Dave's Tiny Urban Austin Studio

House Tour

Name: Dave Johannes
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 392 square feet
Years lived in: 1

You may remember Dave's place from his Small Cool entry — we liked so many things about Dave's apartment we knew we had to visit for a House Tour! Sure, Dave lives in a hip, urban apartment complex close to downtown Austin, but it's not his location that makes this tiny studio so great. Using smart furniture placement, keen style and a few neat tricks he has transformed this room into an apartment with many clear and distinct areas, with a beautiful and colorful end result!

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Dave's division of specific apartment areas definitely stands out, and is successful without being contrived or too forced. You can really get a sense of a separate dining area, living area, sleep area and work area. His ability to mix and match the furniture he's collected over the years — whether a family piece, Craigslist find or store bought — is strong and the place really feels cohesive. We loved his idea for dividing the "bedroom" from the "living room" by hanging up framed photographs; it is both clean and really does the trick of visually dividing the spaces.

He had mentioned his recent interest in strong primary colors, and that stands out clear with a bright, modern yellow side chair and his recent DIY project of the painted blue lockers. Coupled with his existing contemporary furniture it helps give the space a youthful and vibrant appearance. The only thing we ribbed him about was his wire management — it seemed pretty tangled for a tech dude like himself — but he admitted he had recently rearranged his space to accommodate the new locker find, so we won't hold it too against him. Dave's simple but successful ideas really create a pretty grown-up looking and nice apartment — despite the small size!

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Cool, calm, and comfortable. A mix of vintage and contemporary with found objects from around the world.

Inspiration: My parents. My years growing up with them I've had the opportunity to live in 5 different countries and visit many others, which exposed me to countless cultures and aesthetic styles.

Favorite Element: The pseudo-wall that separates the bedroom area from the rest of the apartment. These frames are hanging and suspended from chain links mounted to the ceiling. It adds real estate for a photo display in addition as acting as a room divider.

Biggest Challenge: Playing furniture Tetris to fit everything in the small space. I wanted very defined living spaces (bedroom, living, and kitchen area).

What Friends Say: They always talk about how I was able to fit so much in the little space.

Biggest Embarrassment: The basil, mint, and cilantro plants I grow on my balcony. By plants I mean the pots of soil filled with dead leaves and sticks.

Proudest DIY: The lockers. I found them on craigslist and picked them up from a metal junkyard. They were in really bad shape with rust and peeling brown paint. I sanded, primed, and repainted them blue.

Biggest Indulgence: Apple products.

Best advice: The newest acquisitions in my apartment are the red office chair, yellow fiberglass chair, and blue lockers. Before this, my apartment had a very subdued color palette. Don't be afraid of adding splashes of primary colors here and there.

Dream source: I don't really have a dream source. Everything I have is from a different place.

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    • Wood and glass side tables, designed by my mom and crafted in Jakarta, Indonesia
    • Blue lockers found on craigslist
    • Yamaha Clavinova keyboard
    • Sleeper sofa from craigslist
    • Yellow fiberglass chair, 1960s Krueger Metal Products, from craigslist


    • Kangaroo coffee table coasters from Sydney, Australia
    • Wall clock handcrafted from old clock parts and broken RCA Selectavision disc


    • Track lightin
    • Side table lamp from Eurway


    • Handmade Persian rug from Damascus, Syria


    • Headboard design by my mom and crafted, in Jakarta, Indonesia


    • Musical instruments oil painting bought in Camden Stable Markets, London, England
    • Wooden wine crate cover from Chateau Luchey-Halde, Bordeaux, France
    • Temple scene tapestry from Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan
    • Empire State Building construction photograph found on craigslist
    • "The Island" vegetable ink print bought at Staple Media Expo, Austin, Texas


    • Stained concrete

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Thanks, David!

Images: Adrienne Breaux

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Adrienne is a Southern writer who loves architecture, design, cats and science fiction. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine. She watches a lot of Star Trek.