This 560-Square-Foot Studio Apartment Is Full of Gorgeous Renter-Friendly Inspiration

updated Feb 5, 2020

This 560-Square-Foot Studio Apartment Is Full of Gorgeous Renter-Friendly Inspiration

updated Feb 5, 2020
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Name: Miki Carter
Location: Pasadena, California
Size: 560 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

Miki Carter is a lawyer by day and an interior design enthusiast by night (okay, and day, too). Her design-loving Instagram @plot.twist.interiors is chock full of playful interior inspiration, making it clear she has a passion for design, art, and all things creative. And she’s turned her historic apartment into something that represents her modern, colorful aesthetic.

Miki’s apartment is located inside the historic Pasadena landmark Castle Green. “I first saw Castle Green when I was across the street at Central Park attending the Jackalope Art Fair. I was drawn to the Mediterranean and Moorish Revival architecture, so when I got home I did my Googles,” Miki recalls. “I learned that Castle Green was built in 1898 as an annex to the resort Hotel Green. In the 1920s it was converted into private residences, some of which were available for rent. A few lucky Craigslist searches later, I found an available studio unit and moved in. I’m so grateful to live here!” 

While living at the castle sometimes presents its challenges (i.e., people literally get married here), Miki loves that there is never a dull moment. Just last year, Donald Glover filmed this Adidas commercial in the lobby, and participating residents open their doors to the building’s bi-yearly public tour. When speaking with Miki about her home, she gushed over her eclectic neighbors and the building’s architecture. In just over one year of living in her coveted apartment, she has managed to beautifully incorporate her colorful, modern aesthetic in with the existing antique architectural details to create a storied vibe that feels fun and full of character.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Maximal, Colorful, Quirky, Kitschy, Feminist, Grandpa Alien

Inspiration: My childhood, India Mahdavi, Leah Ring, Dusen Dusen, 2LG Studio

Favorite Element: I like decor items with meaning, and my favorites are those that remind me the most of my friends and family. My friend Jessie Kritt (@the.weekend.weaver on Instagram) made the incredible weaving above my desk that ties all of the colors of the space together perfectly, and my Grandma Mary made the Crown Royal bag quilt (she didn’t drink all of the bags hehe). Jessie and Grandma Mary both take commissions by the way! And Grandma Mary’s blanket is actually available and for sale at Reparations Club!

Biggest Challenge: The worst thing about living in a Nationally Registered Historic Monument is that every change I want to make needs approval by the board. This added layer makes it hard to make more permanent changes, even if I’ve managed to convince my landlord (the owner). 

Proudest DIY: My friend Ashley Lukashevky and I spent a whole afternoon putting up the removable “Getting Handsy” wallpaper by Kate Zaremba. It’s actually super easy to assemble, but I didn’t have a tall enough ladder, so I had to stack a bunch of law school and Harry Potter books on a step stool and stand on my tip toes. With lots of sweat, and calves burning, we eventually did the damn thing.

Biggest Indulgence: The wallpaper (worth it!). Everything else is second hand, Target, or IKEA.

Best Advice: Decorate your home with things that actually make you happy instead of trying to keep up with design trends or design influencers. And, take your time.

What’s your best home secret? Craigslist is the way, the truth, and the life.



  • I haven’t changed the original paint that was here before I moved in, so I’m not sure.


  • Eames “Hang-It-All” for Herman Miller (knock off) – Amazon
  • Hand Chair – Second hand (Let Go app)


  • Pink Lamp – Craigslist
  • Eames Molded Plastic Rocker (knock off) – Craigslist
  • Chandelier – Justina Blakeney
  • Soft Palette Pillow Cover – Bfgf, sold at Reparations Club
  • Bookshelf – A friend who moved
  • Coffee Table  – Facebook Marketplace
  • Cloud Blue Abigail Loveseat – Facebook Marketplace, but originally from World Market
  • Shag Area Rug –
  • Floor Pillows – Target
  • Chair – Target
  • Floor Lamp  – Target 
  • Wall Mirror – Craigslist, but originally from Lamps Plus
  • Checker vase – Goodwill
  • Green planter – Home Depot
  • Multi colored planter – Work giveaway pile
  • Abstract ceramic – Pot LA
  • Triangle pipe – Slug Ceramics
  • Floor Mirror – Craigslist
  • Desk – Ikea
  • Desk Chair – Craigslist
  • Lollipop Charger – Work swag 
  • Tucan Lamp – A gift from a friend
  • Curtains – Ikea
  • Plants – Folia Collective
  • Hanging Tulip Lamp – Craigslist
  • Wood Painting – Urban Outfitters
  • Dancing Ladies Print – Laura Callaghan 
  • Blk Girl Solider Poster – Jamila Woods merch 
  • Tune Yards Nikki Nack tour poster – Tune Yards merch by Wes Winship and Mike Davis
  • Nice For What Poster – Rinny Riot 
  • Weird At Last Poster – Welcome to Night Vale podcast merch by Jessica Hayworth
  • Eat The Rich Dumpling Ceramic – by Phuong Pham from Pot LA
  • The Black Power Tarot – By King Khan sold at Reparations Club
  • “Hella Black” zine by cartoonist Lawrence Lindell 


  • Getting Handsy Wallpaper – Kate Zaremba
  • Singer sewing machine – Craigslist
  • Y2K ceramic – Pot LA
  • Tulip table – Ikea
  • Kitchen Chairs – Facebook Marketplace
  • Last Black Man In San Francisco poster – by Akiko Stehrenberger for A24
  • Kraft Paper Roll – Amazon
  • Flower vase – West Elm
  • Flower Arrangement – by Under New Mgmt


  • Crown Royal blanket – by my Grandma
  • Opalhouse Green Into Parakeet Reversible Comforter Set – Target
  • July Throw – by James Daw for Slowdown Studio
  • Flower Arrangement – by Under New Mgmt
  • Rude Girls Take Over The World print – by Egle Zvirblyte
  • Save the OA print – by Emma Hall sold at Society 6


Thanks, Miki!

*Correction: The sources of some decor in her apartment were corrected.