One Room Challenge Week 1: Big Style In A Small Brooklyn Studio Apartment


I can’t believe that I will be participating in the One Room Challenge for the 3rd season in a row! Feels like just yesterday I was scratching my head, unsure if this thing was even for me. 

Now in case you’re now scratching your head wondering, “um, what’s the One Room Challenge?”, it’s a blogging & design event that happens every year in the Spring and Fall where designers, design bloggers, DIYers, home enthusiasts, and everything in between commit to a design for six weeks. While now a competition, everyone participating does share their progress week to week via their blog and/or social media.

It’s like a digital celebration of design & a great way to keep yourself accountable aka actual finish a project. LOL. 

The first time I participated in the One Room Challenge — Spring 2018 — I tackled our small condo balcony giving it a much needed (and very timely) refresh for the Spring and Summer months. 

In Fall 2018, my second time participating, I gave our master bedroom a long overdue grown up facelift, as it was shortly after moving our daughter into her own room, giving us our room back for the first time since she was born! 

By using renter-friendly solutions for both transformations, I was able to finally love on our condo in a way that served us functionally but also just looked really damn good. 

This time will be no different: 

  • Still tackling a rental apartment with my renter-friendly designs

  • Still looking to optimize the space with some stylish storage solutions

  • Still on a six week time crunch, while traveling — both times I participated I flew out to High Point Market in North Carolina and this is no different

But there is one MAJOR key difference this third go round that I’ll be participating in the One Room Challenge — I’m not doing my own home! 

The event has 20 featured designers (that I look forward to being part of, God willing, since two guest participants will be selected by the editors of Better Homes & Gardens as featured designers for the Fall 2019 event!) in addition to us guest participants, but for neither category does it say you have to being doing your home… so this year, I’m not. 

I’ll be tackling a studio apartment in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

Naturally I’m excited, as this’ll be my first time doing someone else’s home for the One Room Challenge. It’ll be just like any of my other online interior design (aka e-design) projects, where I’ll be working virtually with one of my favorite people in the world to transform her studio into a functional & stylish space that matches her fly. 

But there’s a twist. I will actually be flying out to New York to install the project. Fun fact: this’ll be my first time back in my home state since moving out West in 2016, so totally a big deal. 

Not only do I get to do this killer project, I am getting on a plane, and basically going back to my roots. 

What do you need to know?

From now through May 9th, you can follow along with all the participants — myself included — over on the One Room Challenge Spring 2019 blog

Here on the blog, on my YouTube channel, and on Instagram you can totes see everything I’m up to for this project — from the design concept and renderings to my installation in New York. Because this event is kicking off the same week I head out to High Point Market as part of the Design Bloggers Tour (you’re probably reading this while I’m there), it’s perfect in terms of timing because I can get inspired & maybe tweak the design over the course of the next 6 weeks, as oppose to stopping mid way to travel, like I did during the Fall One Room Challenge

Now let’s talk about the design —

you didn’t think I’d wouldn’t share at least something about it did you?

I am super thrilled to be redesigning this studio apartment for a few reasons — 

  • The apartment belongs to one of my favorite humans ever, one of my best friends, and so to be doing this for her is an absolute honor

  • For this design, I will be working with some of my favorite companies in the industry to create a functional & stylish studio apartment design — I have teamed up with Apt2B to introduce apartment friendly furnishings into the space, while Simplify Storage will be coming on board to assist with the apartments’ lack of storage

  • With about 400 sq ft of living space to  work with — might even be less — I get to really flex my small space living design muscle, because I truly believe that you can have big style in a small space

  • Y’all know I live for some renter friendly upgrades , so this being a rental and all, I get to share with you some ideas outside of my home

The biggest challenge I’m going to be designing around is that storage is severely lacking, which isn’t completely surprising in for a New York studio apartment. But the fun doesn’t stop at storage — I will also be working on getting pieces that are the right scale aka apartment friendly to improve the flow of the space. And then lastly of course, making everything pretty! If time permits — it is only 6 weeks after all — I’ll sprinkle some magic touches in the kitchen and bathroom as well, because why not. 

While she’s a super fashionable, youthful, and chic New York City gal on the go, her apartment definitely doesn’t match her personality and it’s time to change that.

So often we let life get in the way of us making our homes as amazing as we possibly can — every other commitment takes precedent from work to family to whatever else adulting requires of us, so I love when I can step in and lift that weight off my client’s shoulders.

Here’s my to do list:

  • improve the flow & function of the small space by maximizing the existing footprint

  • create a functional entryway, even when the apartment doesn’t actually have one

  • introduce storage solutions to create a space that’s both functional & stylish

For all of this to happen remotely in a 6 week time frame, there will be a lot of purging, preparation, and prayer that needs to take place. Talk about an exciting challenge! After having done two of these I have learned that despite the best laid plans, everything may not pan out…and that’s okay! Here’s a peek — just a peek — at what I have in mind for the transformation.

Big Style In A Small Brooklyn Studio | Albie Knows

Next week a few more details will be finalized — and I’ll be back from Market — so I’ll be sharing the actual design plan, from concept to tentative renderings, just like any other one of my projects. Each week, you be able to always go back and see the weeks prior so you can keep up but for real time updates, you’re definitely gonna wanna hang out with me on Instagram

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Albie Knows