sneak peek: lotta nieminen


Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for small living. So nothing makes me happier than seeing small living done stylishly. Illustrator, graphic designer and art director Lotta Neiminen points out, “When you look for an apartment in New York, you generally need to leave out one of out three: location, rent or size. I wanted to live in Manhattan, and had a fixed budget when moving in, so that left me with leaving out size.” I’m sure Lotta’s European upbringing (she’s from Helsinki, Finland, and you can see her first sneak peek here) helps in making the most of a small space. She wanted something cozy, which to Lotta meant lots of natural light. Since moving to New York, her style has been colorful, both in terms of decorating and clothing, and it’s always interesting to see how those trends are reflected in her work. Thanks so much to Lotta and to Dan McMahon for the photos! — Anne

Image above: I wanted to select furniture that would keep the apartment feeling as big as possible – hence, a glass tabletop for the desk/dining table. Because I didn’t have room for much furniture, I wanted all the pieces to be very special and things I’d want to keep for the rest of my life. The Compass table legs are by Matthew Hilton, with a glass tabletop custom made in a nearby glass shop in Chinatown. I had coveted the Fredericks & Mae arrow for a long time, and it was one of the first things I got for the apartment.

Image above: I tested several throws, but it turned out that the only thing that kept the apartment looking remotely big was keeping it white. The bedside table turned bookshelf was a midnight street find on the way home from a party in Williamsburg.

See more inside Lotta’s Manhattan flat (including a floorplan!) after the jump . . .

Image above: I had a frame and couldn’t find a poster for it, so I made a collage from papers in my favorite colors. I spent more than half an hour at a local paper shop pairing up the best shades. The vase is from Chinatown, and the rococo-style table was a street find.

Image above: A mirror between the two windows made the space feel bigger. I found the frame at a flea market, and had it made into a mirror.

Image above: Fruits are as nice of a decoration and feel as good as flowers.

Image above: I saw a branch lamp online and was on the hunt for the perfect branch for a long time. I finally found it during a jog by the East River. An old Ikea lamp wrapped around it worked perfectly.

Image above: Hanging out my favorite clothes makes me happy whenever I see them and also acts as a color pop in the apartment.

Image above: The wooden balls are a work in progress. I’d like to paint them a few different colors and display them on a shelf. They were a gift from a friend, whose husband used them as props on a shoot.

Image above: I think feeling at home is all about details, no matter what the size of the apartment. The little glass box is from West Elm, home to a little airplant and a good luck fox given as a gift by a friend from his trip to India.

Image above: The apartment is the smallest I’ve lived in, but as soon as I came in, I knew it was meant to be; to me, light matters way more than size. Given the location, it acts more as a super cozy hotel room; all the nearby restaurants and bars feel like extensions of the apartment. The carpet is by the Finnish manufacturer Tikau, with an illustration by Klaus Haapaniemi.

  1. I so love that lamp wrapped around the branch in the bedroom. And the whole apartment is lovely. Great Scandinavian feel!

  2. erin says:

    lovely. lots of light and pops of color make all the difference.

  3. rosan says:

    I love this! I used to live in a similar sized studio in Amsterdam. It’s all about making the most of the space you have while at the same time filling it with your personal things and style.. Great job!

  4. Stephanie T says:

    I am totally partial to a small cozy space myself. This bright room makes me so very happy!

  5. Jamie says:

    Beautiful home. Where did you find the lovely pillow on your bed?

  6. Alexandra says:

    I love seeing small (actually, really small – not tons of money “small”) spaces – it feels so open and lovely, very inspirational.

  7. karoline says:

    LOVE this space

  8. Chúcara says:

    It’s adorable … looks so peaceful and clean. Also, the distribution is smart, because is a challenge put in a small place all you need, and get a warm home . Lotta, I love your apartment!!

  9. Courtney says:

    this is gorgeous. i love all of the pops of color and texture, and the natural light of course!

  10. CarleyGeorged says:

    I haven’t swooned this much in a long, long time. !!!

  11. Rebekka says:

    I ADORE this! I am always so inspired by people who live in smaller spaces…it just makes me want to downsize, downsize, downsize…this is incredibly gorgeous :)

  12. Holly says:

    but where did those shoes come from??

  13. Katie says:

    Your first sneak peek got me hooked on Newwork magazine. Love this style evolution with all of the bold, bright colors! Especially that pillow on your bed and both pairs of shoes — where are they from?

  14. Ingrid says:

    A home is always so much more than it’s 4 walls when personal touches are added. It gives us a glimpse of the personality , creativity of it’s inhabitant. Thank you for sharing..I loved it.

  15. Stephanie says:

    Everything I see here is loveable!

