huge outdoor space for them to play in. I commend you for making the right decision for the health and well being of your pet. I would be heartbroken to have to choose between living conditions or pets.

posted by her_royal_gr8ness on April 20, 2011 at 11:48am
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Lovely place; you are a class act all around.

posted by Neem on April 20, 2011 at 12:02pm
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Agree apologize later - you just inspired me - I'm in Brooklyn too - I'm going to paint them white!

posted by Kvaty on April 20, 2011 at 2:29pm
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I have a similarly sized place, and it's always fun to see these entries to get ideas to make mine studio feel like a home (i've been in it less than a year). Very inspirational!

I also have a dog in a small space (he is 60 lbs, and 9 yrs old) and there has never been an issue with him and the size of my apartment. He does get to come with me to work everyday, we go on 4-5 mile walks many evenings, and I have a small yard and lots of nearby parks to play in. To all the concerned people...it's important to remember it depends on the individual dogs needs. Whether I am at my teeny tiny home, or at my 25,000 sq foot converted warehouse of an office, my dog is usually found lounging at my feet. In this case, size truly doesn't matter ;-)

posted by tsp on April 20, 2011 at 2:30pm
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is that an australian cattle dog? i have two of those buggers and they go nuts in my 4xthesizeofyour apartment. i wish i could stand the thought of parting with them cause they would love a farm. as long as it had squirrels.

posted by trisher on April 20, 2011 at 2:35pm
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Fantastic use of space! For those planning to "apologize later" with rentals, take a picture of the before. If the landlord tries to keep your security deposit when you move, you can often get it back if you can show it "is an improvement".

posted by anagoge on April 20, 2011 at 3:16pm
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love love love the kitchen! you did a great job of utilizing your space smartly. and, of course, i must also chime in on the dog-crate issue. i live in a 750-square-foot house in philly and we have a 60-pound pit bull mix who stays in her crate while we are at work. she has separation anxiety and feels comfortable in her crate. if she weren't crated, she would sit by the door scratching at it and barking all day. the crate is a much more realistic option for us and her. we take her for long walks when we get home and she sleeps with us at night. of course that is much better than her life was at the shelter! maybe you should consider each situation before making such a rude comment, diridi. it's funny that your name reminds me of the word derisive.

posted by mekleiber on April 20, 2011 at 3:30pm
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Can you really view most of the apartment from the "throne", or do you have a curtain/door? If so, I hope it is just as impressive as the rest of the apartment! :)

posted by soozieQ on April 20, 2011 at 5:41pm
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Your place is inspirational, your kitchen a joy. As the owner (owned?) of three small dogs from rescues, I admire you for your gracious reply to the well-intentioned but not very polite commenter about crates. I can't imagine living without any one of my babies. How hard it must have been to give up your dog, and how brave and selfless you were to do it. I hope you have a pet again some day.

posted by nancyalice on April 20, 2011 at 5:53pm
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You are a total inspiration to all of us who live in small places or in your case teeny tiny. You are a classy gal for the way you handled yourself with the rude comment about your dog and for making your apartment so danged cute! Well done, very charming, you got my vote!!

posted by S.J.P. on April 20, 2011 at 6:51pm
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Nice, bright and airy. Not my style but I can see the attraction.

It does make me wonder as NYer... why move to Brooklyn and move to such a postage sized apartment? In the Village or Soho I understand but BK??? The whole point people move is because you get more nice stuff (space, trees etc) for what you pay for.

posted by Trumystique on April 20, 2011 at 7:04pm
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great space, (and might i add..) great spirit too *kudos!!(=

posted by JulianneMay on April 20, 2011 at 7:30pm
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love it!

posted by Marie vintage on April 20, 2011 at 7:41pm
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I absolutely love this kitchen and am surprised no has asked about where we can find those great stainless racks to hold, pots, pans, spice rack and flower pot with utensils?! Adorable and so great for tiny kitchens...where can we find them? Thanks so much!!

posted by shapjap on April 20, 2011 at 8:19pm
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I added you to my favorites because you have an amazing kitchen & your response to that chick complaining about your dog crate blew my mind for politeness.

posted by delg23 on April 20, 2011 at 9:20pm
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Love the color on the walls. Love the chair. Love the linens. And lastly, love the chalkboards in the kitchen!

