Magazine article Sunset

Slim Solutions

Magazine article Sunset

Slim Solutions

Article excerpt

On a beachfront full of houses, narrow is normal. This Manhattan Beach home--whose living room measures 22 feet wide and opens onto a small deck--offers typical space-planning challenges. Interior designer Tim Clarke responded by stripping away layers of architecture. "The ceiling is pushed up against the roof--there's barely room for can lighting," he says. "We did everything we could to make sure every inch was maximized." Then, Clarke worked out a floor plan that took into account the view and the bronze fireplace.

"I try to make the house feel just as good on foggy days as on sunny ones."

DESIGN Tim Clarke, Santa Monica; timclarkedesign.com.

DESIGNER TRICKS FOR CHALLENGING SPACES

1. Vary furniture size. Clarke mixed the scale of the furnishings relative to one another to keep the room from looking blocky. He chose one big foundation piece, the sofa, then added seating and accents that are progressively smaller.

2. Let light travel. The clerestory windows are hardworking, despite their small size. That's because balanced light sources are especially important in narrow spaces for even light distribution, Clarke says. A mirror hung opposite a window can fake the effect.

3. Be subtle with pattern. Layers of textures in the pillows and antique rug keep this room interesting without relying on a bold pattern, which can knock a room out of balance. "If you're trying to make a small room not feel small, it's better to not have anything be the star," Clarke says. "Everything should be in a supporting role. …

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