Hello! I’m Carly and this is my outlet for sharing with you my journey into the world of decorating small spaces. I was born and raised in Toronto with parents who loved renovating homes and staying in them only long enough to move right when the renovations were finished. Living in a completed space has always been my dream, so in a way, I am currently living my dream.
1smallspace is an interior décor blog founded in November 2017 dedicated to design solutions, product recommendations, projects and simple ideas for creative small space living that will add space to your home in places you didn’t realize existed. Here you’ll find design tips, easy tutorials, inspiration, and sources to shop the look, plus a bit of my life living in a small space in Toronto. I am truly humbled to share with you in my passion for solving small space challenges and am thankful that you have taken an interest in my journey to get here. Thanks for joining me!
You can learn more about me here or get in touch with me at carly1smallspace[at]gmail[dot]com.
Origins of How 1smallspace Came About
I’ve always been interested in shopping for furniture, stagings homes for real estate and decorating spaces. After moving more than 20 times as a child I was more than excited to move into my own place in a small one-bedroom 505 square feet condo in King West area downtown Toronto. Living on my own brought both excitement and loneliness. Learning to manage expenses, clean, cook, do laundry, maintain a balanced work, social and active lifestyle was all quite the experience. I finally was able to make the space my own and ventured into ore than 200 furniture stores to find that perfect condo-sized sofa that would also double as a day-bed for my friends who would stay over for the night! I was very excited but also overwhelmed at the same time. Half-heartedly putting together my first living room and bedroom space I settled on the cheapest possible furniture pieces I could find.
For my first piece, I found a love-seat sofa that doubled as a day-bed from a store called Modern Sensibility for under $500. This started to fall apart, sag, and break after the first year. I found a used high-gloss white round swivel coffee table for $80 with a few dents in it from kijiji that was originally from CB2 for $800. This piece was so strong and sturdy I gifted this to a friend of mine after I moved. My parents donated their TV and a floor lamp to me and I found a cheap rug for a few hundred dollars from Lowes and a lack high-gloss white sitting bench as a TV stand. In total, I think I invested around $1000 into this space and I have to say, you really get what you pay for. My bedroom set was an IKEA malm platform bed with two floating nightstands. I was in no position or state to have ever considered a career as an interior decorator let alone pick colours that worked well with each other. After staging and then selling this first home my interest in interior decor started to take flight.
My second home was a 2-bedroom 850 sq feet condo that found me! I was out to attend an open house for a one-bedroom unit in a yonge-street highrise where a friend of my mine lived in. While waiting for my real estate agent in the lobby, another real estate agent approached me and asked if I was interested in looking at another unit after as he was going to give me a “good price”. So with nothing to lose I agreed. Walking into the other unit I fell in love at first sight. The “good price” came at a cost. The unit was not listed and the owner was looking to have it closed by a new buyer within 5 days. Having a home close in 5 days with mortgage and lawyer approval was not an easy task. Thankfully everything worked out to my favour and after many emotional roller-coaster rides and back and forth with the seller, I became the new owner!
Obsessing over the space I was determined to furnish and decorate it in such a way that complemented its magnificence! My goal was to enhance its natural beauty (just like how a make-up artist enhances people’s natural features to make them more beautiful than they are already) that was what I wanted to do. As such, I was focused on quality products (I reused the Ikea Lack bench as a TV stand still and kept two pillows from my old sofa to use as sitting pillows) and invested $1000 into a Taylor Sectional from Structube as my first piece. I also complimented it with a high-quality shag rug called the Sofia from Urban Barn for $800 and the Osaka coffee table for $149 from Structube. In total, I believe I invested around $3000 into my living room and couldn’t be happier as I have hosted countless dinners and socials with friends and family (on a weekly basis in fact) in this space and all my pieces are still in great shape. Once upon a time, I was able to fit 30 people in this space!! Insanity right?
It wasn’t long until popular furniture stores like Structube, Urban Barn and Umbra picked up on my love for decorating my small space, and this is where I got my first feature! From here I started to get instagram messages and inquiries from people all over the world, asking me about my services and if I could help them decorate their spaces! I quickly agreed and have been able to help dozens of people since! As this demand evolved, I started to think about ways I can better serve others, helping them replicate the process of enhancing the magnificence of their spaces. I noticed that many people needed help imagining how their new space would look so I started to learn how to create 3D floor plan models on my own. It took a long time in the beginning…almost 3 hours to create one 3D model of one room. My fingers were cramping up a lot. The more I practiced the faster I became and now it only takes me 1 hour! I also signed up for courses that would allow me to obtain an Interior Decor Certificate, and started to participate in industry networking events and educational sessions like those offered from the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada. So here I am now with 1smallspace offering the world my gifts to help transform small spaces into ones that tell the story of who you are and what you love! If you’re still reading this I really hope I will be able to help you transform your dream space into reality! Let’s have fun together!