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eric’s smart pad

 meet eric


materials manager by day, natural DIY-er by night


a master at maximizing design appeal, flow and function of small spaces

Eric’s giving us a tour of his smart pad to share his design tricks, DIY projects and more!

Eric purchased a 1 bedroom South Philadelphia row home that was tight on space in practically every room, but he was up for the challenge. Here are a few before shots of his space.

Main living room/dining room area – a tight fit for several large pieces of furniture and a kitchen table that blocked access to the refrigerator.


Unused space near the stairwell


Dark, traditional style kitchen


Outdoor terrace with no seating, and neighbor’s overgrown plant has taken over!


Small bedroom


Using all his natural design and creativity skills, Eric designed a plan for his space to serve multiple purposes.

eric likes to entertain 

  The main level of the home changes shape and function to host overnight guests, a quiet dinner party, or a large backyard BBQ.

>open, configurable spaces

“living-dining” room

Eric uses one open area for the living room and formal dining activities.  His trick is to keep all the large furniture near the perimeter of the space, such as the sofa, entertainment center, and the kitchen table.  All furniture in the middle of the room is small, light, and easy to move.


Entertainment center with wall-mounted TV


Long curtains and artwork hung in a vertical line emphasizes a higher ceiling and helps give the illusion of more space


Cart on wheels is a coffee table, an extra one in the corner is back-up for larger parties


The kitchen table stores along the wall and has two benches that tuck beneath to create an ultra-small footprint.


When it’s party time the table is easily rotated 90 degrees so both benches can be used.


“open kitchen”

The kitchen follows similar rules in that all the perimeter walls are put to work, but the middle is open and lets the living-dining room space flow into the kitchen and out to the backyard.


A small shelf against the opposite wall (a piece of art in itself!) is used to store kitchen essentials – the microwave, toaster oven, etc.


Eric uses all the vertical space in the kitchen with a wall mounted pots and pans holder, knife magnet, and stacked wine rack.

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Just below the wine rack is the item he is most proud of in his home – “Eric’s DIY vintage bottle-opener station!”


Mounting a vintage bottle opener above an old tin can looks rustic and works like a charm to catch all the bottle caps.  It’s always the talk of the party and cost under $10.


Remember that corner next to the stairway that wasn’t used before?  With a simple shelf, two stools and some artwork (by local artist Donovan Phillips) Eric turned this wall into a place for extra seating (that conveniently hides the radiator too) while still keeping the main area open – genius!


>seating doubles as storage

The “living-dining” area has several smart seating areas that double as storage so Eric could move more items off the ground and out of the way. This sofa, which can sleep one guest, opens to store guest bedding.


Two ottomans are placed next to the stairs for seating and storage of living room items.

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>outdoor DIY patio seats 10!

 Remember the patio that had a small area for a few bricks and lots of weeds?


It’s been Eric’s most creative DIY project to turn this space into a place that can sit up to 10 people comfortably for his summer BBQ parties.  And he did it all for under $150!  Impressive.  His design inspiration?  Cinder block and 2×2 lumber he stumbled across on a trip to Lowe’s.

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It’s a work in progress and Eric will be making cushions to place on top of the benches for even more comfort.  I sat on them and found them to be great as-is!

eric is king of his castle

The upstairs level is a private, open space that Eric enjoys for himself.  The bedroom, bathroom, and closet spaces are functional, but packed with elements of his personal style.

>bedroom and closet

Eric’s minimalist approach is reflected in these areas and he has reduced clutter with a few clever organization systems.


Bed is accented by a red wall and a black liberty bell wall decal.


Liberty Bell: A symbol of Philly pride!


This organization system for storage fits perfectly in the corner and maximizes the use of vertical space.


The walk-in closet is methodically organized


The bathroom previously had a very traditional style (below left), and Eric swapped out several elements to fit his modern style including the addition of the vanity below right.

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Eric is still putting the finishing touches on his place and he has offered to have us back when the projects are complete. 

So stay tuned and until then….

“Eric, cheers to you and your ingenious, smart, functional & fun home!”