Are you at wit’s end trying to figure out how to make your Tribeca loft seem just a little less cluttered? Tired of bumping your knees into everything in your minuscule Chelsea penthouse? Or maybe it’s your San Francisco Victorian or Boston brownstone that’s cramping your life and your style—townhouses are notoriously tiny.
Well, Restoration Hardware—or, excuse us, RH, as the company recently rebranded itself—knows just how you feel. Living in only a few thousand square feet can be so limiting. A homeowner really has to make some tough decisions—for example, choosing between the pewter ram’s head or the five-foot French tower clock for the living room. Whereas a more fortunate homeowner could just put them both in the living room, alongside the vintage marquee illuminated letters and the reproduction 19th century neoclassical column.
But don’t worry, because in addition to the five other glossy book-sized RH catalogs that recently landed outside our door with a thud (the catalogs arrived in a massive, eight-pound pack), Restoration Hardware also publishes a “Small Spaces” catalog, designed specifically for those of us living in such square foot-starved situations who nonetheless want “big style.”
Opening up the catalog in our own diminutive living room/kitchen/dining room, we were eager to see some aspirational furnishings for similar spaces. Maybe some tips like using silver picture frames to reflect light? Or attractive storage solutions like linen boxes/leather ottomans/faux weathered sea chests to hide items that we aren’t using (we may have flipped through a few Pottery Barn catalogs in our day)?
But apparently, Restoration Hardware’s definition of small spaces is on an entirely different scale than our and most other New Yorker’s definition of small spaces.
While we think of a “small space” as being, say, a studio under 500 square feet—which we’re sure will count as “huge” as soon as micro-units start hitting the market—Restoration Hardware apparently defines small as any house that doesn’t involve separate wings. Small as in, “not nearly as large as the country estate where we summer.”
Or, as RH puts it, “Even England’s landed gentry favored a townhouse when in town.”
So, basically, this catalog will not serve as even aspirational inspiration for the studio apartment dweller hoping to take the futon and strategically placed mirror situation to another level. But if you happen to own a second or third home that is not quite as gargantuan as your other homes, this will be right up your alley.
To appeal to a broad range of small home dwellers, RH offers ideas and furnishings for 14 different types for “small spaces”: a Parisian pied-à-terre, a London townhouse, a Malibu beach house, a San Francisco Victorian, a Boston brownstone, a West Hollywood apartment, a Napa farmhouse, an Austin bungalow, a Chelsea penthouse, a Milan appartamento, a River North row house, a Tribeca loft, a Portland warehouse and a Los Angeles bungalow.
And by ideas, we mean merely large-but-not-massive dining room tables. Or brawny leather couches that come in six lengths and two depths to meet diverse needs (the Belgian track arm leather sofa, starting at $3,065). And mirrors, of course, are still the most popular prescription for making small rooms look bigger. For example, in your San Francisco Victorian you might want to take a cue from the Victorians who “knew how to pack a grand gesture into a small space” and prop a floor-to-ceiling entablature mirror in back of your couch, starting at $2,895.