I don’t consider myself a clutter-bug by any means, but there are most definitely times in my life when I wish I could have a professional come into my home, really tell it like it is, and
force help me to get rid of all of the things I don’t need. Call it Living-In-The-Modern-World Syndrome. Luckily, there actually are professionals who take on such tasks, like Kyle Quilici, one-half of the team at the Bay Area’s New Minimalism. Established in 2013 to address the need for sustainable clean-sweeping, New Minimalism is a thoroughly fresh take on the idea of personal organizing. With an emphasis on recycling, reusing, and a reduced environmental footprint, the company has redefined what it means to live minimally.
Late last year, when Kyle was forced to vacate her affordable shared loft in San Francisco, she took it as an opportunity to find a place to herself—one where she could truly practice what she preaches. What she found was a small, thin-walled, 340-square-foot apartment near the city’s Japantown. No stranger to living with little, Kyle managed to transform the tiny space into a showroom of sorts for the “New” minimalist style—one that is full of life and color, but free of brain-draining clutter. Outfitted in vintage pieces and only objects that are truly needed and loved, the space is a testament to Kyle and New Minimalism’s mission. —Max
Photographs by Kelly Ishikawa.
Image above: Kyle’s bedroom. “Even though the studio is only 340 square feet,” she says, “I wanted to give the bed its due space. Putting the bed on this wall allows two people to comfortably get in and out, a design principle we always recommend at New Minimalism, especially for clients who are looking for love.” The headboard is constructed from a fruit-drying tray purchased at a flea market.
Image above: The living room, as seen from the bedroom. “Placing the couch parallel to the fireplace makes the fireplace the focal point, an element I wanted to highlight, especially since I don’t have a television,” Kyle says. “I also live Internet-free, which was a New Minimalism experiment that ended up sticking. It makes me get out of the house to do focused Internet work and keeps me very present and centered when I’m home. I think that’s why my house is so clean and why I’ve read more books this year – no Internet!”
See more of this minimalist home after the jump!
Image above: “A wood-burning fireplace is a rarity in San Francisco,” Kyle notes, “and this one is regularly put to use during the fall and winter months. We love to play Scrabble or chess on the rug while listening to the crackle of the fire.”
Image above: A tiny library of books that Kyle regularly references sits along one of the living room walls. “The photo is an image I took on a hot summer night when I used to live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” Kyle says. “My roommate was playing around with a jump rope and I was playing around with my camera’s flash. I like that it is off-kilter, and that her face is obscured by her hair. She almost looks like she’s floating in space, and her skin has a luminosity that only film can capture. My boyfriend and his crew with Kloudwalker Design printed the image on canvas and stretched it over a wooden frame for me.”
Image above: Kyle’s record-player console was a Craigslist find—an old IKEA cabinet that was hacked to be lower to the ground. “I decided to paint this wall a pop of pink,” Kyle says, “which I had customized at the paint store. I landed on pink because it is unexpected, bright and modern compared to the given browns and red-oranges found in the space. I placed a rope light behind the console, so at night the wall glows from orange to pink. It looks pretty great! While my apartment gets great natural light during the day, it is at its best at nighttime. The windows look out onto a huge steeple of a modern cathedral across the street. The vintage neon treble clef is a nod to my piano lesson days as a child; it also glows pink.”
Image above: “This glass piece was handmade by a local badass artist named Lisa,” Kyle says. “She calls her creations Sacred Glass because there is a lot of theory behind the shapes. It was a gift from my boyfriend, who has a very green thumb and created the little interior garden, complete with accent rocks of interest.” The brass candlestick was a gift from Kyle’s grandmother.
Image above: “My tiny kitchen is just the right size,” Kyle says. “I cook a lot of dinners at home and I love the simplicity of a small space. The secret, aside from not having too much stuff, is to find miniature-sized kitchen items. What would be considered a medium-sized mixing bowl is actually a large mixing bowl in my kitchen. If I had large items that barely fit into my cabinets, I would get frustrated with the space.” Kyle painted the island a chocolate brown so that it would visually recede into the background. The stools are a Craigslist find.
Image above: “A peek inside my cabinets reveals that I keep my cabinets pretty spartan,” Kyle says. “I was able to find 90% of my kitchen items at secondhand stores. The bunny and raccoon heads are my holiday decorations. In their off-duty months they keep an eye on the plates, cups and mugs.”
Image above: “This is my attempt to make lemonade out of lemons,” Kyle says. “I worked within the negative space to give some intentionality to the wall. The light switch plate is from my boyfriend, who carried it around for years, apparently so it could live on my wall. The quote by Frank Lloyd Wright reads ‘If you invest in beauty it will stay with you all the days of your life.’ I had it custom made by Union Press in Boston. Oh, and the small print is of a huge wall decal I first saw at Area Ware. I printed it for an interior design class and want to one day use it in my home, or maybe in the New Minimalism headquarters, once we have a dedicated office space. “
Image above: The entryway functions as a landing space for keys, shoes, and bags.
Image above: “I am lucky that I have a large entry closet,” Kyle says. “By leaving this closet space mostly empty, I was able to conceal my boyfriend’s and my own bike in the closet. We bike everywhere, and I love my bike, but I prefer to not look at it while relaxing at home.”
- Console – used from Craigslist, but made by IKEA
- Vintage neon light – Harrington’s Galleries
- Coffee table – Passion Décor
- Glass sculpture by Sacred Glass
- Paint color – BM Bermuda Breeze, customized to a deeper shade
- Shelf – found new on Craigslist, but made by EQ3
- Photo by me, printed and framed by Kloudwalker Design
- Elephant: vintage piece by JARU
- Stools – used from Craigslist
- Mirror – a street find
- Stool – vintage from Home Consignment
- Painting by MAGNA Paint