When it comes to small spaces, I choose to celebrate them! You see, I am quite fond of old houses and, because many of them come with little rooms, I consider these modest spaces an important part of the overall character. A home comprised entirely of tiny rooms might be challenging, but a few can be charming – even special if thoughtfully appointed. So let me share examples from our home. These rooms are decorated with function, flow, and aesthetics in mind.
But first, it’s my pleasure to announce the winner of the 6 Wilson pillow drawing chosen randomly at 10:00 PM on 2/15/14 via random.org. There were 144 entries, but three were duplicate / clarification comments.
Congrats to anonymous comment #6 – Barbara P (pligko)! Carol will email you for shipping info. Many thanks to everyone for participating in this drawing. I hope you all will continue visiting 6 Wilson. I am especially grateful to Carol
for her generosity!
Now let’s start the tour:
Guests are greeted in our 7′ 4″ x 6′ 2″ entry foyer located on the side. For reference, the average sofa is about 7′ long.
Originally, there wasn’t a foyer as the front door, located in the center, opened ungraciously right into the living room. (See before photos below.) During the renovation, a portion of the wraparound porch was converted into the new entry vestibule.
This simple foyer is furnished exclusively with antiques. The Swedish console is long, narrow, and airy. Its drawers are perfect for keys, gloves, etc., while the open legs allow the French iron stools to be tucked under. Not all the furniture in a small room should be undersized. One large statement piece can create an illusion of scale. Here, I’ve chosen a French trumeau mirror to do just that. On the console is an early barometer.
On the other side is the coat closet. Embellishing these doors would draw attention to their short stature, so I opted for molding-free jib doors with concealed hinges and sliver-thin pulls.
The tole sconces and iron umbrella stand are French from the early 1900s – imagine the fish “swimming in the water” from wet umbrellas.
The entry leads into the 9′ x 7′ 8″ conservatory, which was formerly a dated sunroom with partially glazed windows, terra-cotta tiles, and pine paneling. A large skylight, floor-to-ceiling windows, and limestone flooring completely changed this little room.
There are two sitting rooms directly off the conservatory, so I mainly use it to grow my beloved topiaries.
What’s this? A red geranium?? 🙂 The blackbird is from a cute shop in Brooklyn, NY.
Once again, I’ve furnished this room with smaller-scaled antiques such as the American Delaware blanket chest, French iron bench, and Swedish table. The exception is this tall Swedish Gustavian corner cabinet to take the eye up. Even with all the furniture and plants, there is ample room to walk through.
Please step inside our compact 4′ 5″ x 6′ powder room. There is a pocket door, which I highly recommend for small spaces such as closets, bathrooms, etc. To not crowd the room, I chose an open-leg sink console from Waterworks. An antique French silver gilt mirror is flanked by sconces made from architectural elements.
The group of 17th century German garden studies add impact and scale. They are almost like window panes looking out to garden plots. And the architectural zinc corbel ties to the sconces’ curlicues. Five years later, I’m still searching for that just-right wallpaper 🙂
Finally, our sunny mudroom which we added during the renovation. Notice the abundance of natural light and airiness. Since there are two closets to the right, storage is not an issue here. When I found this antique pine piece in France, I knew it would make an unusual but special focal point for this casual space. It’s open shelves are decorative and sensible – no need for cumbersome doors. Also, vaulted ceilings with exposed beams give the room extra height and volume.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our small spaces. Remember, a tiny room does have to be forgettable!!
– Consider using antiques and vintage pieces as these are usually smaller. Plus, being one of a kind, they are sure to stand out.
– Do include something larger, showy, or unexpected for scale and impact.
– A table with legs allows a stool or two underneath, which can be pulled out for seating when needed.
– When space is tight, try a pocket door.
– Open shelves are airier and do not have cumbersome doors.
– If you can’t expand out, then go up. Add volume with vaulted ceilings.
– Bring in more natural light with skylights, taller windows, cupolas, transoms, etc.
Until next time ~
Loi, your small spaces are beautiful!!! Love the details and coat closet, great job!!
Hugs from Belgrade!
your home is so beautiful. i don't know if i had seen the exterior- that shot has me wishing for spring!
