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Living Large in Small Spaces: Expressing Personal Style in 100 to 1,000 Square Feet Paperback – May 1, 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MARISA BARTOLUCCI is former executive editor of Metropolis magazine and the author of several critically acclaimed design books. She lives in New York City.

The architectural photography of Radek Kurzaj has appeared in numerous international magazines and has been the basis of several books, including "The Ranch House" and "The Abrams Guide to American House Styles". He divides his time between Poland and New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810991055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810991057
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kristin Brown on May 19, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a studio apartment dweller, I'm drawn to books on living well in small spaces. I've found that many are aimed at those who own their own space and have unlimited budgets. While some of the apartments featured in this book clearly fall into that category, others are a bit more realistic, focusing on the renter who doesn't have the ability to knock out walls and raise ceilings. More of a 'this is what this person's apartment looks like' than a how-to or suggestion guide, I still picked up some good tips that will translate to my apartment. Many of the apartments featured do seem to lean more toward the modern look; FYI if you know that's not your thing.

I gave the book five stars because I think it does very well what the title suggests: it offers good photographs of different living spaces sized 100 sq feet to 1000.
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Format: Paperback
I recently moved into a <600-sf house with my husband and 33-lb dog. My decorating skills are very minimal, and I end up doing most of my shopping at IKEA. And so it was a pleasant surprise to find this book, which I came across while browsing in the interior design section of a bookstore.
Of course, I had to force myself to pull it out and look at it, since I've been so immensely disappointed by almost all of the books on the subjects of "small" spaces (probably because most of these books define small as 1,000 to 1,999 sf) and since I'm interested in more than just pretty pictures.
Lo and behold, this book, which is largely wonderfully detailed photos of real people's real small spaces (including a 100-sf dorm room and 2 couples with babies living in less than 500 sf), is inspiring in the most practical sense of the word. It's reassuring just to know that other people in the universe reside in sub-1000-sf quarters.
While it is true that many of the featured small-space livers are artists/designers of some sort, with skills that the average Jane doesn't have, I see it less as a book whose ideas you'd want to copy and more of a book whose ideas you'd want to emulate, and I quickly found several good ideas I could apply to my own spaces. Plus, I'm not even half-done just going through it and absorbing the minutiae of each photo and each apartment.
The best part(s)? No fancy-schmancy lofts (with the exception of one converted factory space) and no excessive and gratuitous photos of Wolf ranges and Miele dishwashers.
I couldn't find it used, but I can't feel too much regret about buying it for full price.
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Format: Paperback
A small but pretty coffee table book with great content and some good ideas for living in tiny, tiny spaces.

1) 16 of the 33 profiled spaces were 500 sq ft or less! The other 17 were 600 - 1000 sq ft in size. I haven't seen many books on small space living that focus on this size range. Most books seem to present 2000 sqft houses as tiny.

2) The owners of these spaces didn't all have an unlimited budget. Many were in rentals so gut renovations, moving walls, etc was not an option. Many did have expensive or design worthy furniture and art but quite a few were heavily furnished with IKEA and thrift store finds.

3) Most of the owners had to be very carefull with clutter and picking pieces that would work in the space and that they really loved. Some of the other Amazon reviews found this to be somewhat unrealistic but I think that when you live in such small spaces, you are going to have to keep things very neat and tidy.

4) Part of the title is "expressing personal style". There is plenty of that in the book mostly clustered around what I'll call "modern" (eams etc), "drama" (red, red everywhere), "eclectic" (high design items mixed with garage sale items) and "standard" (danish). Many of the owners have extensive collections that are well presented and show off their unique personal style.

5) Most of these places are inhabited by: architects, artists, interior decorators, makeup artists, writers, curators, floral designers, etc. Essentially those who are in the "profession". I got the impression that hiring someone is de rigur if you are an accountant or fireman.
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Format: Paperback
This is far and away the best decorating book for small spaces I've read. It's 400 pages, with 400 photographs, and it explores 33 small homes from 100 to 1,000 square feet. My favorite aspect of this book is that the spaces presented are in the United States. I have found that most small spaces shown in specialty books are from Europe or Asia and so lots of the ideas don't translate too easily. The apartments/homes are presented in order of size. Each home contains a very readable description pointing out a wide variety of design ideas, decorating techniques and how each tenant achieved what he/she wanted in a home despite it's limitations. I'm so pleased I bought this book!
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By A Customer on June 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am enjoying this book immensely, unlike the four to five others I've picked up on this subject.

The apartments featured are very realistic - none of that "image expanding" so popular in decorating magazines like METROPOLITAN HOME or DWELL. Tiny spaces do indeed look their size - and that is a GOOD thing! It means we're not being sold a bill of goods by having the eye tricked with photography.

I appreciate the very quirky nature of the design of each of these highly individualized spaces. I appreciate even more the fact that they are grouped by square footage and start at the walk in closet size! <S>

There are many many highly usable and accessible decorating ideas on these pages.

The one fault of this book (and it's a minor one but worth mentioning): very many of the people profiled in the pages use their very small spaces as tricked out 'hotel rooms' rather than full time living quarters. This might not seem to matter until you realize one gentleman rehabbed his kitchen but didn't include an oven of any kind. How many of us can live like that full time? Several people have their places done up as glorified bedrooms w/ the beds on full time display. One or two others have complicated Murphy beds, one on pulleys from the ceiling. While fairly commonplace in New York proper these beds are expensive to duplicate almost anywhere else in the country and are key to several decorating schemes.

Other than these few problems I would highly recommend this book to anyone to learn some ingenius ways of solving small or quirky or differently arranged space problems!
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