  16. Natalia says:

    I love it! So much style in a small ( but precise ) sized flat .
    I´m from Chile, and it´s been a while since the rents of the apartments just increase their prices, so the small sized apartments are the only way to live on your own with a medium rent job.
    I´m looking a place for rent like the one in this post, for me and my little daughter, and this photos gave me beautiful ideas of how pretty a small place can be.
    Thank you for sharing!

  17. Lotta says:

    Thanks all for the lovely comments!

    Jamie: The pillow is from Anthropologie.

    Holly + Katie: The shoes are from one of my favorite shoe brands, Loeffler Randall. You can get their shoes at select stores and online:

  18. Sylvie says:

    Great style and vignettes throughout really make it seem larger! Well done.

  19. Leigh says:

    The apartment is beautiful, but so is that jacket you’re wearing! Where is it from?

  20. Kristen says:

    I really like the layout pic at the end of the post.

  21. Diane says:

    I’m in love with your eye and creativity. Come to Cali and do my place, purdy please. Fantastic job!!!!

  22. Lotta says:

    Thanks, Leigh – the very yellow blazer is from Creatures of Comfort!

  23. Beatriz says:

    where is that amazing table and stool from?

  24. Cypher says:

    Love the decor, and arrangement!!!! Just out of curiosity… no TV or Computer?

  25. Debbie says:

    Lovely apartment…love the branch lamp and glass planter…but where do the clothes go????

  26. austere says:

    beautifully styled. so bright!

  27. modernplum says:

    The apartment is so fresh and fun, and it proves that small can be even more stylish than large!

  28. Lotta says:

    Beatriz: The Compass table legs are by Matthew Hilton, with a glass tabletop custom made in a nearby glass shop in Chinatown. The stool is from CB2.

    Cypher: I work and watch TV off of my laptop, which didn’t make it into the pictures. :)

    Debbie: In the last image (floor plan) you’ll see there is an inbuilt closet in the apartment – handy for hiding all the clothes and shoes!

  29. Sofia says:

    Oh Lotta, you deserve all the comments above. You worked miracles in space, colour and light. I love it! But I can’t figure out how you mounted the branchelamp to the wall. Please, share this?!

  30. Lotta says:

    Sofia – No big secret here, just the big, thick, long nails from the hardware store! If the lamp isn’t heavy, it should hold well. :)

  31. Sheetal says:

    This looks simply beautiful. But then I find myself questioning if it’s just the camera making it look prettier than it actually is? Whenever I try to add lil details, say a twig that holds a bulb as a night lamp , it ends up looking, ummmm Bad, cheap…. Maybe it’s just me… not artistic enough!

  32. Emily says:

    You’ve made this space into a lovely home! I am loving the frame that you had converted into a mirror.

  33. Elen says:

    Beautiful!! Fresh, with a lot of light and ideas. Thank you for sharing Lotta! ^^

  34. kiki says:

    wow!! there is an impressive amount of precise placement and branch balancing in this flat. beautiful!

  35. Helen says:

    So beautiful flat. just wondering how did you the branch held on the wall? did you use special tool?

  36. Dina says:

    Lovely! I love the light, and all the colors and all the tiny details!

  37. Daniela says:

    Love what you did with the space! I used to live in NYC and know what a challenge it can be to make a studio apartment feel like a cozy home without overcrowding it with lots of stuff. Keeping everything mostly white with pops of color here and there definitely helps to make the space feel much bigger than it is.

  38. Karen says:

    Love what you’ve done with such a small place! Just curious–how many square feet is it?

  39. Lotta says:

    Karen – About 270 sq ft.

  40. Eva says:

    I love small spaces, this decoration is very beautiful. I loved this. I’m very happy to be here. I really like your blog, it’s all very beautiful, congratulations! I invite you to know my blog decoration.
    My blogs:
    greetings from Brazil.

  41. Natasha says:

    I was excited to see lotta featured as a sneakpeak on ds!

    i LOVE lotta’s work and am not surprised her apartment is beautiful peaceful jewelbox!

  42. Andrea says:

    Love love love this beautifully designed space!! Would you mind sharing your wall color? I’m always on the hunt for a nice clean white or light gray.

  43. hannah says:

    beautiful… i love small spaces

  44. Claire says:

    What a beautiful space. My favourite is the glass cube mounted to the wall for housing special things! lovely

  45. melanie says:

    i feel like i would never be sad in this apartment! it’s so beautiful.

  46. Lili says:

    Lotta, your home is inspiring! Now I understand why so many artistis are so creative… living in a creative beautiful place creates art itself! Beautiful home. :)

  47. kate says:

    I love this studio! It is so inspiring and calming. Where is the printed pouf ottoman from?

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