Country Living's House of the Year: Studio Cottage
Big Ideas for Small Spaces
Ever dreamed of having a 10-second commute? Here are 10 tips to pull of an enviable home-away-from-home office, via our 250-square foot studio cottage.
1. Elevate a standard desk. Explains Stephen Loidolt: "We prefer counter-height surfaces that encourage us to stand and move around, instead of just sitting and stagnating." Barbara Kurgan fashioned a tall, partners-style setup by pairing two Ballard desks and topping them with a custom box that provides a stealthy spot for stowing files and books.
2. Now, this is worth noting! Kurgan attached a roll of kraft paper to the end of the dual workstation, so Loidolt and his wife, Shauna Alterio, can scribble and sketch, then pull a blank sheet over the desktop to start anew. "This office-for-two was designed around collections arranged to trigger the imagination," says Kurgan.
3. An enlightening path to a clear desk? Ground table-hogging task lights and choose floor lamps, like Ballard models. The Smith + Nobleshades open from the top and bottom to offer greater Crisp Linen by Benjamin Moore.
4. Find furniture that plays hide-and-seek. Intended as dining room servers, these Ballard buys met Kurgan's aim to provide "display opportunities, along with drawers for tucking things away." Mission accomplished. "The stuff that inspires us is out," says Loidolt, "but the office still looks neat."
Take a Seat
5. Define a room within a room. Kurgan subtly delineated a sitting area with Company Store's cowhide rug. The Ballard Designs settee, upholstered in coral velvet from Calico Corners, helps cement the workshop's palette, sparked by a box of Ladurée macaroons.
6. A little quirk never hurts. This vintage print of bow-tie connoisseur Abe Lincoln, from Liza Sherman Antiques, references Alterio and Loidolt's neckwear line. Kurgan also embroidered Ballard's skirted burlap stool with the name of the couple's farm.
7. Climb the walls. Hooks and baskets from Ballard designate a home for jackets, bags, and files, without encroaching upon a bit of floor space.
Bright Idea: For a low-commitment pop of bold yellow, Kurgan lined a high shelf with National Geographics. The ceiling is painted Raindance by Benjamin Moore.
8. How to store material goods in style: "Turn your supplies into decoration," urges Kurgan, who stashed bolts of fabric in an industrial trash can and skewered swatches on giant safety pins from Ballard Designs. The wall is painted Dragon's Breath by Benjamin Moore.
A Space for Inspiration
9. The bulletin board goes big. Kurgan upholstered an entire wall of the side entry's hallway in Sunbrella fabric, giving Alterio and Loidolt ample space to pin photos, notes, and paint chips.
Changeable Wall Decor
10. Don't overlook the loo. Chalkboard paint from Benjamin Moore yields a changeable canvas in the powder room. "Shauna loves wallpaper," Kurgan says, "but rather than settle on a permanent pattern, we had artist Chiara Alberetti Milott draw one." The Kwikset knob on the bathroom door is real; the wainscoting is merely drawn with chalk.
The need for a powder room threw the rectangular cottage's symmetry off balance. Kurgan restored order by establishing a sitting area that mirrors the WC's footprint—a move that let her situate the partners' desk in the true center of the room, beneath the triple windows, where it's flanked by his-and-hers bookcases.
Meet the Designers
Though Barbara Kurgan (center) is based in New York City, the interior and furniture designer calls a coastal Maine cottage home. Beloved for their Forage line of bow ties, Philadelphians Shauna Alterio and Stephen Loidolt also dream up delightfully oddball objects—handcrafted yo-yos, faux bois chalk—under their Something's Hiding in Here label.