A 350-Square-Foot Austin Studio Apartment Is Tiny, but Colorful and Bright

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Small green corduroy sofa set underneath open shelving in colorful loft apartment living room.

William Swinton-Ginsberg and his two cats, Willie and Waylon, have been renting this 350-square-foot studio apartment in Austin’s Cherrywood neighborhood for four years. He pays $950 a month in rent: I’m an urban planner living alone in this tiny loft apartment. It’s all one room, so the only door is to the bathroom. Because the apartment is so small, much of the furniture and shelving were built or altered to fit this specific space. I built the kitchen table myself and it has a round gap that was designed to wrap around the cement column near my stairs to save space.

Although it’s a rental property, it’s been passed from friends over the past eight years. Each friend who had it before me were designers and artists and added certain elements (like the shelving) that remain today. The giant glass double doors bring in tons of natural light, which make it a great home for all of my house plants. And all of the shelving and ledges in the loft make for great vantage points for my two cats to observe the apartment.

My identity is wrapped up in the entire apartment in different ways. I’m from Kentucky and many of the small objects around my apartment are things that I brought to Texas that make it feel a bit more like home. I miss how lush Kentucky was, so I try to include lots of green and as many plants as possible. Living alone leaves lots of free time for reading, so much of the apartment is taken up by my books. It’s to the point where they’ve overrun my shelves and now stacks of books have become accents in different parts of the apartment.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Tiny, colorful, open, and bright.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room in the apartment is the kitchen. It’s a tiny kitchen, but has just enough space for two people to cook. The natural wood butcher top counters remind me of the natural wood kitchen I had when I was growing up. All of the shelving meant that I didn’t have to give up my cooking appliances, accessories, ingredients, and dining/drink ware (despite there barely being enough room to turn around).

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I added to my home is the custom wood dining table I mentioned before. I have a friend who works in steel fabrication and another who’s a carpenter and they both allowed me to use their shops and expertise to help me build a table that saves space and reminds me of how this apartment itself is a reflection of the ingenuity of my friends and myself.

Any advice for creating a home you love? My only advice is never stop changing the space you live in. I’ve been guilty of going through phases where I don’t change/add/remove items from my apartment. Stagnation is something to avoid in life, but also in homemaking. I’m constantly changing and so is the space around me.

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