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How to give a small space a new dimension

Thursday, February 11, 2010; GZ06

Designer Ernesto Santalla paid attention to even the smallest details in remodeling and decorating Glen Ackerman's 600-square-foot Penn Quarter condo. Here are some of his tips:

-- Ruthlessly edit your possessions, keeping only what you need and use. Forget the rest.

-- Optimize your square footage by designing cabinetry, seating and shelving against windowless walls to maximize space and add visual interest.

-- Use the same materials throughout to make the space feel bigger. Here, all flooring is limestone; hardware is polished chrome; cabinets and wall panels are made of anigre, a light tan African wood.

-- Paint doors and door trim the same color as the walls to give the illusion of more space.

-- Stick to one paint color for walls. Santalla used Benjamin Moore's rich Rustic Taupe; the trim is Glacier White.

-- Choose dinnerware to complement your surroundings. Ackerman and Santalla went to Bloomingdale's and selected Vera Wang's charcoal gray Wedgwood pattern "Naturals." It matched the taupe walls and looked good on the white quartz counters (CaesarStone Blizzard). They got six place settings.

-- Create the illusion of an entry hall. Because the front door opens into the kitchen, Santalla installed an island there with barstool seating and hanging light fixtures to give the sense of a more formal entry. The countertop can be used for food preparation, as additional desk space to spread out legal papers and as a sort of entrance foyer, where a sculptural bowl filled with fruit is displayed.

-- Build a seamless wall of closets in the bedroom if possible. Santalla used frameless doors with touch latches (no visible hardware or doorknobs), creating a clean, streamlined look.

-- J.K.

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