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A sociable home that thrives on flexible space

08 March 2016
When designer, painter and piano teacher Justin showed us round his apartment, he explained that he likes every room to be multipurpose. ‘I sometimes eat at my kitchen bar or use it for snacks when I have friends round,’ says Justin. ‘It also doubles as a workstation. Every space is an opportunity to create and to share.  If your home is flexible, it gives you so much more.’ 
In Justin’s home, every space is an opportunity to create and share
A portrait of Justin

Justin’s home truths

MY HOME IS... an 83m2 apartment in the centre of Guiyang. I work from home but it’s a sociable place too. I love to entertain friends.
EVERY SPACE IS VERSATILE... I don’t want every room to have a clearly defined function. I like to have the freedom to do what I want where I want.
AN ORGANISED HOME IS IMPORTANT... but so is a taste for life! 
MY KITCHEN IS... for everyone to use and enjoy. I enjoy cooking with friends so they are always welcome in there.
MY DREAM IS... for an unfettered life – casual, creative and beautiful. 
Create zones in a room so you can use it in different ways

Create multifunctional zones

‘I want my apartment to be a home without boundaries,’ says Justin. ‘My living room doubles as a dining room; it’s a place where I can relax and paint, but it’s also a place where I can hang out with friends.’ 
A blank canvas doesn’t have to be white


‘Not many people would paint their walls black,’ says Justin. ‘But it’s a simple way to create a good backdrop to show off your things. A blank canvas doesn’t always have to be white.’ 

Justin wants all his friends to think of his home as theirs


‘I do everything I can to make my apartment feel relaxed, open and sociable. I want all my friends to think of my home as theirs.’

Versatile lighting can help to show off artwork


‘I like lighting that is flexible and functional so I can control the feel of a room or light up my art displays in different ways. It makes my apartment feel like an ever-changing gallery.’ 

 Having open shelves in the kitchen means it’s quick and easy to find what you need

Open up your storage

In a small kitchen, open storage saves space and makes it easy for everyone to find their way around. ‘I love that guests can see where everything is so they feel at home and help themselves,’ says Justin.

‘I want a home where I can work, rest or eat in any room – and a kitchen that’s open to visitors instead of being a private space’ 
Justin, designer, China
Justin’s painter’s trolley means he can work wherever the light or mood takes him

Set up a mobile studio

‘I like to paint in every room of the apartment. My painter’s trolley has wheels which make it easy to move and means I can work wherever the light or mood takes me – like a quiet corner, or out on the balcony.’ 

Reduce clutter and stick to simple lighting and textiles
Storage boxes are great for hiding clutter and the white colour has a lovely calming effect
Storage solutions like this magazine rack are a great way to clear away any papers lying around
‘I like my bedroom to be simple and comfortable, but it has to be organised too. IKEA always gives me good storage solutions’ 
 Using extra storage solutions the hallway helps to free up space elsewhere

Make the most of a hallway

‘I like to use every space so my hallway provides me with a handy corner for extra storage. I keep all my shoes in a shallow cabinet, which doesn’t take up too much room, and I have a hanging organiser for slippers that my guests can wear when they visit. My dog, Hero, also likes to eat his dinner here!’

Justin’s 83m2 open-plan apartment is creative, sociable and organised

A home where everyone’s welcome

Justin bought his 83m2 apartment six years ago and he’s created an open-plan home where everyone is free to use any area as they please. His home is creative, sociable and organised, making the most of every square centimetre.

Made by

Photography: Lina Ikse
Styling: Ashlyn Gibson