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See this 275-square-foot studio go from boring to beautiful

A vacation home needs lots of storage and plenty of private areas where individuals can grab some alone time away from friends and family members. Getting all that in a 275-square-foot beach-side vacation studio created a puzzle for the homeowners.

A wall separating the kitchen made the studio feel more cramped than necessary. The homeowners, a couple, knew that maximizing the living area would make things feel more spacious.

The homeowners hired designer Danielle Perkins for help. After gutting the space, Perkins enlarged the opening to the kitchen and reconfigured its layout.

Finding the right bed setup posed a big challenge. One of the homeowners, who is over 6 feet tall, needed something large enough to fit his frame. A comfortable bed was the priority for the other homeowner. They ran through several scenarios, from Murphy beds to a bed on a pulley that could be raised to the ceiling when not in use. The gray sofa bed on the left with an 8-inch mattress was the winning solution. “It’s the largest-depth mattress for a sofa bed,” Perkins says.

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A pair of lightweight stools offer easy-to-move seating and table options. “With the pullout bed, a coffee table wouldn’t have been useful in this situation,” Perkins says.

The cabinets above the closet perfectly store two boogie boards and two beach chairs. Perkins reconfigured the closet to create a niche for recessing a warm wood dresser that stores extra clothes, so the couple can drop what they’re doing on a whim and head to the beach for the weekend without needing to pack.

The TV is on a swing arm so they can watch from the bed.

Perkins introduced apartment-sized appliances to maximize cabinetry in the kitchen. For the tricky tight corner to the left of the stove, she used recessed knobs on the slim drawers so the larger drawers on the left could be opened.

Plank vinyl flooring holds up against water and sand that gets dragged in from the beach.

A prefabricated 24-inch granite bullnose countertop helped keep costs lower than if they had gone with a granite slab that they would have had to cut to size. “A slab would have been up to $2,000 or $3,000,” Perkins says. “This prefab countertop cost $700.”

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One of the homeowners chose the backsplash tile because it reminded her of mermaid scales, perfect for a beach house. “It brings so much character and brightness,” Perkins says.

Perkins brought the fish in for the photo shoot. The couple would have loved to have kept it, but it wasn’t practical for a vacation home.

A window seat has its own TV, reading lamp and outlets. Storage beneath the custom cushion holds a beach umbrella and other gear. The seat’s diagonal shape allows the end drawers to open all the way.

The previous bathroom layout was a bit tight and didn’t maximize storage. Not to mention the awkwardly placed shower spigot.

A new hand shower allows the couple to easily rinse off dirty feet after coming back from the beach. The cultured marble surround is a low-maintenance surface.

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Two 36-inch-high mirrored medicine cabinets hold lotions, shampoos and extra bathroom supplies.

An extra-long shower curtain gives height to the space, while running the countertop over the toilet maximized the countertop surface.

Small spaces always provide plenty of design challenges, but that’s why Perkins loves them. “The puzzle is why I do this,” she says. “Otherwise you’re just picking out throw pillows all day.”

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