Decorating any space comes with its unique set of challenges, but being faced with a space that is just 750 square feet is definitely raising the stakes. (I thought re-decorating my 350-square-foot living room was tricky.) Luckily Andrea Van Soest of Vantage Design Studio loves solving design dilemmas, and this one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo in Point Loma (near Ocean Beach, San Diego) presented more than just a size struggle.
Meet the Expert
Andrea Van Soest is the principle designer behind Vantage Design Studio and a real estate investor in Southern California. She studied interior design at UCLA and UC Riverside, and her passion is flipping houses with her husband, applying her skills and knowledge in design and interior architecture.
Originally built in the 1950s, the condo maintains much of its original character, and Van Soest wanted to blend the midcentury modern style with the Spanish beachy vibe of San Diego. Therein lies the challenge. Merging these two proved an interesting venture for the designer, but the end result is a flawless and cozy space with a modern, eclectic, yet classic style.
Read on to hear Van Soest's style notes and see through the small space that is much greater than its size.
The goal of this room was to make it feel spacious by using bright, clean minimal décor. "The room already had great natural light, but the existing furnishings were too heavy and dark, which made the room feel small, dark, and close-in," explains Van Soest. "We used a soft, light rug that added great texture to the space but kept it feeling open and light."
She chose a light-colored sofa, as it's the largest item in the room and she didn't want it to feel too heavy. "I decided to use black accent chairs as a pop of interest, which also helped to balance out and highlight the black tones that we used in many of the finishes," she adds.
The light from the large window bounces off the neutral tones to further open up the space.
Because the home is near the beach, Van Soest wanted it to have a "serene feeling" while incorporating some midcentury elements. "Those two things lead us to a black, white, and fairly neutral color palette," she says.
Van Soest's favorite pieces are in the living room. "I love the wall lamp and the black and wood side chairs," she says. "They have such an interesting shape and line to them."
Blending the midcentury and beachy styles together to create a cohesive space proved a challenge for Van Soest, but we really feel like she nailed it.
The kitchen was also completely renovated from top to bottom. "It was originally boxed in by four walls with a tiny single-door entrance," says Van Soest. "We removed all the walls and completely opened up the space. I wanted to create a unique blend of materials and textures to give this new renovation some character." The designer also added gray shaker cabinets along the floor and white IKEA cabinets with wood and glass doors for the walls.
When they gutted the kitchen, they also replaced all of the flooring, paint, and trim throughout the rest of the space. It definitely made a difference to the overall design and brings the space to life.
Van Soest's favorite thing in this space is the hood over the stove. "I had a custom hood made and we added some tile and wood detail to the bottom. This is where we brought in a little Spanish vibe, which feels so quintessential San Diego."
Our favorite thing? The chic IKEA wall cabinets. If she didn't tell us, we would never have known they were from the affordable high-street retailer. But we're so glad she did.
We haven't seen dove gray look this chic before. It's anything but boring.
The Vantage Design Studio team wanted the bedroom to feel like a serene retreat. "We used many natural tones and textures to add interest while still keeping a calm feeling," she says. "We paired the wood nightstands with a striped ivory wingback headboard, which provides great contrast. The majority of the color in this room is in the gorgeous rug. It anchors the space with a beautiful mixture of blues and rust tones in a medallion pattern. "
Van Soest introduced varying hues by layering them with like tones resulting in an overarching neutral scheme.
The bathroom was also completely gutted and renovated from top to bottom. "We added a midcentury-style vanity and paired it with a black herringbone tile floor," says Van Soest. "We used the shower as an opportunity to create a strong visual interest with a geometrically patterned tile on the side walls. Matte black was used for the hardware and plumbing finishes."