Big Tips for Small Spaces

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Interior designer Courtney Ziething infuses big design into the smallest of spaces.

By Somer Flaherty

smallspace2

t-003Courtney Ziething’s design education
started early. A Newport Beach native, her father was a real estate agent and her mother an interior designer. “[My] playground was a construction site and upholstery and drapery work rooms,” Courtney says. As a teenager, she worked part-time at a home furnishing showroom. That solid history in design set the stage for her now 25-year career as the founder of the Newport interior design firm, C.C. and Company. Although her work has grown to include several large custom homes, she built a reputation for serious design chops creating small, intimate spaces. These are often a larger challenge because each design choice is more visible to the overall scale of the project, and the ease of function the space will have depends on those choices.

Newport Beach Magazine: Choosing the right pieces for a small space can be challenging. What is one item to splurge on?

Courtney Ziething: Mirrors—they are reflective and give movement to a space. Depending on where they are placed they can also reflect a surprise, whether it is the exterior landscape, a beautiful sunset or a great piece of art. It makes a solid wall feel endless.

NBM: What are some other accent pieces that are easy to find on a budget?

CZ: In a small space like a closet, you should have a special personal container to hold your rings, watch or wallet. A go-to special container that speaks to you with personality becomes a place you can leave your special items and always know where they are. Another must-have in a powder room is a linen hand towel. It sounds simple, but something handcrafted with a great texture really adds character to a space.

NBM: Organization seems like a key element to keeping a small space tidy. What are your tips for proper organization?

CZ: In every space, especially when designing a closet, it is important that there is a specific home for every item. It should always be user-friendly and easy to put items away. For example, I always create a hidden hinged cabinet behind mirror frames for quick and easy access to house items. Even in the smallest bathroom, it’s important to have a home for out-of-site extra toilet paper, soaps and hand towels.

NBM: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when designing for a small space?

CZ: Filling up the space with too many small little items (trinkets). It’s actually better to use less pieces, but of a larger scale, to give the illusion of a larger space.

A Perfect Fit 

Choosing the right items can make a bold statement in a small space.

Whether your design challenge is a one-bedroom Balboa bungalow, a live-work space or just small square footage for a growing family, the latest decorative answers to your design conundrums include small scale versions of large scale must-haves. NBM 

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