Oh thanks so much for the tour Loi! Our 1830's home has tiny rooms, so these ideas are very helpful!
Loi, You are so talented! I love seeing a vision with the before and after photos! I am also so very fond of all the wonderful antique pieces that you have lovingly placed throughout your home. I think the world needs to see antiques that are not only collected and coveted but used in every day lives. As always, it is such a pleasure to wake up and read one of your pots! Off to church…XO Allison
Your home is marvelous. Thank you for sharing these tips!
Loi, I love when you share more of your home. These spaces are perfect. I just love all your antiques. The large mirror in the foyer made me gasp!
Hello Loi, You really have made the most of these spaces. I notice that a lot of your solutions focus the eye against the wall, then across or up, thus maximizing the room's apparent space and dimensions. I think that the wide mats on the prints have a similar effect.
Loi, I need an oxygen tank by my side every time I come to see you because again, you make me take a deep sigh.
I don't know where to begin but let me just say that you and Tom rock. You know exactly how to create a MOOD, not just fill a room with things.
Like many other blogging friends who have opened my eyes to color, art and other ideas, you have confirmed to me that a mix of elements makes up the whole. I see how using French, Swedish and early American can work together, when keeping within a common mood. What can I say about the renovation of your sun room? TOTAL GENIUS. I think that NATURAL LIGHT is our biggest gift and the least expensive of all the elements, and to thoughtfully arrange a room according to allowing this light to come in is not only challenging, but exciting. Finding what works with what you have is brilliant.
The tones of light and gray, green and natural light browns is perfect. You are simply the best. We had our builder come over last Sunday to measure our vaulted ceilings so he can install our exposed BEAMS!!!!!!!! I am glad to hear you say that beams can add height and though our room is large and airy, the higher the feeling, the better for me.
Thank you dear and talented Loi, for sharing your beautiful world with us. Happy Love to you and Tom, forever! Anita
Thanks so much, Anita! Good luck with your beams – hope we can see them soon 🙂
Hi Loi, what beautifully appointed spaces. Every detail is lovely! A priority for my next house is a sunny spot to keep plants.
I am always in awe when I see your work and especially your home! Thank you for sharing all the wonderful, useful tips! The mirror in the foyer is remarkable and shows your point perfectly!
MC and I look forward to your Posts so very much. Thank you !!!!!
Loi…your home looks amazing…every detail and space has been thought out perfectly. I love it!
Oh my. I'm getting the vapors. So spectacular. And that massive emerald green tureen? Something tells me I can't order that on replacements.com!
I just love seeing the process and thought behind the process! Love all you do!
Just exquisite. Your home is a true reflection of you–warm, inviting and pure. Thank you for inviting us in. Best, Beth C.
Hi Loi, This is a fantastic tutorial. I do love these small spaces. Each one has it's own particular soul. The topiary room is my favorite; they all sing their special tunes. Be well. xoxoxoxo
Oooops, I forgot the powder room—-love at first sight, espeically with the antique engravings and their counterpoint simple black frames.
Hi Loi! I'll be tagging this post to reference during our renovation. We are downsizing will be reconstructing a smaller home (oh my nerves! ..and I do wish you weren't so far away) I feel your home is a happy place and I sense a calmness that is wonderful. The soft, neutral color is my preference and your placement of the antiques really changes the feel of these small spaces. I imagine that you've spent a lot of time in the conservatory with all the weather you've had. The little red geranium bud is beautiful! Geraniums are everywhere here in WA state:) I plant them in pots, and group by color. Enjoy your weekend! xxL
Hi Loi! I so enjoyed seeing your before photos. Yes, I would trade homes with you…minus your frigid weather of course :)! I absolutely agree with your feelings on small spaces and the character they add. Your conservatory and mudroom are beautiful, love the french pine piece and always appreciate your attention to detail. Excellent!
Hi Loi! Exquisite, all of it! So many times small spaces are ignored, now after seeing what you've done I'm inspired!
BEAUTIFUL…….at first I thought this was a clients home then when you should a photo of your beloved topiary's!!!I have never seen such height in such a small pot!I would LOVE To own a few of those…………..what plant is that may I inquire?YOu have the EYE…….thats for certain.I'm enjoying your posts very much!
