Apartment Therapy's 10th annual Small Cool contest is underway, pitting an array of user-submitted living spaces under 1,000 square feet against each other in a fierce, gladiatorial, vote-resolved struggle for best decorated. Currently sitting at the number two spot in the Tiny Division (which is not to be confused with the Teeny-Tiny Division) is Josh from New York City's 500 square feet of "collected sensibility." Not to influence the tourney or anything, but it's rare to see such an agglomeration of conversation pieces packed into such a wee place. From the buddha statue perched wisely atop Nate Berkus' The Things That Matter to the all-white faux-taxidermy trophy buck mounted atop the bed, the place is curated with curios from top to bottom. Which doesn't cover very much space at all in this case, making it all the more impressive that he manages to pull it off.
Josh, who should be applauded for recognizing that organizing books by color is not a moral failure, tells Apartment Therapy that he loves how a home so diminutive can still be a social waypoint, allowing him to introduce "over 50+ guests for seasonal parties" to the stories that "go along with most of the items in the space." His tips for achieving that oft-sought-after, pufferfish-like effect of making an abode this size seem bigger include drawing the eye up, which he does with vertical stripes in the living room that "add a touch of whimsey and depth to the walls." The intimidating gallery wall in the bedroom works to this same end, while velvet-covered cornices trimmed with brass nailheads emphasize the height of the windows. Grosgrain ribbon is a good bet for DIY moldings, and finally, a combined Craigslist and flea market approach is necessary for constrained urbanites with constrained budgets. Head to competition page to see how his work measures up against the others.