Space can be a problem for 21-year-old Keaton Van’t Hull, so he designed a coffee table to fix that. Then he won $1,000.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout senior and native of St. Michael, Minn., entered his design for a coffee table able to store two chairs — which he also designed — into a contest hosted by the International Housewares Association, placing third out of 325 other entries from 42 universities around the world.

“We were instructed to make something we could relate to, and an issue that I have personally living in a really small apartment is limited space,” Van’t Hull said, ”We actually had to hold my girlfriend’s birthday party at somebody else’s house just because we have so little space.”

The chairs can be removed or placed into the table’s 40-inch-wide frame by lifting the top of the table, which can be moved back down to resume function as a 20-inch-high coffee table.

The chairs can be set out for seating or put into the table when not needed, preserving living space.

Trimm, as the chair-table combination is called, was chosen as one of the top six designs submitted to the contest and will be featured in an exhibition from March 5-8 in Chicago at the International Home + Housewares Show.

Van’t Hull is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of fine arts degree in industrial design.

Ben Farniok is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.