“Small Spaces, Big Ideas” with Roxy Te

Stephanie Hill shares Small Spaces, Big Ideas with Roxy Te on The Style Bungalow

For about 4 years, I lived in a 350-square-foot studio in West Palm Beach that felt in many ways similar to NYC living (which meant coming up with clever ways to utilize the space). It was my first experience living in such a small space, but it taught me so much about furniture. And let’s just say small doesn’t have to mean boring; I’ve carried this idea and the lessons I’ve learned from those years into my new apartment guided by Danielle Rollins’ expertise.

The goal, after all, is to curate pieces we love and can bring to a future home. There’s nothing worse than moving into a big, beautiful home without furniture or with bad furniture from college. So, I was ready to make another purchase!

…which is why we turned to Society Social

Society Social’s founder, Roxy Te, shared the same experience of compact living in her 375 square-foot apartment in NYC, which was featured in a 2012 HGTV’s story titled, “Small Spaces, Big Ideas” (also our inspiration today, hence title)! 

Their furniture factories are almost 40 years old and began with her family who started the factory in the Philippines and lived in a small room in the back of the office area. Roxy remembers pictures of her first birthday against a backdrop of rattan poles and furniture frames! They then moved to the US to be closer to the “furniture capital” of the world – specifically North Carolina where Roxy grew up. Having finished grad school at Parsons The New School for Design, with the intent of becoming a fashion buyer (which she did for 3 years), she found her way back to furniture. “It’s in my blood.” Roxy proudly shared. 

With all these similarities to fashion and furnishings we had in common, we were even more excited to partner together. And because Roxy reminded me that “a beautiful life starts at home,” I wanted to get started immediately with some beautiful pieces from Society Social!

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill reveals Small Spaces, Big Ideas with Roxy Te on The Style Bungalow

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill shares Small Spaces, Big Ideas with Roxy Te on The Style Bungalow

Given that I transformed my only one bedroom into a walk-in closet we had to get really clever with turning the living space into a bedroom and living room (studio living again), without it feeling that way. Because small spaces need to serve multiple purposes, I sometimes forget it doesn’t mean it all has to at the same time. Danielle advised that I buy full-size furniture in this space (you’re probably wondering why and how!?), “Having actual scaled furniture creates a space to live in and not just look appealing. Blending scale is critical in all spaces, but it can also make small spaces appear larger. I felt that it was important for her to invest in pieces that she could move with her into another place while serving as anchored building blocks to work from. Furniture should be something that you invest in – not something purchased by impulse and tossed aside.” 

Then, it was important to separate each area into different zones by arranging and moving furniture around to create a line between each area.

For us, that meant working with Roxy on a few different pieces. First one was to design a custom bench that would be placed in front of my “library” (originally a closet/laundry machine space that Danielle switched up with a fresh coat of paint and custom grasscloth shelves). It doubles as overflow seating and works seamlessly in front of my bed. Danielle advised, “Choose a multifunctional purpose item with performance linen, Steph. The linen resist pilling and fading over the years and is easy to clean.” We wanted a pastel pink custom bench that would also tie in wonderfully with my full-sized pastel pink sofa. “Pink is a color that can work with so many backgrounds and look great. It’s a perfect soft neutral for Palm Beach, feminine and soft, with great shape and structure that was essential and anchored the room,” Danielle affirmed. I wanted an extra touch: tassels. And Roxy agreed, “Tassels are always a good idea and beige is a bit boring.” So, we chose to have tassels line the pastel pink sofa (which I love so much!) as it fully complemented the design aspect. We positioned it against the longer side of my wall, which faced the console and my Frame TV. Fun fact: I store most of my cleaning supplies underneath this sofa now (easy space saver). Lastly, it was time to select the coffee table. We wanted something fun, yet classic that would bring together all the pinks and rattan. That’s why we went with this coffee table, fun because of its unique shape and classic because of its material, which speaks cohesively to Society Social’s brand: “colorful, classic and fun.”

Danielle was so adamant about my furniture selections being full-size in here, but it makes total sense now seeing it in my space and knowing it will someday fit in my future home, too. Just goes to show how much I’ve learned from her… 

And her recommending Society Social, exceeded my expectations: “They make wonderful products and can turn it around in no time at all! I think the furniture industry is starting to move to a model like this that allows individuals to do semi-custom designs and create personalized investment pieces in a reasonable amount of time…and they’re based in the US, which is important!”

Blouse: Stateside Skirt: Zimmermann Earrings: (c/o) Missoma Necklace: (c/o) Missoma

Bracelet: (c/o) Missoma 

We’re beyond thankful for Roxy’s sweet and thoughtful spirit during our collaboration and believe too, that “you can change a moment, celebrations big or small, through intentional design whether it’s through furniture or interiors.” 

And yes, in case you’re wondering, my fiancé digs the pink. I think it’s growing on him!

Be sure to visit Society Social’s first ever flagship now open in Atherton Mill in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood. You can browse their signature furniture designs and carefully curated gifts from around the world! Shop, sit and stay awhile at their 20 foot Pagoda bar and experience their colorful brand #IRL.

Xo, Stephanie

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