A 525-Square-Foot 1920s LA Rental Apartment Is Small But Sophisticated

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Living room with light gray sofa, black door, David Hockney print, and portrait of male body
Living room shot with David Hockney print and yard sale gay art!

Name: Ryan Worthington, roommate, Ed, and two cats
Location: West Hollywood, California
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 525 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

Bedroom cabinet featuring my male bust sculpture and paintings. (Mirror is from a 1960s beauty parlour.)

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: We live in a small yet charming Spanish bungalow in Los Angeles built circa 1920. Prior to this, my roommate, Ed, and I had been sharing a studio apartment for some years after we met working at a fabric showroom in the Pacific Design Center. Anything would’ve been better than two grown men sharing a studio, but fortunately, we found this apartment with its original hardwood floors, brick fireplace with landscape motifs, and huge floor-to-ceiling windows.

Now, I work as a home stager and designer while Ed works in finance. Ed gave me much leeway to design the common spaces, and we agreed I’d aim for a modern take on casual California design. I added lots of layers in accessories and art, bought some fun bungalow-esque leather sling chairs, and added lots of greenery to make our home feel like a small home off a tropical coast rather than in the middle of the city.

I have a penchant for collecting antiques so my bedroom features many of the furnishings I’ve gathered over the years, whether they were inherited, bought at an estate or yard sale, or made myself. I (nervously) painted my small bedroom a deep navy blue and I’m so glad I did because it made the room feel much richer and moody than it did in plain white. My favorite piece is a large black vanity I bought from my work, even though my boyfriend, Brian, points out often it serves no practical purpose and doesn’t have any storage… but who doesn’t love a little drama?

Gay pointillism art. Anyone know the artist?

Both my roommate and I identify as gay. I wanted our home to be a reflection of us and our identity via the art we chose. I first put up my favorite David Hockney print, which makes me proud to have a brilliant gay artist’s work adorning our walls. Then I put up a stunning piece featuring a man’s nude torso I found at a garage sale and picked up for $10. It’s a stunning piece and made entirely in pointillism, but I’ve yet to discover the artist’s name. If anyone knows, please help me out!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Easy-going yet Dramatic Bungalow

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room must be my bedroom solely because it was never “designed” like our living room. Instead, it’s just a combination of things I love and collected over the years. Every book, pillow, chair, and piece of art in my room has some memory or feeling attached to it. All these items somehow worked magically together in this small room and created a safe haven for me. I feel like it is the best reflection of me and my interests — and is probably what the inside of my brain looks like!

Gorgeous bone inlay chair featuring some of my favorite books.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Find one piece you love, and go from there. A beautiful rug, a favorite artwork, a big collection of books… whatever it is, use it as inspiration for your next piece and so on until you have a room (or home) full of things that make you proud. We all love the gorgeous homes in magazines and on IG, but those are usually omitting all the personal attributes that make it YOUR home. Those are the things you and even your guests fall in love with it. Oh, and make sure you buy the right size rug, it makes a big difference.

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