Janean & Kyle's Light and Lively Courtyard Apartment

House Tour

Name: Janean, Kyle and Pam the cat
Location: Short North — Columbus, Ohio
Size: 664 square feet
Years lived in: 4

Though their apartment is tiny, coming in at less than 670 square feet, the home Janean, boyfriend Kyle and cat Pam share in Columbus' Short North neighborhood is all charm. The ivy-draped courtyard apartment building, which dates back nearly 100 years (construction began in the 1910s, but was temporarily halted for lack of funds, delaying completion until the 1920s) has an alluring interior with details such as transom windows, French doors and a hex-tiled bathroom.

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Of all the historical elements crammed into the small residence, which you may recognize from Janean's Small Cool 2010 entry, it was the "old-timey" light fixtures--chief among them sconces throughout the apartment and a chandelier in the entry hall--that sold Janean on the rental when she and Kyle were apartment-hunting. And given that their previous domiciles were dark--Kyle's last bedroom was windowless--floor-to-ceiling windows didn't hurt, either. The pair's collections--Janean loves mid-century knicknacks; Kyle loves musical instruments--complement the existing architectural flourishes.

Together, Janean, an attorney for the state of Ohio, and Kyle, a student in the master's architecture program at Ohio State University, have created a cheery, spacious space with room for Janean to display her vintage collections and craft projects, for Kyle to make music and for Pam to sprawl out with abandon.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Retro-modern with a healthy dose of kitsch! Although I'm not one for excessive knick-knacks, i have an almost uncontrollable impulse to snap up cheap pieces of flair. If it's sorta-ugly and old, chances are, I have to have it! (This is a tendency Kyle wishes I could would down, I am afraid.)

Inspiration: My source of inspiration has to be the sets of 1950s, 60s and 70s movies and television shows. As a kid, I spent a lot of time watching "I Love Lucy," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched." As a teen, my favorite movie was "The Graduate." Now, I watch "Mad Men"--not that I want to mimic the style of the times completely, but it does figure pretty strongly into my decorating choices. ... Now if I could only find the space for a rolling cocktail cart!

Favorite Element: The windows overlooking the open-air courtyard. ... We both lived in what were basically caves before this.

Biggest Challenge: The stairs (four floors, no elevators), made moving in a challenge. Because of the masonry walls, we have to use a drill if we want to hang anything up. But really, I think the storage is the biggest challenge--we've had stuff scattered among various friends. And because this is an old building, it wasn't designed for modern technology, so there was, for instance, nowhere good to put a couch and a TV in front of it.

What Friends Say: It's "not as good as the apartment in 'The Room' (a cult classic considered to be one of the worst movies of all time); It lacks drapery and pictures of spoons."

Biggest Embarrassment: We had to use bins over the cabinets to store excess kitchenware. It was supposed to be temporary, but I haven't been able to find a better solution.

Proudest DIY: I think my favorite DIY is the table in the living room. I painted the underside of it orange and added metallic duct tape to the edge where the veneer had peeled off. Or, as Kyle points out, he did all this (but it was my idea, haha!).

Biggest Indulgence: I really don't have indulgences. For instance, the dining table and chairs cost $150. But I guess I do spend a lot of money on art, frames and things like that.

Best advice: My most candid decorating advice would have to be "easy come, easy go." I am always looking to change the decor in the apartment for the better. But, because I haven't usually spent too much on any particular item, I don't feel like I have to hold onto it if it isn't working in the space. Buy and sell and paint and donate with abandon!

Dream source: Design Within Reach

Resources: Funky & Functional, Gabriel Brothers, Craigslist, thrift stores (especially thanks to Janean's mom, a dedicated thrifter) and Etsy.

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(Thanks, Janean and Kyle!)

Images: Jennifer Wray

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