Thanks! The topiaries are myrtles. I highly recommend them. And be carfeul: highly addictive!!! 🙂
FYI….your blog is one of my favorites…..
And….I spy a lovely radiator! Oh how I long for ours of our former house…this forced hot air (and the vents are in the ceiling!!) is just terrible for me, the furniture, and the plants. Lovely, lovely tour as ever. Your house is so light and airy!
All your choices, whether in furniture, accessories or even closet doors are so perfect. Your taste is exquisite.
Congratulations to Barbara – hope that she enjoys the pillow.
It is very revealing to see how you have worked your magic on the 'before' and 'after' photos.
Now, did that little red geranium bud sneak into your home under the pretence of being a white one?
What a beautiful way of "introducing" your home. I have always admired your topiaries.
I'm with Anita! I need oxygen when I look at your posts, especially when you do a post of your home. The corner cabinet is simply amazing and oh so perfect for that corner. The conservatory and topiaries!!! Oh my word. And don't even get me started on your roof–LOVE!
Have a fantabulous day.
Loi, once again you amaze me with your talent and your restraint in designing your lovely and inviting home. Truly amazing.
It's funny, but I am always drawn to the small spaces in any home, including my own. We spend most of our time in the library of our home which is much smaller that other living areas, but has a warmth and coziness that I find so inviting. Love your cozy rooms and I would live in the conservatory with your gorgeous topiaries and heavenly sunshine!!
How to start! Oh how relaxing and inspiring touring the small spaces of your and Tom's antique's packed home is. I love the architectural elements in the powder room, I adore your mudroom and how light filled all the rooms are. Your topiaries be still my heart, you skillfully manicure and grow beauty, stunning. I like your green accents which add interest to the neutrals. I think your skylight is just totally amazing…whimsy fills your home and strongly suggests two fun loving and interesting men have made a house into a loving home. I want a little black bird, too cute!
By the way Loi what is your cute dog's name? This post will be visited over and over again by me, thank you for touching my day with such beauty.
Beautiful! Such great tips, Loi. As I'm putting things together in our new house, I'll keep many of these tips in mind!
i could not agree with your principles more loi, but in your hands such magic! seeing a post from you equates taking a deep breath and the preparation for enjoying a moment of sheer beauty. the foyer is splendid and noted the graceful lines of the ceiling. ahhhh, the conservatory, oh so soothing and imaginative, i could go on, and on
thank you for sharing my friend
Just stunning, each and every image. It all says you and your style. Those concealed doors are perfect and the craftsmanship is exquisite. Love all you've done.
Hi Loi ~ thanks for showing your beautiful small spaces. Thanks also for the great tips. Patty
It is so funny, I was walking home and thinking that I need to take more photos (esp. vignettes) of my place. I love everything you did. I need some new adjectives other than WOW!!! and OH MY!!! :]
1) the front of the house looks like it was ALWAYS like that and the fact that it wasn't seems bizarre.
2) LOVE the bigger windows in the solarium and of course the topiaries. extraordinary! (lol on the before light fixtures, although much better than a ceiling fan with lights. haha! but couldn't they have at least painted the ugly wainscoting? guess not.)
3) the Swedish corner piece is sublime and looks like it came with the house!
4) bench and pillows, just exquisite
5) the powder room is AMAZING! What I think makes it totally rock are the black-framed prints. A little bit of black is one of my fave tricks.
Hard to photograph such a small space, but you did a wonderful job as always! xoxo
and finally love all the advice!
Thank you, Laurel 🙂 You will just have to visit in person, my friend!
Loi, you've created an exquisite home and it is so airy and light and gentle. You and Tom must take great respite when you walk in the doors!!!
Such beautiful and beautifully-appointed spaces!!! Xoxo Terri
Your spaces are all so lovely! I could move right in and feel right at home 🙂
You are an alchemist, my friend!
There is nothing on this earth that is as soothing to me as symmetry and tonal balance.
You have achieved this in abundance…and I would follow you to the ends of the earth to see more! LOL!
