Rajiv Fernandez stays a life that layers. He’s of Indian descent and has a traditionally Hispanic last name; he and his household were some of the couple of people of color in his tiny Midwestern hometown; he defines himself together an architect, an artist, and also a children’s book author with a neo-hip-hop persona; and also he lives big in a tiny apartment that he’s designed come synthesize every one of these facets of his identity.
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“I’ve taken on what I’ve been given,” that says, explaining his outlook. For instance, he wrote an essay because that his graduate institution application detailing the beginnings of the last name he’s been asked around nearly every day of his life.
“My family originates from Goa, a former Portuguese colosnucongo.org in India. Our surname did finish with one ‘s,’ however my grandfather adjusted it come a ‘z.’ In primary school school, mine gym teacher dubbed me ‘Ra-heave,’ assuming i was a hispanic person.”
He relocated from the Midwest come Manhattan, and also from there to Brooklyn. “I was trying to find a fixer-upper, a place where I can live the would likewise be a an excellent investment,” that says. His search ended with one L-shaped small one-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights.
The room measures 540 square feet, yet the walls and colorful, dated finishes made that feel even smaller. Through a couple of strategic tweaks, he readjusted the watch and duty without an altering the footprint.
The an initial step to be to open up this space as much as possible. “There was a wall that be separate the kitchen indigenous the rest of the space, and I removed that,” Fernandez says.
Before the wall surface came down, you had actually to get in the kitchen via a hallway. Removing the room-dividing wall and reorienting the room to the life room to be a video game changer. “It instantly allowed light to circulation throughout the space, making it so lot brighter. That wonderful, unless you room waking up through a hangover—then the brightness can be a little rough.”
In enhancement to enabling the irradiate to flow through the apartment, “straightening out” the cooking space, making the a galley-style kitchen, boosted its functionality. “Originally, there was zero countertop area, currently I have much much more prep space,” the architect says.
Fernandez additionally put the kitchen largely under wraps, hiding the refrigerator and also a dishwasher drawer behind cabinet-like panels. “I wanted it to look happy and innovative at the exact same time,” that says. “I put everything behind cabinetry and painted many of lock Midnight Oil by Benjamin Moore—a shade I use in almost all of my projects. The tower that dwellings the refrigerator is unpainted white oak because that a natural accent.”
Fernandez also switched up the closet game near the entrance to do the many of the available space. Close to the former door, that turned a linen small closet right into a bar; and also since it’s approximately the corner from the kitchen, it likewise doubles together a prep area. He enlarged a small dressing room that as soon as opened turn off the bathroom and relocated the door to make it a walk-in closet in the entry.
Throughout the apartment, Fernandez searched for extra space. He uncovered some areas where utilities were boxed in through drywall, and also he used an are within castle for integrated book and also display shelves.
Furnishing the home is a mix that his aesthetic, his art, and also his heritage. “First of all, I want the furniture to be low and also not carry out asnucongo.orgthing come block the sight lines,” that says. “That’s why I chose that sofa in the life room.” likewise in the living room, 2 wooden armchairs the are household heirlooms. In enhancement to valuing your sentiment, the appreciates your see-through quality.
Other vintage items (the Scandinavian chairs about the dining table and also in the bedroom) reflect the architect’s appreciation of reuse and sustainability. “I discovered the chair in the bedroom top top the street, sanded the down and reupholstered the seat with an olive-green leather,” Fernandez says.
The walls, once poorly and unevenly painted, are now uniformly white—Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. The idea is to produce a neutral backdrop for Fernandez’s brightly colored artwork.
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“My compasnucongo.org, Lil’ Icon, to produce art and also objects that make you think and make girlfriend wink,” Fernandez explains. It to be born after ~ the architect composed a special book for his nephew, Baby to Brooklyn. It’s a tome that offers graphics come compare symbols from a infant’s people to symbols of new York’s most populated borough’s hipster culture (i.e., a “bun in the oven” and also a guy bun).
In his home, the architect has actually art he has actually created, consisting of a big print of the late 1980s staple, the Coogi sweater. “I was obsessed with them when I was a small kid—my whole family was,” Fernandez says. “The white background renders my home feel larger, and also it showcases the art.”
The quick segment the the “L” serves together the bedroom. Fernandez offers it as an instance of why it’s essential to take a wait and also see approach to remodeling. “I lived right here for a year prior to I began the project, and that time was valuable to watch what i really needed,” he says. “If I had started the task immediately, i would have put increase a translucent slide door there. I’m so glad ns didn’t, it’s not needed and it provides the room feel a lot more open and expansive.”
In fact, the whole time he’s invested in the home has been a lesson around what that does and doesn’t need. “I’ve really learned exactly how to edit things, and I’ve acquired rid that the points I just don’t need. Instead of collection of tchotchkes, i live successfully with just the points I have to have,” Fernandez says.
It’s a different perspective indigenous his younger years. “Growing up in the Midwest, I stayed in a large house v a large yard. We had actually rooms we didn’t also use. I supplied to play a game called “MASH” with the kids on the college bus—we’d try and figure out who would live in a mansion, apartment, shack, or house. Currently I think, ‘who would want to live in a mansion?’”