A Chic 380-Square-Foot Condo Has All Kinds of Smart Small Space Storage Ideas

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Name: Emily Davis
Location: Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Type of home: Condo
Size: 380 square feet
Years lived in: 1.3 years, owned

To maximize space, we went vertical as much as possible. In the kitchen we decided to build shelves to display the cookbooks above the doorway, and in the entrance we hung artwork.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live by myself in this charming little studio apartment in the center of Capitol Hill just a few blocks from the Capitol building. I had been looking to purchase a place for a long time, but nothing ever felt “right.” After years of searching, the moment I walked into this condo, I said, “This is it.”

This is one of the happiest spots in the whole condo. Having the wallpaper as a focal point and the natural light reflected in the mirror make it feel bigger than it really is (5’5” by 4’10”). The storage bench holds my purses and extra household items.

The building is from the 1920s, and I immediately fell in love with the dark hardwood floors and the bright windows in each room. I never thought I would buy a studio or any size unit without its own washer and dryer, but what can I say? It was love at first sight. They say that location is king when it comes to real estate and I completely agree. I may not have a washer and dryer, but I’m surrounded by friends who live in the neighborhood, multiple parks, my church, and lots of restaurants and shops. I couldn’t ask for anything better!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: An American Girl In Paris

I changed out the door knob of my closet and added two sconces that I picked up at a flea market in Paris to create a more dramatic entrance. All the little details in this entrance help it feel more elevated (even the switch plates were custom!).

What is your favorite room and why? This is a hard question! If had to pick, I guess I’d say the entryway. A friend suggested that I paint the entryway pink and I immediately said “YES.” I love coming home, opening the door and being surrounded by this warm and inviting pink space. It feels so homey! I scoured flea markets in Paris and at home for gold frames, sconces, and mirrors to hang there. I also really wanted to have a crystal doorknob on the closet door. I saw a pretty one online and just couldn’t get it out of my head. Unnecessary? Absolutely. Worth it? Completely.

I love books, so building a whole wall of built-ins to store them was key. The desk is integrated into the built-in to save on space. The design is based on a desk from IKEA that I previously owned but didn’t have space to bring with me.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I haven’t bought anything since I moved in, since I don’t have room for anything else! My favorite purchase hands down though are the blue and white bistro chairs from Serena and Lily. Whenever I’m in Paris, one of my favorite things is sitting outside a cafe and watching the day unfold. I was really hoping to work a classic French bistro chair into my home design. When I found these great chairs, I knew I’d accomplished my goal. I love the navy and white design, and they are so comfortable. It’s not quite like being in Paris, but they’re a nice reminder of Parisian afternoons spent at cafes on Boulevard St. Germain.

This is the view when you walk in the door and look into the main room. I love that even though it functions as my bedroom/living room/guest room, and office, it all fits together. My dual purpose favorites here are the loveseat turned sleeper and the lamp that serves as my phone charging station.

Any advice for creating a home you love? My biggest piece of advice would be to decide what’s important to you and spend your money on the things that matter most. This is personal and different for everyone. I know that this condo most likely isn’t my “forever home,” so I didn’t want to invest in expensive furniture that might not work in another house. Buy things you love, and you’ll love coming home.

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