When one client moved to a brand new apartment complex, Washington, D.C.–based designer Byron Risdon was taken with the building’s myriad offerings: “It has these really cool apartments and an attached food hall with a coffee shop, ice-cream shop, Cajun restaurant, tacos—you can get it all delivered,” says Risdon.
The apartment itself, by contrast, was far less expansive. “It’s got great high ceilings, but it’s a really small space,” the designer explains. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if its resident, a teacher, was spending most of his time at work and out in the surrounding neighborhood. But the renovation was happening in the midst of COVID, with the homeowner teaching (not to mention eating, relaxing, exercising, and everything else) out of the one-bedroom apartment.
“We started during the summer and knew he was going to start school again remotely,” says Risdon of the unique circumstances that were in play. Plus, “He loves to entertain. He needed a dining table.”
Suffice it to say, it was a big ask: “You should see the space—it’s really small! I’m kind of looking at him going, ‘Are we able to get all these things in here?’” Risdon recalls. But, with some extremely smart-space planning, several multifunctional elements, and a lot of clever, renter-friendly hacks, they made it work. Here’s how he did it.