After Shawn Reinhardt and her husband, George, bought a 1920s two-bedroom nine years ago, she couldn't wait to fix it up. "Though the house was chopped into tiny narrow rooms, I envisioned it as spacious and airy," says Shawn. To open up the cramped quarters, she set about brightening walls with white board and batten paneling and refinishing all the floors in a dark stain so that one room visually flows into the next. Since furnishing minimally only draws attention to a lack of space, Shawn created groupings with lightweight chairs and sofas from design stores, thrift shops and garage sales. "The house feels a lot bigger because of the way everything's positioned," she says.
She further unified the space with a simple palette of black and white punctuated with shots of chartreuse. "I'm strictly an amateur decorator," Shawn explains. "My big trick was repeating colors and lots of patterns to connect the living areas with the kitchen." With plenty of seating throughout, the house comfortably accommodates guests at holiday time and has become a prime hangout zone for the couple's son Georgie, 10, and his gang of friends. "Despite its size, our home is now perfect for us," Shawn says.