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A Man's Home

The First Apartment


Kyle Schuneman knows a few things about the design, space and budget limitations of apartment living—he's only 27. But he's also one of the most buzzed about interior designers in the industry. And thankfully, he's put his experience as a designer and art director to good use in his new book, "The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces." No, this isn't just a book of pretty pictures. The handy guide is full of real people's apartments all less than 1,000 sq. feet (including Schuneman's own), along with detailed instructions and cost breakdowns. "So many design books are just portfolios of high end designers and I just didn't relate," he says. "I wanted something that wasn't intimidating, but still fun and brings in a new group of people that are virgins to the design process." We recently caught up with Schuneman to talk about how guys can step up their home game.

How would you describe your design style?

I'm constantly evolving my own personal style, but I always seem to have a masculine base to it and love mixing textures. I think its important that a space feels effortless and timeless—that's how I'd describe good design.


Industrial furniture and a jute rug not only have a rugged, worn-in look, but are practical for someone with pets.

What should guys consider when thinking about their home?

When I work with guys, I try to start the process differently. Instead of creating a pretty room, it's about problem solving. Start with function—how the space needs to work—and then choose interesting pieces that can make it sing. Be honest about how you live (and not how you want people to think you live) and it will make for a much better room. And get a plant. Having a living thing in your place that you need to take care of creates a positive cycle in interacting with your surroundings and will make you care more about where you live.


Layering patterns is the easiest way to add depth and interest to a room.

What are three things that no guy should have in his home?

I hate that forgotten "ugly chair" in a guy's room. If you don't care about it, get rid of it. I'm also totally over the mass market "vintage posters" that you see everywhere. And the beer signs are just kinda lame. Spaces should be unique. I designed a man cave for a Hollywood writer and we showcased his Star Wars collection and even installed a urinal in the bathroom, but it was still sophisticated. So I think you can still have fun in a space, it's just a matter of juxtaposing that with a mature palette.

    Schuneman has subscribed to Architectural Digest since he was 13 years old.

The First Apartment Book,
$14 at Amazon