Here are nine residences from the Dwell archives that apply the philosophy of "less is more" by stealthily hiding unnecessary clutter and creating smart storage solutions for various rooms in the household.
Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser has all he needs in his compact, 580-square-foot Hollywood abode. The bed was designed to hang from the ceiling and can be hoisted up and pulled down as needed. When not in use as the headboard, the large redwood slab folds down to become a desk. Photo by Joe Pugliese.
Restricting storage to a monolithic bank of bookshelves and cabinets cuts down on furniture clutter. “If you put a lot of small things into a small space, it can feel twice as small,” Ryan says. “If you have an object with heft and mass, it makes everything feel larger. It seems contradictory, but it works.” He outfitted an Ikea Pax and Komplement closet system with custom doors and placed automotive felt over them to dampen sound from a nearby track of the Long Island Rail Road. Photo by Gile Ashford.
New York City is the nation’s capital of cramped quarters. But for a select lucky few, scant square footage adds up to a cozy home to call one’s own. “Wonbo had to be able to stand in the sleeping area,” architect Kyu Sung Woo says of his son. “By combining two dimensions—the height of the bed and that of the closet (the top of which forms the bedroom floor)—we made that possible.” Photo by Adam Friedberg.
Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Toronto loft is both home and art gallery—and the ultimate party house, thanks to two kitchens, a rooftop deck, and no shortage of conversation pieces. The Murphy bed in the guest bedroom sits behind Montague’s desk, allowing the compact room to function comfortably for working and sleeping at different times. It’s made with customized millwork, Häfele bed hardware, and an Ikea mattress. When it’s open, it reveals hidden shelving. Photo by Naomi Finlay.
Custom woodwork and an open interior define a 520-square-foot backyard retreat for a busy family. The dining table tucks under a shelf when it’s not pulled out for meals. There’s even vertical storage for canvases for their teenage daughter. Photo by Lincoln Barbour.
How do you squeeze maximum functionality out of minimal space? Rosa and Robert Garneau make it happen with multipurpose furniture, a hydraulic Murphy bed, and secret compartments galore. “We wanted to keep the exterior walls uncluttered, so you can focus on the views, the light, and the air,” says Rosa. To achieve a clean slate, everything gets tucked away, including the mattress and bedding. Photo by Ian Allen.