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Linny Giffin, fiber artist and co-founder of The Lemon Collective, moved into her live/work space in Washington, D.C.’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood a year and a half ago. Since then she’s cracked the code on how to make each of its 350 square feet work for her nine-to-five job and everything in between. The key? An uncompromising concept, strict color palette and decisive shopping.

To make sure she chose the best possible plan for the combination home/studio, Linny took her time. “I wanted to develop a vision and observe what I was drawn to design-wise,” she says. This process eventually led Linny to a laid-back, coastal look filled with accessories in varying shades of her two favorite colors: peach and orange. Sticking to this color story has helped the studio’s four corners fold into one another, effectively making her “California cool” space feel larger.

Since the apartment is so small, the furniture Linny sourced couldn’t just fit within her West Coast motif. Each piece also had to promote productivity. Dual-purpose options like a lightweight credenza that doubles as a desk have proven successful. These items let her turn the apartment’s common space into a fully-functional workshop, then back to a relaxing living room in a flash.

Scroll down to see how Linny’s hacked each square foot of her breezy design. Then check out our Best-Kept Secrets column and this collection of our favorite studio apartments for more tips on how to live big in a small space. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Laura Metzler

Image above: The wooden door near Linny’s bed leads to the fire escape – her favorite hangout spot. She says standing there and looking out over the city makes her feel connected to the neighborhood.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


The footprint of Linny’s 350-square-foot live/work space.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


These pillows in peach and orange – Linny’s favorite colors – informed her home’s color palette.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


Since the studio is so small, any new addition makes a big impact. This means Linny doesn’t have to spend a fortune to switch up its style.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


There are several items dotting the surfaces around her space, but Linny keeps her home looking tidy by only purchasing accessories that are “unique but neutral.”

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


Linny says the accessories throughout her studio show off her love for “… travel, art, beauty and spirituality.”

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


The sofa is a thrift store find.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


Linny loves her Washington, D.C. neighborhood. She says, “Mt. Pleasant has managed to maintain its charm with a tight-knit, diverse community that support(s) the bounty of small businesses on the main street. It feels like a small town and really is quite pleasant.”

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


Being a fiber artist by trade, you would think Linny’s walls would display her own work. She fell so in love with this vintage piece by Don Freedman, though, she ended up giving him the best spot in the apartment. “The inside of my brain looks something like that weaving,” she says.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


This light in the hallway reminds Linny of Morocco – one of her favorite travel destinations.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


“I love how my home fosters creativity.” – Linny Giffin

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


All of Linny’s work gets made right here. “I often set up my sewing machine on that desk or pull the desk out into the middle of the floor to set up a big office. I like how I can adapt everything to my needs,” Linny explains.

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


“This is where I hang out answering emails and setting off the smoke alarm.” – Linny Giffin

Living & Working in 350 Square Feet, Design*Sponge


Paint by numbers had a major resurgence a few years back, and for a while they dominated the blogosphere. By pairing hers with mudcloth wallpaper, Linny’s made her horse print feel unexpected and fresh.



Hand chair – Anthropologie
Floor length mirror – CB2
Arrow – All Roads Design
Basket necklace – Mexico
Acrylic table – All Modern
Chairs, copper watering can – thrift store
Ceramic wall hanging – Linny

Living Room
Wallpaper – Kathryn Zaremba
Brass lighting, hand – GoodWood
Couch – Habitat for Humanity Restore
Fur – Ikea
Tapestry – Don Freedman
End tables – Target
Coffee table, brass planter – thrift store
Rug, candlestick – Marrakesh

Wallpaper – Spoonflower
Bust, chairs, chandelier, artwork – vintage
Dish set – Urban Outfitters
French press – Le Creuset
Vase – Anthroplogie
Table – All Modern
Rug – Essaouira
Candle – Handmade Habitat
Pottery – Kathryn Zaremba
Textile – GoodWood

Floor lamp – thrift store
Pillows – Kip and Co.
Bedding – Morocco
Sconces – Urban Outfitters
Mirror – GoodWood
Vases – Anthropologie
Dresser – Habitat for Humanity Restore
Photograph – Jimmy and Jesse Chamberlin
Curtain tie back – vintage

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