How This Designer Maximized Her 700sf Home With a WFH Office and Dreamy Nursery

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Morgan Goldberg

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Published on January 3, 2022

While Havenly managing editor Heather Goerzen and her husband toured some bigger Denver homes in their search, they ultimately landed on a 700-square-foot condo instead. The cozy two bedroom boasts a shared yard, garden, and patio that first attracted them to the place, but there were three important features that truly sold them on it.

The 1900s historic building, where the duo now lives with their baby daughter and pup, has a prime location that’s walking distance to the best croissants, ramen, and pizza in the city. The couple also fell in love with the exposed brick wall and spacious living room in their unit. “We could easily envision entertaining large groups here — and have since.” Heather shares.

small space design

Of course, there were elements Heather didn’t love, like the 90s kitchen that she immediately replaced with a very inexpensive, down-and-dirty DIY reno. The limited closet space and general lack of storage were an issue, as well, which she remedied with some strategic furniture investments, as well as a bit of Marie Kondo-style purging.

blue kitchen cabinets

Ultimately, though, Heather has maximized every inch of the apartment to make the tight footprint not only functional for her family, but also filled with comfort, warmth, and cozy character. She even managed to find a balance between her maximalist taste and her husband’s minimalist preferences. “We needed to marry our styles and design philosophies to create a cohesive and welcoming space,” she explains. Here’s how she pulled it off.

Fitting It All In

As the main gathering spot, Heather’s living room serves multiple functions. It’s a Netflix den, a party venue, and, occasionally, a guest room. She opted for a deep, long, ultra plush, lounge-worthy sectional that doubles as a bed for friends and family to couch surf when necessary. Luckily, this massive seat also makes the most of the limited square footage.

sectionals for small spaces

“It might seem counterintuitive, but when you have a small space, investing in fewer, bigger pieces can actually help you maximize your floor plan and create better visual flow than a lot of little pieces,” Heather reasons.

Utilizing the verticality of the room helped Heather make everything fit without looking like a squeeze. She layered the TV on top of a glass-paned sideboard that displays books and family artifacts like china from her grandmother and an antique globe from her grandfather. A statement chandelier, artwork sourced from global travels, and graceful curtains also help draw the eye upward.

tv in living room

When it came to the dual kitchen and dining area, Heather tackled the problem of limited cabinetry by reimagining open shelving through thick, reclaimed wood and a colorful display of culinary goods. “I may not cook often… but when I do, I like pretty plates, pots, and bowls. This allows not only easy access, but a charming way to show off a curated collection.” Meanwhile, the Parisian-inspired pedestal dining table makes moving about the modest layout seamless.   

small dining room

“I wanted our home to feel lived in and layered,” Heather describes. “We filled it with pieces that clearly spoke to our personalities, memories, and stories. I find a personal look far more compelling, and interesting, than perfection. I liberally blended styles, eras, patterns, and textures — really just elements I was drawn to — for what I hope is a more artful and original space.”

cottage bedroom

Accommodating Remote Work

Without a devoted office, Heather needed a way to seamlessly integrate a desk into the living room, too. She didn’t want to settle for one that just worked (pun intended), but sought to find a desk that enhanced the overall aesthetic. A stunning black marble number coupled with a slender leather dining chair fit the bill exactly. Her pro recommendation: “Look beyond the ‘office’ category for non-traditional desking pieces that sing in your space.”

wfh office

Heather used the sectional to divide the living room into two zones, one for lounging and another for productive working. With a small gallery wall above, it feels more like a styled vignette than just a utilitarian work-from-home office. The artwork behind her monitor somehow disguises the screen and transforms it into a larger moment.

Designing a Dreamy Nursery

creative nursery wallpaper

Both of the bedrooms are rather tiny, so Heather infused them with eye-catching patterns and rich hues to bring them alive. In her daughter’s nursery, a periwinkle blue, forest-inspired wallpaper is paired with vibrant berry and blush accents for a whimsical effect. “I love how the wallpaper sets the tone for tranquility (much needed for late nights with a newborn) and reminds me of all the hikes we’ve taken,” adds Heather.

curtain closet

For storage, Heather nixed the idea of sliding closet doors in favor of a curtain wall. “Not only does it add velvet texture and a bold pop of color, but it also softens up the space in a lovely way,” she says. We’re bookmarking this creative space-saving solution for future designs.

Fast Five with Heather Goerzen

Three things you can’t live without?

“My family (especially baby giggles), cozy PJs, and Downton Abbey.”

Define your style in three words?

“Cozy, storied, Provençal. My dream is to live in a cottage in the French countryside — with wooden beam ceilings, rose-covered walls, and grazing sheep in a meadow outside. If only…”

Weirdest thing we might find hidden in your sofa cushions?

“Post-it notes. Our WFH ‘office’ (aka desk) is right behind the sofa and my husband often hoards to-do notes.”

How might we find you lounging in this room?

“Depends on AM or PM. Either face mask, coffee, and a design book — or robe, wine, and Netflix.”

Favorite piece in your home right now?

“A painting my husband and I discovered on our honeymoon in Portugal. It will always remind me of our newlywed days as we explored cobblestone streets, biked along the beach, enjoyed port and pastel de nata (IKYKY), and dreamt of our life together.”

For even more Q&A, Heather took over our Insta stories to provide real-time support on your small space design dilemmas. Check out her recommendations here, and follow along with us for design inspo, the latest decor trends, home tours, and so much more.

Have a small space that could use a maximum dose of style? Our designers are well versed at packing both form and function in – to create a home you love. Find your perfect match with our Style Quiz.

Words by Morgan Goldberg