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Designer Turns Rundown 500-square-foot Apartment into Luxurious Home

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Article by Laura LaVoie

Off Beat Spaces shows how designer James Hong took a 500 square foot New York aparatment from rundown to luxury by repurposing items and reimagining spaces.

This video shows in only a couple of minutes what one designer could do to create an amazingly modern space while staying within what he refers to as a “modest scale.”

His work with his home shows that sometimes you just need to see the potential. Creating a beautiful space out of something that most people would have passed on is nothing less than miraculous, but if you talk to people like Hong who have done it for themselves they see it as the obvious next step.

Hong notably uses an old kitchen pot to build a sink rather than purchasing a new sink from the local home improvement store. It takes vision to combine these elements into something decorative and functional.

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500-square-foot Apartment Renovation for Work and Living by James Hong

Photo by SpacesTV on YouTube

500-square-foot Apartment Renovation for Work and Living by James Hong

Photo by SpacesTV on YouTube

In the kitchen, you can see his whimsical decorating style with the placement of a model truck alongside a ceramic cat. In tiny spaces, we often think that we need to make every square inch as functional as possible, but leaving room for fun is just as important.

500-square-foot Apartment Renovation for Work and Living by James Hong

Photo by SpacesTV on YouTube

More importantly, Hong himself is satisfied with is design and finds his home a comfortable space to live and work. Designing small spaces like this one to incorporate not only all the necessities of life but also surrounding yourself with beauty and design is itself a work of art.


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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • sesameB
    July 23, 2012, 5:09 pm


  • Cahow
    March 31, 2013, 5:27 pm

    A humble man and a genius: what an outstanding combination! Love the whimsey, LOVE that wicked purple chair with built in end-table arms. Now, THIS is >my< idea of a tiny house, complete with electric, gas, and sewer. Score!

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