Small Space Living: Designer Christine Ralphs’ Glamorous Condo
“I’ve loved the glamor of small spaces ever since I lived in London, England,” says Christine Ralphs, president and co-founder of Lloyd Ralphs Design. But small urban condos can be a serious design challenge. “There are two ways to go when approaching a small space,” says the designer. “Increase the clutter and give in to the chaos, or create a neutral palette throughout to make the space seem open and fresh.” Christine opted for the latter, working in statement pieces, textured accents and warm metals to balance the crisp aesthetic.
This mix has become her signature and has made her a favorite among the chic set — she helped launch the Club Monaco brand in 1985 and counts beauty brands, exotic hotels and fashionable homeowners among her clients. The condo is the smallest home Christine has ever lived in (she’s had 11 to date, with several featured in House & Home), and clever storage is the hardworking assistant behind the breezy scheme. Click through for a look inside.
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Christine plays up the condo’s gallery vibe by combining her white leather Barcelona chairs with a pair of white slipper sofas pushed together to make a 10-foot-long seat in the living room. An oversized painting, meanwhile, counters the whiteness with abstract strokes of contrasting black. “Think big — in size and attitude,” she advises. “Fewer larger pieces can make a small room feel more spacious.”
While small spaces risk feeling confining, Christine’s choices create the opposite effect. “I can just turn the key and be off to some place by the water,” she says. “Less stuff means an easier escape.”
A 10-foot-long island is the kitchen’s central feature. “It doubles as a dining table, and serves as an incredibly practical desk and work table,” says Christine.
“I’ve always called my homes ‘the land of cupboards,’” says Christine. “Storage is essential if you want to create a feeling of space.” In the kitchen, built-in appliances free up countertops while a cubist vase and Karl Lagerfeld portrait keep it fun.
Christine accented the white kitchen with gold-toned metal stools, brass drawer pulls and a matching gooseneck faucet. The black, white and gold mix carries over to the art wall, where a vintage wire sunburst keeps company with a trio of black and white photographs.
Christine’s bedroom showcases a collection of her favorite artifacts accumulated over the years. A large mirror visually expands one wall.
Christine uses the bedroom windowsill to display a set of clay obelisks and Richard Avedon books. “I had the honor of working with Avedon on two Club Monaco ad campaigns,” she says. “All of these objects give me joy.”
“Bedside tables are just another area for clutter,” says Christine, who built in several tall closets instead. A twig mirror and white bedding create a soothing escape.
Organic details, such as the raffia tassel that adorns the door to the bathroom and the touches of greenery, bring the room’s modern lines down to earth.