Hello Loi, Congratulations to the winners of the Pillow. I love the architecture of your house and the renovations you did. My favourite room is the Conservatory. So full of light, so comfortable and full of your pretty topiaries. You can have an Afternoon tea party in there. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you again for sharing the great links to 6 Wilson. Her work is stunning. Congratulations to your lucky winner!
Oh my goodness….your home is so beautiful. I love all your great suggestions. I especially enjoyed the before and after photos. It is amazing how the conservatory came together by adding floor to ceiling windows and the skylights. I think that is my favorite space in your home. How can you not love the place where all your beautiful topiary live? Thanks for the inspiration!
I adore everything you do! + especially the small rooms + congratulations to the winner + great tips you have there. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com
Your beautiful home is filled with sunshine, peace and tranquility that floats from room to room, creating an aura of loveliness and warmth, which is repeated in the architecture, furnishings and accessories. Your sensitive design sense, along with the incredible work you have done, is more than evident to bring in its present day luster. Thank you for sharing your expertise in elegance, and making it look effortless, so that we may try to emulate your creative essence and flair.
I'm impressed an amazed as always, Loi! Your house could not be any lovelier.
Loi, your home is lovely, and, of course, you have the talent to make it extra special. I fell in love with the Gustavian corner cabinet. Thanks for letting all of us see your home.
Loi, I love being invited into your home. It is just beautiful. There's so much great inspiration here. I, too, am fond of older homes and antiques! My first house was full of quirky little spaces and I just loved it. Our current home that I moved into when I got married is a totally remodeled house from the 30s – the updates went a little too far for my taste and it lost some of it's charm, which we've tried to restore. It does have a few small spaces, and I'm filing away your tips here to make better use of them! Thank you.
What a treat to see some of your special "small" spaces! I especially love what you did to that outdated sunroom- The conservatory is FABULOUS with that gorgeous sky light and those wonderful floor to ceiling windows- Then that limestone flooring is just perfect! That antique pine piece you have in your mudroom is so pretty and unusual-Love the ambiance it brings to the room- Can't get over what a difference the changes to your front landscaping make, as well as your paint choices, to your home's overall appearance! A really fabulous job! You definitely have a gift _ Would love to see more of your befores and afters! Also want to thank you for the opportunity to win one of Carol's fabulous pillow covers since I was the lucky person who WON!!! What a WONDERFUL surprise to see the email from Carol. A HUGE THANKYOU to you BOTH!!! Barbara P from MA
Thank you for entering the giveaway, Barbara! I hope you enjoy your pillow from 6 Wilson. Please keep in touch.
Loi- I adore your home. Every vignette is just perfect and beautiful and restrained and special. I could go and on. Love it all.
Loi, I love to look, study and be inspired here, time after time….every little corner is perfect…your design sense is my idea of beauty and function..thank you for sharing this, N.xo
Such pretty little gems. I have quite a few small spaces in our home, so your tips are welcome.
I enjoy seeing the before and after of each of the rooms you've shared. Your home is truly one of my favorites.
This is just a lovely post. I've come back to it again and again today. What a peaceful home.
Beautiful, as always! Your light filled spaces are a study in cozy restraint.
The coat closet doors are just a nice detail.
So beautiful Loi…your posts are always pure inspiration to me. I look forward to seeing your progress in Maine as well. Two beautiful homes in one country, I am envious! Thank you for your recent comments, always lovely to hear from you. I hope you have a chance to visit Vietnam one day, it would be fascinating to follow your journey. Sending you warm wishes from Saigon Loi… Spring is in the air, a wonderful time of year, not too hot! 😉
This is a fantastic post Loi- good ol meat and potatoes info with your magic touch; a perfect primer on small spaces. . I love your powder room – never saw that when I was over! Your design, the light infused architecturally, your beautiful pieces all make it so uniquely you (and Tom!) This makes me miss our visits. We've got to catch up soon. xo Nancy
Very cool Loi!
I so agree with you about small spaces, Loi, and I love what you've done to your house. Your rooms are works of art.
Loi your home is so lovely, every room sings with delight. O adore the tole sconces!
The Arts by Karena
Loi, every nook and cranny in your magnificent home is just amazingly beautiful! Well-curated, tasteful, elegant and yet oh-so warm! I love your Topiary sunroom the most, it's like being in a dream!!! Love it all dear! Have a great week! Thank you for the tips too!
