Wicker Park one-bedroom

A small apartment forces this elementary-school art teacher to learn a lesson in minimalism.

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  • Photograph: Jeremy Bolen

    Molly Naples moved into her 500-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Wicker Park four years ago after living in a Lincoln Park high-rise, which �was a lot bigger and it had three walk-in closets,� she says. But Naples, 28, an elementary-school art teacher, couldn�t afford the Lincoln Park rent. So she downsized and found she didn�t miss the closet space. �I always held on to stuff I didn�t need,� she says. �I had tons of shoes. I ended up just getting rid of stuff at consignment stores. It helped me be a little bit more minimalist.�

    She did miss being able to have an art studio in her apartment, but now, she says, �I just work in my classroom.� Inspired by the work of artist Joseph Cornell, Naples has turned her small space into a collection of found objects, collages and paintings organized into vignettes. Despite the unit�s small size, her friends love to hang out here. �My old apartment wasn�t as cozy,� she admits. Her friends have huge condos, but �they always end up at my place.�

    Naples already owned her CB2 Peekaboo acrylic coffee table when she moved in, but it worked perfectly in her new space. The transparent piece doesn�t block sight lines or cramp the room, and still provides a view of the decorative area rug below while offering a surface for books and objects. Her futon takes up quite a bit of space, but it provides a comfortable seating place and plenty of room for out-of-town guests to crash.

  • Photograph: Jeremy Bolen

    Her bed couldn�t fit in the tiny bedroom, so she ditched the old bed frame, and, inspired by art direction in Anthropologie catalogs, curated a collection of artwork on the wall behind her bed in a headboard shape. The result: a classy, finished look that doesn�t take up any physical space.

  • Photograph: Jeremy Bolen

    A duo of petite end tables at Naples' apartment makes for efficient use of space, matching the depth of her couch without being too wide.

  • Photograph: Jeremy Bolen

    Naples hides extra storage space with artwork.

Photograph: Jeremy Bolen

Molly Naples moved into her 500-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Wicker Park four years ago after living in a Lincoln Park high-rise, which �was a lot bigger and it had three walk-in closets,� she says. But Naples, 28, an elementary-school art teacher, couldn�t afford the Lincoln Park rent. So she downsized and found she didn�t miss the closet space. �I always held on to stuff I didn�t need,� she says. �I had tons of shoes. I ended up just getting rid of stuff at consignment stores. It helped me be a little bit more minimalist.�

She did miss being able to have an art studio in her apartment, but now, she says, �I just work in my classroom.� Inspired by the work of artist Joseph Cornell, Naples has turned her small space into a collection of found objects, collages and paintings organized into vignettes. Despite the unit�s small size, her friends love to hang out here. �My old apartment wasn�t as cozy,� she admits. Her friends have huge condos, but �they always end up at my place.�

Naples already owned her CB2 Peekaboo acrylic coffee table when she moved in, but it worked perfectly in her new space. The transparent piece doesn�t block sight lines or cramp the room, and still provides a view of the decorative area rug below while offering a surface for books and objects. Her futon takes up quite a bit of space, but it provides a comfortable seating place and plenty of room for out-of-town guests to crash.


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