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Unless you were born a Rockefeller, invested heavily in Google, ride the rent-control train, or still crash at your parent's house, you've experienced the whole NYC cramped living situation. But sometimes good things come in small packages, as evidenced by Ce Ce Chin, whose Chinatown studio is tiny but still packs a huge punch. The designer and founder of cult shoe line 80%20, Chin not only knows how to work the space smart, she's residing in a slice of her own history. The apartment has been in her family for over 60 years, as evidenced by knick-knacks from her grandparents' time—one corner houses a pencil sharpener, another an Acme safe Chin has hijacked into a makeshift fireplace. Our favorite hand-me-down? A bright red cabinet that's ditched her grandmother's pots and pans for Chin's not insignificant collection of shoes. Vintage isn't just relegated to the pad: The designer models her mother's old pieces she's perfectly incorporated into her Tina Chow goes to Shanghai look. Of course, we got the low-down—Chin shares her tips on dwelling and minuscule style, while dishing out one history lesson that'll actually have you taking you notes.
Click through for dreamy shots of Chin's world, complete with her musings, tips, and must-copy signature style.
Photos by Mark Iantosca