For our COVID-19 response and vaccine update, click here.

2020 Small Space
Design Challenge

Small spaces are a trend that isn’t going away. We’ve seen it in everything from tiny homes, to the decluttering phenomenon. For seniors, it’s no different. Older adults are aging gracefully and making the decision to sell their homes and downsize to further enrich their lives in a new senior living community.

We’ve learned small spaces present giant opportunities for rich design. Hence, our Small Space Apartment Design Challenge. Our juried design competition challenged designers to develop an interior plan for a senior living studio apartment. Fourth year design student at the University of Minnesota College of Design, Rachel Kadidlo was selected as the winner, with her design named, “The Urban Cabin.”

Photo by Noelle Worstman

Photo by Noelle Worstman

Photo by Noelle Worstman

Photo by Noelle Worstman

Photo by Noelle Worstman

Photo by Noelle Worstman


Design Inspiration

Kadidlo describes her design as both a modern and sophisticated aesthetic, paired with local art that creates a sense of community. Wood, wicker and metal design elements take center stage and are paired with eye-catching yellow and royal blue to give these traditional materials an urban and modern twist. Kadidlo throws in a black and white plaid pattern to close the gap between the “urban” and “cabin” materials to add a uniquely Minnesota flare.

Knowing her specific audience, Kadidlo took the design a step further with her nods to small spaces. She purposely selected pieces that are both eye-catching, easily movable and multi-purposed, including an eye-catching coffee table that raises to convert into a dining table, wicker chairs that are easily moved into place when visitors arrive, a desk that folds to save space, and carts that can be used at the couch or to move heavy objects from room-to-room.

The Challenge

To enter The Pillars of Prospect Park Small Space Apartment Design Challenge, designers were challenged to develop a $4,500 interior plan for a senior living studio apartment. A jury rated each entry on its creative use of space and storage solutions, accessibility for seniors who may use walkers or wheelchairs, design elements that use furniture and décor to create a warm and user-friendly environment for the residents and their guests, inclusion of a work/game space, and innovative design features.

Runners Up

University of Minnesota College of Design junior Emily Herold, and senior Marlisha Carter, were named as 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Herold’s design focused on a use of color to define and divide spaces. In addition to typical storage options, she included multi-use furniture to save on space. She also used furniture that could easily be hidden when not needed to make way for more walkway space. She made a focus on reducing tripping hazards by leaving ample open space between pieces of furniture and making sure that furniture was sturdy.

In Carters’s design, accessibility was considered by using varying height placements, and adequate visibility. She provided more than standard clearance for wheelchair access. She also provided a range of storage options, including hanging hooks to store everyday items within view, as a visual reminder for people with early memory loss. She also proposed additional under cabinet lighting to help those with low vision.

Interested in living at The Pillars of Prospect Park?