This 1940s Rental Apartment Shows How to Fit A Lot of Function in a Small Space

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Credit: Josh Olson
Having such a small space required the main room to become multi-purpose; it serves as a living room, dining room, and studio

Name: Josh Olson
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 680 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

Credit: Josh Olson
An area of rest and an area of work

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: As a photographer and artist, my home is a live/work space situated inside of a historical 1940s apartment home. The initial goal was to create a simple and practical space, with enough workspace and storage for the equipment and supplies I need to make work. I also focused on creating a space conducive to hosting, be it for an energizing evening of cocktails with friends or for sharing a cup of coffee and conversation in the morning with a visitor.

Credit: Josh Olson
I use a folding round plastic table with an artisan table cloth for dinner parties

Working within the constraints of a 680-square-foot space, I was influenced by trips I had taken to Paris, Vancouver, and Marfa, Texas. I was particularly moved by Donald Judd’s home in Marfa, Texas, and looked to incorporate some of his ideology and energy when picking out furniture pieces. Much of the art collected and displayed is that of friends, mixed alongside the work of artists like Jason Polan, Mike Mitchell, Lyle Partridge, Anthony Warnick, and McBess.

Credit: Josh Olson
Walls can make great space for storage, but If I'm going to put something on my wall, I want it to look like it could be art.

While I do strive for minimalism, I believe in keeping plenty of personal effects, and proudly display far too many pieces on my walls and shelves to ever be considered a true minimalist.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Neutral, Geometric, Eclectic, Wabi-Sabi

Credit: Josh Olson
My cafe table from West Elm, and my kitchen

What is your favorite room and why? One of my favorite rooms to spend time in is my kitchen. When I moved in, I didn’t bring any cooking equipment. I instead picked out what I considered the most versatile and necessary gear for the meals I love to cook. I read articles by Wirecutter, Food 52, and Gordon Ramsay when deciding what I needed in my kitchen; they all have great guides that focus on the best kitchen essentials.

Credit: Josh Olson
My favorite parts of the kitchen, my most used tools, and a collection of Japanese-inspired stoneware from CB2

I particularly love my Kakomi Ceramic Rice Cooker, and Fellow Kettle, both of which I use daily. I also enjoy my Nespresso Creatista Plus, which I use to make espresso and matcha lattes. It’s the only machine I’ve found that can steam milk properly at home, and works so much better than a standalone frother. The room itself is seven x nine feet with a walkway that is just under three-feet wide. This gives it the feeling of cooking on a line when preparing meals, which is very energizing and stresses the importance of “mise en place.”

Credit: Josh Olson

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My coffee table, which is a collaboration between myself and Garret Nasset of Wolfram Studios. I conceptualized the design, and Garret sourced the Red Oak slab top and manufactured the piece. It’s inspired by the geometry a tripod makes with its legs; I wanted to translate that into the piece. Garret has a beautiful sense of craftsmanship, and was incredibly successful in bringing an element of nature into the space.

Credit: Josh Olson
A small desk for letter writing and reading / My bookshelf featuring a Standing Charred Teak Root sculpture from CB2

Any advice for creating a home you love? Creating a home you love is all about communication. Your pieces should be in constant communication with each other, be it through their palette, geometry, or narrative. Communicate to your guests through your decor that your home is a welcoming space, and always be ready for a visitor.

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.