Behind the Camera: How I Turned 370 Square Feet Into A Dream Space

Inside Christiann Koepke's NW Portland Studio | Photography & Styling by Christiann Koepke of Portlandfreshphoto.com-31

My new space is everything I’d hoped it would be; bright, airy, light and just stunning in the simplest way. In searching the Portland market for my new abode earlier this Spring, I knew I wanted to be in the heart of the city and even more importantly, knew I needed a place that would help my photography and styling business thrive. This studio was just the place, nestled in a historic 1894 constructed home in Portland’s beautiful Northwest District. I feel so lucky to have landed here! It’s definitely a dream come true and I hope you enjoy this post where I show you How I Turned 370 Square Feet Into A Dream Space. More on the design process below, and thanks to West Elm for sponsoring this beautiful project.

The space is a mere 370 SF, but provides a much larger feel with it’s original molding, oversized windows  and 13 foot ceilings. Since I run my business and also live in the same small space, I knew I needed to find a way to create some separation between areas : living, kitchen, dining, and work. After some brainstorming and web research on tips and tricks for designing small spaces, I found an amazing way to provide an area for just my work space ( the most challenging area!) and did so by positioning my beautiful white mid – century desk it at the back wall with a refreshing view direct to outside.

Inside Christiann Koepke's NW Portland Studio | Photography & Styling by Christiann Koepke of Portlandfreshphoto.com-5

Regarding the overall design, I knew I wanted to keep it minimal, with a Nordic flair and did so by starting my design choices with the basis of having a neutral color palette. I chose white, cream and a light oatmeal color throughout, with only soft touches of black to provide minimal contrast. Having a minimal, bright space has been so incredible for my creative lifestyle. It’s like an artist starting with a blank canvas; there’s room to breathe. Living here has been incredible and I’ve definitely found myself thriving in this tiny space.

During the design process, there were two West Elm products that were dramatic in changing the entire look and feel of the room. The large rug in the middle of the space greatly warmed the the stark white walls in the room with it’s off-white tone. The floor mirror instantly added class to the space and opened up the end of the room, instantly making the space feel larger. One of my favorite places in my studio is my desk, positioned at the back of the room, facing a large window out into the greenery surrounding the home outside. I also shoot at this window as the light is literally perfect every day! I think it’s just because it’s sheltered by beautiful, lush greenery which acts as a diffuser for the light. Not once through the day do I get direct sunlight through this window; a natural light food photographer’s dream!

Designing a tiny space can be tough, especially when it doubles as an at home office + studio for shooting, but by carefully choosing and then positioning each piece intentionally for its desired use, I’ve been able to maximize a small space in a way that’s both practical and wonderfully relaxing.

If you’d like to see the product utilized in this re design, feel free to view West Elm’s feature of this project at this link.

Love to hear your thoughts and I hope you enjoy the images!

BEFORE:

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AFTER

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