I love that tole sconce. It seems like beautiful pieces find their way to you, knowing that you will allow them to shine. I adore small spaces, I always have. Something about being cozy and cocooned and safe. You are a master of the topiary too, and that alone is reason to love you.
Hi Loi – sorry if this is a duplicate comment, my first did not appear here. Every inch of your home is beautiful! Thanks for the tour and for your tips. Also, what type of stone is on the bathroom vanity, if you do not mind me asking?
Thanks for asking, Deborah. It is limestone – color is taupe gray.
Nice post Loi..
I love that
Loi, as someone living in a 1400 square foot home with no entry, no coat closet, and no powder room (only 1 full bath), nothing about your home looks small to me! 🙂
mmmmmmm i love the atmosphere of your home. and i think small rooms are so frequently neglected. i have a small bathroom to which i must turn my attention, and i love the idea of making it memorable. thanks for sharing the wealth of your wisdom and lovely.
Your taste and style never cease to make me stop and stare and your images. Your home is lovely, and that corner cabinet is just amazing. Thanks so much for hosting the giveaway, Loi. It was an absolute joy to share my shop with your readers, and I so appreciate your generosity in hosting it. Sorry I am late to this post! I don't know how I missed it!! xx
It was my pleasure, Carol. Absolutely!! Thank YOU!
You have the best advice!
I am IN LOVE with the antique barometer on your entry!! So pretty….
I love that you've maintained the layout of this beautiful house. Your collection of antiques are so unique and wonderful. The barometer is so unusual. Great tips for small places!
Fascinating tour. Did you extend the lawn in front of the house? It seems bigger in the "after" picture; if you did I suppose it then drops down quite sharply to the street.
Yes, we extended the front lawn – good eye! We installed 2 retaining walls to terrace the slope.
I always love seeing new spaces in your home – beautiful!
I would never have had the vision to raise the grade of your property like that. Of course your work is just stunning. I love every vignette in your home.
Lové, your home and your design style is really a peaceful place to rest in its beauty.
Your foye invites you in setting the tone to what to expect, it's just divine.
A beautiful week to you.
Love your entry mirror and corner cabinet, drooling!
I really appreciate all the thought you've put into the different redesigns for your house, especially that beautiful conservatory. I'm sure the traffic flow through your house is smoother and that it is a more dramatic unfolding for your guests.
What a delightful and informative post! I thoroughly enjoyed visiting your small spaces. With your clever handling, they actually seem quite large! Thank you, Loi, for sharing your design solutions.
Wishing you some warm weather,
Loi, I love that you never overlook any part of your home, but instead, turn each nook and cranny into beautiful and inviting spaces! I envy you the conservatory and mudroom, and I adore that Swedish corner cabinet…gorgeous!
You never cease to amaze me with your talent, Loi! What an incredible transformation!!
The Glam Pad
Loi–I keep returning to this post in my inbox . . . Every image is so beautiful. Your home feels loved, and certainly has a patina brought only through beautiful antiques . . . But it is so soothing and calm and just serene. Inviting, but peaceful. It's a perfect balance. Could, literally, move right in and not change a single detail. I love, love, love how you extended the front yard–what a difference! Now, how much longer before we see your garden bursting with life again? It's happening here in The Woodlands–tiny plants re-emerging from their winters sleep. I'm giddy with anticipation! XOXOXO–Amanda
how did you extend the front yard? I too have a front yard with a hill. I love love love your. It is just amazing Thank you for the blog
Thank you, Anonymous. We added two retaining walls: top one to support the lawn and a lower one to hold the holly trees. Picture a 2-level terrace.
Loi, Visionary. True visionary are you!!!!
You had me on the front door after! That could be an entire post!
You are so like this friend of mine whose home is quite spare and beautiful. Every time I would leave her home, I would come home and eliminate something in mine. When I see images of your home, the art of refining inspires me again. And your very light Swedish antiques are perfect there. Thanks for all the tips on small rooms; I have a bevy of them. In at least one of my fantasy houses, open rooms will be a must.
