The most important part of good design is not making sure it's aesthetically pleasing, but making sure it's functional. Drew Scott, the YouTube design and DIY expert behind the Lone Fox channel, embodied this philosophy when he designed this blank canvas loft apartment for his friend Kelsy. The apartment not only had to look good, but also have enough space for Kelsy to move around easily via her mobility scooter and allow plenty of room for her service dog, Duke.
"I was extremely nervous heading into this project because I had no idea how it would turn out," Scott tells MyDomaine. "It was such a small space, and I had never seen it in person prior to the makeover."
Decorating a small studio apartment is never easy, but it was made even harder when the initial measurements of the space were not quite accurate.
I was extremely nervous heading into this project because I had no idea how it would turn out. It was such a small space, and I had never seen it in person prior to the makeover.
"A few days before my flight, Kelsy and I were FaceTiming and the measurements just seemed off, based off what I was seeing through my phone," Scott says. "I had her re-measure and one of the walls was off by 20 feet, making the room 20 feet shorter than we thought. I was worried all the furniture I got wouldn’t fit, and I had no idea what to expect upon arriving. I had no idea what the layout would be and could only hope for the best!"
Keep reading to see how Scott pulled off this incredible makeover.
Scott had already drawn up a layout, ordered furniture, and completely planned the design when he discovered that the initial dimensions were incorrect.
"Luckily, the first day I got there I was able to play around with the furniture pieces and try different layouts," Scott says. "All the furniture pieces ended up fitting except the nesting coffee tables, which I was able to return."
The finished project boasts a four poster bed, a leather sofa, a desk nook, and a designated area for Kelsy's keyboard. Scott made sure to leave plenty of space between furniture pieces, so Kelsy could move around her apartment easily.
Scott relied on principles from universal design, or the design of environments to make them accessible to all people, no matter their age, disability or other factors, to ensure the space works for Kelsy.
"Overall, the space needed to have room for Kelsy’s scooter to get around easily and her and Duke to live comfortably," Scott explains. "The coffee table functions as the dining table as well, since there was not enough space to add a table and chairs. I made sure to keep everything at eye level so Kelsy could reach, and the plants hanging are faux."
He also made sure to provide plenty of storage, even though the space itself is small.
"Less is more in a studio apartment, and it’s important to utilize as much storage as you can and think of creative layouts," Scott explains. "I used a swivel mount when mounting the TV, so it could be seen from Kelsy’s bed and then swiveled over for when she sits on the couch!"
Kelsy was shocked by the reveal of the space.
"My favorite element has to be the cohesiveness," Kelsy tells MyDomaine. "Because it’s such a small space, I struggled being able to tie together every aspect between the bedroom, living room area, etc., and Drew did an amazing job with this! I was blown away when the space was initially revealed! I couldn’t believe how well the furniture fit and how it was placed in ways that I would have never even considered."
With a lack of storage space, Scott had to get creative.
"Under the bed storage was also crucial and helped declutter the space," Scott says. "Because there wasn’t enough room for a kitchen table and chairs, I wanted to make sure the coffee table could double as a table she could eat from, so it needed to be small but not too low to the ground."
The makeover was a total redesign, with Kelsy keeping just one of her original furniture pieces, the chair by the keyboard.
"She loved how mature it felt but still had elements of herself sprinkled throughout," Scott says. "Furniture and home décor wise, she had previously owned hand-me-downs and she was so thankful for her new pieces. Her response was priceless! She was in shock and her service dog, Duke, made himself right at home."
Though the biggest lesson Scott learned in this makeover was to always double check measurements, there are some other takeaways any renter can use in their spaces, from using peel-and-stick wallpaper and tiles or painting your walls.
"If you have not-so-pretty floors or an ugly backsplash, I highly recommend peel-and-stick tiles or backsplash," Scott recommends. "They are so easy to apply and just as easy to remove prior to moving out. I personally have always painted in my apartments and painted them back to their original state before moving out. However, if that is too much work and you want to add some color to the walls, I recommend removable wallpaper."
If that sounds like a big lift, swapping out hardware might be the smaller DIY you're looking for.
"If your kitchen or bathroom has outdated hardware, you can easily switch it out," Scott says. "Make sure you keep a bag of the old hardware, so you can switch it back before moving out."
Even weeks after the project was complete, Kelsy still loves her new space.
"I was actually just thinking last night about how grateful I am to have had Drew remodel my space - even months later I am still in awe of how perfect it is," she says. "But most importantly, I’ve noticed a greater sense of ease being here because my small studio was turned into a fun and functional home."