posted by thehealthguru on April 21, 2011 at 1:55am
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you guys are seriously inflating my ego.
@ohmydarlin that's a shelf on top of the crate. i got it at the container store from the discount pile (i think it was part of a set that was damaged, but that piece was fine)
@trisher yes, he's an australian cattle dog. SO MUCH ENERGY.
@soozieQ ha! the bathroom has a door. i forgot to draw it in the floorplan.
@shapjap the rack, bars, hooks, spice rack, and "flower pots" in the kitchen are all from ikea. the rack specifically is grundtal http://bit.ly/eQWDfM and here are some other hanging accessories http://bit.ly/faZa2I

posted by heysandybell on April 21, 2011 at 9:19am
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Really like this, Sandy. I actually think the bedroom is my favorite part. Also, I think you're one of the few people who has figured out how to use empty frames on the wall in just the right way...and I really like that it's consistent from the dressing area to the bedroom. Only thing I don't love honestly is the leather bench in the dressing area--it seems just too dark and puffy to fit with everything else. Just curious--what is it like to have friends over? Do you just keep them in the kitchen area?

posted by azr2005 on April 21, 2011 at 9:59am
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Thanks you so very much for the quick response ...and the url! You are surely one of kind to take the time to answer us all...just like your cool apt. Thanks again!

posted by shapjap on April 21, 2011 at 1:12pm
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love the first picture! great use of chalkboard paint in the kitchen. sleeping area looks so cozy-perfect for those midday catnaps i love so much.

posted by aj510 on April 21, 2011 at 10:20pm
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The kitchen is clearly the STAR of this show.

posted by scandesign on April 22, 2011 at 5:15am
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posted by CherelleNJ on April 23, 2011 at 12:06am
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Lots of nice little details here, so you get my vote. Sorry you had to let your dog go, but I'm sure s/he's enjoying all that open space.

posted by pearmelon on April 24, 2011 at 5:13am
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Wow, this is the first time I felt I had to comment....this is what the Small Cool contest is all about! Well done!

posted by suzy8track on April 23, 2011 at 4:49pm
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Oh, and I admire how you've managed to make your apartment feel spacious despite the low ceilings and only 2 windows. Some of the apartments have an unfair advantage with their 'good bones', so well done!

posted by pearmelon on April 24, 2011 at 5:20am
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I registered with the site just to vote for you....I hope you win! I love your place and plan to incorporate some of your ideas in my home.. GL

posted by bohemianchic23 on April 24, 2011 at 8:36pm
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Wow you are amazing. storage in your oven? that's great. I love how the boots and the scarves are sitting out. You know I have a dining room table but I always eat on my bed anyway so not sure what the purpose of it is.

posted by House Voyeur on April 26, 2011 at 11:33pm
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A microwave, toaster, can opener (coffee machine?), mixer and soda club? Do you U.S. Americans really need all that stuff or is it just status symbols?

posted by Steve_from_DesignBlog on April 27, 2011 at 4:20pm
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An amazing combination of organization and design. I love this space and what you've done with it and love the love you provided for your pup. I had to make a similar decision and it isn't easy. Oh, and my boy loved his crate and ran into it with great enthusiasm!

posted by Sonje on April 27, 2011 at 11:49pm
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Last annoying question.. who are those boots by?? I love them!

I also love your home!

posted by moke076 on April 28, 2011 at 3:51pm
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this is really lovely and inspiring! *this* apartment is what the contest is all about. thank you for raising the bar.

posted by alafia3 on April 28, 2011 at 3:52pm
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anyone know where the leaning shelf/table is from?

posted by emilyjoyce on May 3, 2011 at 7:14pm
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@azr2005: having friends over is a squeeze. we use the two chairs and bench for seating, and i throw a sheet over the dog crate (after thoroughly cleaning it) to make a table.
@steve from designblog: i don't consider my kitchen appliances to be a status symbol at all. if i want to bake something small, the toaster oven is an energy saver. the soda machine cuts down on the use of plastic bottles (and is very economical). i use the coffee maker to brew a bunch at once, then refrigerate it for iced coffee. i use the blender to puree soups. the microwave… yes, i suppose i could do without that. i rarely use it.
@moke076: the boots on the left are vintage. coach makes the pair on the right (from 2008).
@emilyjoyce: the leaning desk is from ikea (just tried to find it on their site but i don't see it).

posted by heysandybell on May 4, 2011 at 3:50pm
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