Jen & Omar's Inspired Apartment

House Tour

Name: Jen & Omar; 2 cats, Dillon & Will
Location: Grandview — Columbus, Ohio
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 3 months — rented

It's hard to believe, but a few short months ago, this apartment in the Columbus suburb of Grandview was a bachelor pad. Now the small space is home to two designers (Jen Adrion and Omar Noory), two cats (Dillon and Will) and one little business--These Are Things, a design company best known for its simple vintage-modern world maps (and, more recently, city and U.S. maps; calendars, t-shirts, cards and stickers).

This House Tour isn't Jen and Omar's first appearance 'round these parts: These are Things has been featured on Apartment Therapy and Ohdeedoh, most recently when it was thisclose to being a finalist in the Design Showcase 2010; shortly before she moved in with Omar, Jen opened up her former apartment for a House Call.

Jen and Omar's decisions in their new home's interior decor reflect an aesthetic similar to that of their company: despite their landlord's "no-paint" edict, theirs is a bright and cheery space, with nods to designs of the past (for instance, Eames Management-esque desk chairs) paired with more contemporary works. It is also a deeply personal space, with their own work on display, as well as that of family members and design contemporaries.

Jen moved in in July; in preparation for cohabitation, the pair had to get rid of items both large--(I was lucky enough to score a hairpin-leg bed frame Jen sold on Craigslist)--and small (Jen gave carloads of art supplies to a local studio). By paring their belongings down, those pieces that do remain are standouts. Though no small amount of space is dedicated to their up-and-coming business, Jen and Omar have created an inviting, uncluttered and warm space with plenty of room for their imaginations to roam.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We just recently moved in together, so we discovered our shared style while merging the contents of our two apartments. We found that we are happiest when our space is as clean and clutter free as possible. Eliminating extra stuff left us with lots of room to show off the things that we really love.

Inspiration: When we were stuck in the middle of our huge decluttering project, there was nothing more motivating than a good episode of Hoarders.

Favorite Element: The red archway. It's our only violation of the landlord's "no painting" rule!

Biggest Challenge: We're dealing with the standard challenges that face a lot of renters. We aren't allowed to paint. (Oops...) Maintenance is out of our hands. (Solution to rusty tub issue: coat with white spray paint!) Fixtures and appliances are outdated. (See Biggest Embarrassment for details!)

What Friends Say: "Baller."

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen! The floors and the countertops are both covered with the same dingy linoleum tiles, there's no garbage disposal, and the appliances are ancient. It's not ideal. But we still manage to cook some pretty great meals in there!

Proudest DIY: We needed a place to keep all of our maps, so we started looking at traditional metal flat files. Then we realized that they are terribly expensive and WAY too big for our needs. We ended up building our own custom version using materials from the hardware store. It's worked out perfectly. Here's how we did it: http://thesearethings.com/blog/?p=752

Biggest Indulgence: For a while, our studio was a random mix of folding tables and old chairs from Staples. Since we spend a majority of time in this space, we decided to buy new desks and chairs. It was totally worth it.

Best Advice: Figure out what matters most to you and get rid of the rest. You won't miss it! (Well, maybe for just a moment, as you're driving away from the donation box... but you'll get over it.) Once we made those tough decisions, the rest all fell into place pretty easily.

Dream Sources: In May, we visited the International Contemporary Furniture Fair for the first time and saw lots of independent designers who are making really beautiful things. We fell in love with so many pieces: a dining table from Miles and May, the end grain series from Peter Sandback, wallpaper from Missprint, and sofas from Blu Dot. Hey, maybe someday!

Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

    • Behr Fireglow on the red archway between the studio and the living room. All other paint was already on the wall when Jen and Omar moved in and cannot be color-matched, despite their best attempts.

LIVING ROOM

    • Bike hooks - Delta Leonardo
    • Bookshelves - Discarded retail display shelves, rescued by Omar
    • Sofa and nesting tables - IKEA
    • Vases - Crate & Barrel
    • Presidential portraits - Yard sale
    • TV cart - Container Store
    • Desk - IKEA
    • Drawer unit - Elfa/Container Store
    • Columbus, USA, and Europe maps - by These Are Things
    • Blue print above bookshelf - by Friends With You

STUDIO

    • Desks - West Elm
    • Chairs - Zuo Modern
    • Love Mankind wall decal - by Omar
    • Curtains - IKEA
    • Neon silkscreen print - by Panayiotis Terzis
    • Flower photo - by Diane Adrion
    • Letterpressed world map - by These Are Things

BEDROOM

    • Bedframe, nightstand, mirror - IKEA
    • Pillows - Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Goods
    • Wall calendar - by Jen
    • Zigzag rug - West Elm
    • Hooks - Columbus Architectural Salvage
    • Curtains - Bed Bath & Beyond
    • Framed Ohio landscapes - by Omar

BATHROOM

    • Shower curtain - Urban Outfitters

Thanks, Jen & Omar!

Images: Jen Adrion

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