Interiorssneak peeks

Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio

by Garrett Fleming

Kiel Wuellner moved from Chicago to Manhattan with a burning determination to succeed. “Many of my friends and family had doubts that I would be able to handle the hustle and bustle as well as the amount of work it takes to survive here,” he explains. The home he has set up for himself in the Financial District should put those naysayers to rest. Kiel has taken inspiration from his work as a freelance interior designer to craft a 375-square-foot space that truly embodies his stylish POV. Finding the design sweet spot for his apartment took him over a year to perfect. “When I first moved into the space I went a little overboard with the mid-century look and feel. Everything was so bold with charcoal-painted walls and bright, contrasting colors,” he says. In the past little bit, however, his studio has been given new life by adding in the “minimal textures,” and “highly edited clean lines,” you’ll see throughout. Kiel also cleverly uses rugs, chairs and tables to give the illusion of there being multiple rooms in the singular space.

This studio seems to be just one of many stops in the “Kiel Takes Manhattan,” storyline as he is not one to be satisfied sticking to the status quo. “While my apartment is not luxurious, it’s in a high-rise of extremely large and fancy apartments. It inspires me to work harder to achieve my goals.” With taste like this, it’s clear that Kiel’s success as a decorator will have him in one of those penthouses in no time. The only thing more memorable than his beautiful home is what it embodies — a young man’s NYC dream realized. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Kiel Wuellner

Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
1/15
"I am often hired to install/design collage walls for clients, and I myself had redone my own so many times I was concerned for the drywall in the apartment. So I decided to try and make pegboard chic. Mounting all of my unique finds on the pegboard allows me to change it whenever I want without feeling committed to it, and without having to get out the spackle." The splatter sheets are Kate Spade Saturday for West Elm. The bed's coverlet is by Barbara Barry. Blue and black pillow by Maharam.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
2/15
"The majority of my art is from salvage shops - or I have been known to rip pages out of old, vintage textbooks that can't be salvaged - to create unique framed items."
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
3/15
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
4/15
"The blue chests are the only pieces I moved to New York with. As a kid they were in my mother's workshop and held paints, art supplies and sewing tools. When she passed away I had to have them. They will always remind me of her, and my childhood." A lamp by CB2 sits atop the chests.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
5/15
"The views of the Hudson River are truly breathtaking and truly have a calming effect when (I'm) in the apartment." Most days, you can hear ships' horns as they pull into New York Harbor.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
6/15
Kiel was hesitant to incorporate brass into his home for fear of "falling victim to a trend," but his love of white and gold proved too great to resist. Sconce by Schoolhouse Electric Co. The navy linen shams were found at ABC Carpet and Home.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
7/15
"My name is Kiel, which is a city in northern Germany. When I was a child, I always wanted something with my name on it, but 'Kiel' isn't exactly a common name." That "something" ended up being this vintage map of Germany he keeps in his home's entryway.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
8/15
"The 'pool boy' button had to happen. If only it worked." The bar cart is from Urban Outfitters while the "pool boy" plaque and map are Etsy finds.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
9/15
"Small but mighty, this home serves a lot of purposes. The Marimekko print on the back wall was my first attempt at incorporating something modern into my home when I was 19. It has a special meaning as I started to (discover) my own personal style after finding that." Marble table by Organic Modernism. Grey ottoman by Finnish Design Shop.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
10/15
"This picture makes me so happy. The amount of nights I (have) spent up until 2-3 am working on freelance projects at this desk while my pup patiently sits in the chair next to me are endless, but I love them." The "Mrs. Godfrey" chair was a lucky Jonathan Adler sample sale find.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
11/15
"The framed poodle print is one of my favorite pieces. I found it for $10 at Broadway Antique Market in Chicago." The desk is from West Elm's mid-century collection, but Kiel swapped the hardware out for polished brass to make it his own. The Frank Gehry desk chair is available here.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
12/15
"The cabinetry and black granite drive me crazy." Kiel installed subway-tile wallpaper from Walls Need Love to transform the space a bit. It only took half an hour.
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
13/15
Kiel found this Eames-inspired chair on eBay. Say "Hi!" to Kiel's partner in crime, Rufus!
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
14/15
Sizable Style on the Smaller Side: A Manhattan Studio, Design*Sponge
15/15
The studio's floor plan.

Suggested For You

Comments

  • Fabulous space! You’ve made great decisions on what to bring into a small space. It’s varied, but not chaotic. (Extra bonus for that dog – adorable *and* I relate to loathing the cabinetry and counter tops in a rental. We have that same problem and it’s … endlessly annoying)

  • A great home tour! I especially love the big map of Germany; as a hs German teacher, I have a similar one hanging in my classroom. :-)

  • I’ve known Kiel for many years, maybe 10 :-), always so impressed with his eye for style and trends and have loved seeing how his style has changed with time and experiences. It just keeps getting better! He sees something in what others may think is nothing, which is my fav thing about his talent. Fabulous as always! xo

  • I had no doubt that my son, Kiel, would find his niche in New York. He continues to amaze me with his strong sense of style, and even stronger sense of determination to succeed in everything he does. Well done, son!

    • Thx dada!!!! La-la-lovin your sweet little note – you’re the cuuuutest! All the fierceness came from you, daddy long legs! You better represent and I better represent, we all better represent. 2015 is all about LIVING. Living in your crib, living in your hood, living in yourself – you better work! Luh ya all! XO x 100. #iamliving

  • When we were in design school together, I always knew Kiel would be a design force in this world! Kiel, you have a gift and I’m just proud you are enjoying the journey to the stars.

  • What a great apartment tour! A well-edited space that is still filled with personality and character. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’ve never liked pegboard for anything other than hanging tools in a garage (not even Julia Child’s famous kitchen pegboard), but I’ll be damned if yours doesn’t look great. And that pool boy button is beyond great!

  • Sorry for the double post, but I forgot to ask if you could provide the source for that little blue planter on the pegboard shelf. Thanks!

  • Wow!Just love your apartment.
    This is the first comment I’ve ever left.I have a tiny house and have put too many big things in it in the past but I’m learning and changing things now.You are a great inspiration as it can get quite difficult to figure out what will work in the space.Amazing eye for a great pieces.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Small space living is tough but makes choosing each piece that more important and fun! :) Really appreciate your kind words!

  • Wonderful use of space. Inspiring to see so many inviting and functional areas in a small footprint. I had to laugh when I read the comment about the kitchen and black granite. Please tell us how you would further change the kitchen so that we can enjoy visualizing your creativity.

  • A hug for little Rufus. He is adorable! I love everything you’ve done. The pegboard is genius and I think everyone must want the pool boy button!Thank you for sharing.

  • Love this peg board – I can’t figure out how you’ve attached everything so seamlessly. Did you just use regular peg board hooks?

  • Incredible job furnishing the small space- it doesn’t look crowded. I agree with others that the corniche, “pool boy” button, and view are tops! I am especially impressed, though not envious, of your living with one closet! Were your Midwest sensibilities awash with incredulity of so little storage? Kudos to you for following your dreams!

    • Hello Laura,
      Thanks for your nice comment, and the one closet situation is surprisingly doable (and i have a lot of clothes!) I luckily have a chifferobe opposite the bed which holds a lot of clothes. Again thanks again, have a great day!

  • This is eclectic done right! Very inspiring. The placement of the gold sconce and lamp are my favorite Congrats. Found this from The nesting place blog

  • Kiel, thank you for sharing your space. You have created an illusion of a large spacious studio in a very small space . Wow ! That takes talent. You have a great eye and you will be very sought after by others who need your kind of eye and skill. Well done.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.