Also love your topiaries everywhere especially the conservatory. Mine always seem to dry out and wind up looking very sad. In my fantasy house, they will thrive.
Greetings! You have a very happy home, it is also very inviting and cozy.
We have the same problem in our house, no formal entry, we decided to convert the small front porch into a formal entry. Last fall we went through the plans, even selected the materials a new door and even stone to go on the outside. But then guess what? Our contractor vanished, haven't heard from him since….
How we have missed the elegance of 'Tone on Tone' and such a joy to return to this most delightful of posts which affords us a sneak peek into your lovely house.
It is so true that small spaces can be amongst the most successful, whether they be indoors or outside. And yes, the inclusion of a large statement piece does add a scale and a sense of importance to an area which may otherwise be overlooked as insignificant, we used to employ this very often in the garden, including large urns on plinths where owners felt there was insufficient room. It always worked to great effect.
The first impressions given to your visitors by the hall are pure delight. The console table is particularly fine and, how wonderful that it is also so practical. The perfect entrance and a wonderful way to 'set the scene' for all the other rooms of your house.
Thank you so much for your warmly welcoming comment. We have missed you.
Your attention to detail is beyond perfection. I could spend hours reading and rereading this post. I love the seamless flow from room to room. And those darn topiaries are absolutely amazing. I cannot believe that you have grown them into trees! Absolutely loved the tour!
So stunning Loi! You are the Master of symmetry my friend! Absolute perfection! Congrats to the winner too! xx
Your small (and big) spaces are AMAZING! When I see your house I feel like it is so soothing and serene and quietly elegant. Just gorgeous…what a fabulous job you have done, you must be so proud! The mudroom/sunroom and bathroom are just stunning! Enjoy your weekend.
How are you this sunny morning, here in Wales anyway 🙂
By British standards, these look like fairly large spaces to me. We are used to small rooms, lack of building space and easier to heat make small spaces the normal.
Beautiful tour and presentation.
Have a wonderful week.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: your home is the perfect balance of grace and comfort. And I don't think I've seen "before" pictures of the exterior and it's so helpful to see how you've taken an already-beautiful home into one that is even more welcoming and useful for your everyday life. I especially love the foyer. The light and furnishings make it such a spectacular place to welcome guests.
Every single detail is perfection. It feels so calm. I absolutely love your home. thanks so much for sharing. Mona
Loi, Please pop over for a lovely giveaway that I am hosting, for a pair of rough linen pillowslips that will inspire dreams!
Loi your home is just amazing…I love to see it and could enjoy your photos all day…so inspiring!
How I love your home…oh, every time I come here I gasp, Loi!
I so love when you visit me; I don't have much to share about my home or garden, but you still come to say hello. I so appreciate that Loi, because you are a very special blog friend to me. May all the rich gifts of love and miracles be YOURS always; and teaching young people French is a great job. Teaching them to believe in themselves and that they can make a difference is indeed, a miracle.
May you and Tom be well! I cannot WAIT to see what you have to share about spring in both your homes!
SmALL says it all!! franki
Loi, I don't know how I missed this post. Your home is lovely! It has great curb appeal and also a warmth inside. I love your choices of antiques combined with the calming palette. It makes the beautiful pieces really stand out even more. I'm jealous of that sunroom. So gorgeous and love the entry as well!
Loved seeing your home. So glad you shared it.
I love this garden room! Thanks for inspiring me—going topiary shopping right now!
Thanks for the tour around your lovely home. Everything is so festive and amazing, I specially love the vignette with the vintage suitcase! Thanks for sharing.
Design Ideas For Rustic Vibe In Futuristic Home
Jaw dropping Loi. I mean that bathroom is what dreams are made of. Could not pin fast enough for some serious inspiration. Really you have such an exceptional eye for design and scale plus you edit with a stern hand to achieve perfection.
Hello Loi!! It is so nice to meet you! I came over from Kims. I am browsing around your BEAUTIFUL home! So far I love every bit. Your antique pieces are wonderful. Oh how I wish there had been blogging 20 years ago, I would have been collecting antiques then. My home has some very treasured pieces that I have inherited from my in-laws, mostly all from Japan, India etc. (My FIL was a pilot). I will be your newest follower. Pinky