Monica's Teeny-Tiny Student Studio

House Tour

Name: Monica, Graduate Student at the University of Michigan, Mildred the dog
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Size: 350 square feet studio
Years lived in: 6 months, rented

Graduate students often don't have the time to make their temporary rental a home. With limited budgets, no free time and the scramble to settle into a new city, there's usually little room for nesting in their schedules. I was quite drawn to Monica's teeny-tiny studio, measuring in at just around 350 square feet. It has the efficiency and neatness that one needs to study and focus, but this home is more than your average grad student pad — Monica's place has a cozy sense of warmth.

Monica's sweet dog, Mildred was more than happy to show me around her place on that snowy Ann Arbor afternoon when I stopped by. Even though her space is tiny, Monica still has plenty of room to host friends and colleagues, making this studio more than just a place to crash and study, it's a place to call home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Inspiration: Decorative vardos.

Favorite Element: I really like my kitchen table/counter, which is actually a beautiful teak writing desk. The drawers are useful for storing small kitchen items and it has wings that slide out on the sides for added "counter" space.

Biggest Challenge: When I first stepped into the space I was overwhelmed by the pink tint in the wall paint. Repainting walls in rented units is always a hassle so I looked into temporary wall paper. It turns out that stuff's pretty expensive, so I went with a cheap alternative - fabric, from the clearance bins. I pinned frayed panels of it over most of my sort-of pink walls. The brilliant thing about this option is the ease of switching up colors, textures and patterns at your whim.

What Friends Say: Everyone initially reacts to how cozy it is and find it to be a pretty relaxing and inviting space to cook, study or gab. They also think Mildred's pretty cute.

Biggest Embarrassment: One of the first times I had people over for dinner, I discovered just before serving that I had only one fork. I just never expected people to want to hang out in a space this small, so I wasn't prepared.

Proudest DIY: Limited cupboard space in the kitchen meant getting creative with hooks. I really like the rack of hooks I hang my mugs on.

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen table/writing table.

Best Advice: Small spaces are great for transitional times in your life because they require little investment. Maximize these spaces with low profile furniture, hooks and mirrors and think creatively about repurposing furniture and other fixtures that follow you from home to home.

Thanks, Monica!

(Images: Smith Schwartz)

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