The challenge: Karen Bachman bought a condo on the 12th floor of a 1980s high-rise in downtown Minneapolis. "It was dated, dark and depressing, but it had possibilities," said Bachman.

She planned to remodel the entire unit, including its study, which had dark oak bookcases and a desk designed before the age of PCs. Bachman wanted a new study, in a more compact space, that would include ample storage and still feel light, modern and open.

The designer: Architect Andrea Peschel Swan, Swan Architecture, Minneapolis (

The solution: Swan shifted the study wall two feet to give the adjacent living room more space. The new study is now a narrow galley shape. To create better flow to other rooms, Swan designed two new openings for entering and exiting the study. The final addition was new white laminate built-in cabinets and a desk to maximize storage and work space.

"It's such an efficient use of space, and everything is within easy reach," said Bachman. "And I have room for a TV, CD player and my laptop."

Creative lighting: Swan raised the ceiling a foot and installed track lighting with a dimmer switch. "Track lighting is often used in galleries, and you can aim it wherever you want," Swan said. Bachman likes the look and versatility of track lighting. "You don't have to clutter up surfaces with lamps," she said.

One-of-a-kind cabinets: "We designed the bookshelves to be only as deep as the biggest book, to take up less space," said Swan. The upper-cabinet door lifts up and stays in place, leaving hands free.

Red, white and black: Swan repeated the three-color scheme from the condo's other rooms, which have white walls for displaying Bachman's art collection.

Cityscape: Moving the wall opened up the study's view of downtown Minneapolis.

Files at her fingertips: Within the narrower space, Bachman can "turn my chair and I have access to all the file cabinets."

Best part: Bachman spends four to six hours a day in her uncluttered, always organized study. "It's my working hub," she said. "It's just so efficient, and I feel like my time is well spent."

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619