Before and After: This 450-Square-Foot Studio Redefines Small-Space Living

New York City living is nothing if not an exercise in clever space planning. Just ask Nicholas Obeid [an Interior Design alumnus from Michigan State University].

By: Jennifer Fernandez, Architectural Digest

New York City living is nothing if not an exercise in clever space planning. Just ask Nicholas Obeid. When the creative services manager at Jonathan Adler moved into a 450-square-foot studio in Chelsea, the challenge was not only to find a home for each of the collector’s myriad flea-market treasures but also to create a space that celebrates everyday elegance at every turn. “The common approach to a studio apartment is minimalism, but I opted for the opposite,” says Obeid.

To start, the avid entertainer insisted on two things: “a place to sit and have dinner with a friend, and a pair of bedside tables flanking a bed that wasn’t squeezed into the corner.” So before moving in, he repainted the apartment’s midnight-gray walls in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White to establish a fluid main space that could be divided into three self-contained areas—a dining room, living room, and bedroom—that would coexist without competing. While rugs and chandeliers help differentiate the spaces, Obeid also created a restrained palette for each setting that allows furnishings and artworks to make a statement without overwhelming the larger room.

Obeid’s collection of found pieces also leaves its mark. “Visiting flea markets has become a weekend ritual,” says Obeid. Among his favorite discoveries: a Guzzini brass-and-travertine table lamp that sits in his entry, gold-rimmed rocks glasses at the bar, and the midcentury daybed he reupholstered in emerald velvet that now serves as the sofa in the living area. “My best friend calls me a hoarder, but I just like things too much—decorative objects genuinely make me happy, to live with and to look at.” Thankfully, he’s found a spot for them all.

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