Inside My First (280 Sq. Ft.) New York Apartment

Gabrielle Savoie's New York Apartment

I never thought I would downsize once again. When I moved into my last place in Montreal, I thought 515 sq. ft. was as small as it was going to get. I was wrong. Everyone knows that moving to New York is expensive—but one can never really fathom how much you’re faced with signing a lease on an apartment that’s less than half the size and more than three times the price of your old rent. But as cheesy as it sounds, I wouldn’t have traded this tiny space for the world.

On moving day, I sat in my empty 280 sq. ft. apartment wondering if I had lost my mind to move into a space so insanely small—but there was one thing I knew for sure—I wanted to be here. And as things kept trickling in as the movers unloaded the truck, one thing became immediately apparent: I owned way too much stuff.

It took a while to make this place my own. Between long hours at the office and a complete feeling of hopelessness in front of the accumulating clutter in my tiny space (not to mention the overwhelming amount of better things to do in the city that never sleeps), I put off decorating my New York apartment for much too long.

I read Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy (and subsequently threw out/donated a ton of stuff I didn’t need), I spent countless hours looking for the perfect sofa (which I eventually found in the Commune collection for West Elm), and put off installing blinds for way too long—especially considering The Shade Store made it the easiest process ever and, in turn, the best decision I made in the space. Around Thanksgiving, my apartment was finally in a place where I was 100% comfortable to come home without feeling like I needed to decorate, hang art, or declutter.

And then, one morning in December, I got an email from my broker—your building has decided to sell your apartment, and you’ll have to move out at the end of your lease—no! I was barely done decorating, had only lived in my space for a few months, and had finally fallen in love with the place. Reluctantly, I started looking for a new place (and saw a lot of underwhelming apartments before finding my new one).

I’ll still miss my first New York apartment—some parts more than others. I’ll miss the beams of sunlight streaming in from every angle on weekend mornings and coming home to my own glorified hotel room. I will not miss the tiny bathroom where I bumped into things more times that I care to admit, the insanely loud banging of steam radiators in the middle of the night, or the absurdly slow 1920s elevator that smelled of peppermint and moth balls. But if New York has taught me anything (and by anything I mean a lot), it’s how to live in a small space and love it (and you can read all about it on MyDomaine).

 

SHOP MY NEW YORK APARTMENT

 

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Photos: Sean Litchfield for Savvy Home

  • http://www.nataliecatalina.com Natalie Catalina

    Loved reading about your old apt. and can’t wait to see more of your new one! I’m moving at end of month and not sure what my new apartment will have in store for me (moving home first while I look). So I’ve purged and let go of SO much. Feels so good!

  • http://laceeswan.com/ lacee swan

    What an amazing decor job, it looks so spacious! putting that book on my reading list, spark joy!

    lacee swan

  • http://www.shoplabu.com Kayde

    Great space! I lived in a tiny place like that in Portland’s Pearl District (right out of college before it was what it is now). My place was nowhere near that well decorated though. Really cool to see all your space saving ideas too.

    Good luck in your new place! P.s. is that sink as tiny as it looks?

    • http://Www.savvyhomeblog.com/ Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Thanks, Kayde! It was, yes! My new bathroom sink is regular sized—thankfully!

  • Monica Lavin

    So much style for such a tiny space!

  • Annie Carroll

    Your poster bed is stunning! May I ask where you found it?

    • http://Www.savvyhomeblog.com/ Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hi Annie, It’s a West Elm bed frame. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available 🙁

  • Courtney Ruscin

    My last nyc studio was this same exact size! I wish I would have seen your space while I lived there! I especially love the lights above your bed, what a space saver. Where are they from?

    Congratulations, it’s beautiful! And p.s. no one needs a big apt in NYC, there is too much out there to see, taste and explore. Have fun!

  • Steven Okrasa

    Wonderful room and wonderful space. Everything fits in the smallest detail. I would love to have such a room once. For now, I’m just getting inspired by blogs and: http://thehomeexpert.uk/

  • http://www.bimago.co.uk/ wendykroy

    Beautiful bedroom, it’s perfect place where you can rest 🙂

  • Ana Fritsch

    I love it! So cute!

  • http://www.hardman-de.com/ Hardman

    History pleased about your past apartment, you are an excellent decorator, rather even artist!

  • Gregory Gimbel

    An amazing use of a small place. It looks much larger than it really is. Great job!!

  • Autumn

    Love your space!! It is beautiful. I especially love your duvet. Source?

    • http://Www.savvyhomeblog.com/ Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      It’s the Venice Duvet from Parachute Home!

  • http://homebuyingchecklist.co Aaron – Home Buying Checklist

    Great use of the small space, I love it. Getting a couch with no arms was a great hack. Saved you just enough space to sneak in that side table!

  • Sarah Forman

    when’s the next post? I check everyday because I love your material so much!

  • Wendy Bell Duffy

    Glorified hotel room is right! OMG, you did a great job with limited space. I am very impressed. And I thought I had a hard time when I moved last summer going from a full unfinished basement to a storage room! LOL, my kids were 18 and 15, why did I still have baby toys?!?! Thanks for sharing what an amazing home!

  • http://www.lovehooks.co.uk Sarah Love

    What a beautiful apartment – you’ve decorated it so well and made such a great use of the space. I love all the bursts of colour like the flowers, cushions and books. All these little touches really help to set the tone of the room.

  • ILoveBeautifulThings

    What an amazing space!!! i love it!!! Well done 🙂

  • Sarah Forman

    are you still posting on this blog? If not, I’d love to know where I can follow you other than on MyDomaine

    • http://Www.savvyhomeblog.com/ Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Sarah, thanks so much for checking in! The short answer is (in theory) yes! I have taken a little summer hiatus but definitely be on the lookout for more regular posting in the coming weeks/months. xx

  • Eliza Collins

    Gorgeous apartment! Can I ask where this rug is from, it’s perfect! Thank you! 🙂

  • http://www.interiordesign.to Interior Design Toronto

    “Normal” people assume that decorating a small space would be easier than renovating a sprawling mansion….but they would be wrong.

    Your work on such a teeny-tiny space is magnefique

  • http://garmonia-s.com Alexander Valerievich

    Very cool!

  • Shannon Gulbul

    WOW simply breathtaking! I like to talk to you about being an interior decorator since I inspire to become one! I’d really like to exchange ideas with you. I, for my part rely on http://www.mauvilacindustries.com/colourvogue.html to get ideas, but yours!!!!

  • https://www.floorregistersandgrills.com/ FloorRegistersandGrills

    beautiful decorated home and the bedroom is looking gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this article with us. Check out the best decoration stuffs here Floor Registers

  • Elimar Perez

    Love it!! so cute …

  • http://chelseascollection.com/ C’s Collection

    You’ve made the very most of your space and I love that small solution sofa!

    C’s Collection | http://chelseascollection.com

  • http://www.homevisionsolutions.com Jari Becker

    Very well designed, Love it

  • Bed Sheets

    A stunner really. I love how each element is individualistic yet forms a holistic part of the house. Where are the bed sheets from? Love how they look. Found some great, artistic ones on http://www.amouve.com

  • Erik Hasten

    Hey, looks like a cozy nice apartment. I was wondering where you can get curtains like that for small windows? I need one for my bathroom. I particularly want one like that because it still lets the room be bright and clear but doesn’t let anyone look in!