This Couple Aced Organizing a 400-Square-Foot Apartment
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Name: Crystal Meyer, and my husband, Garrett
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Size: 475 square feet (400 if you’re not counting closets or the bathtub)
Years lived in: 3 years, renting
My husband and I are both mechanical engineers—he works designing power plants, and I work at a roller coaster design company. Our engineering brains definitely drive our space to be functional.
Our possessions reflect our hobbies: We both love reading, playing board games, and playing the piano. In fact, the piano took priority over a dining table for a couple years!
This was my first post-college apartment, and I chose it imagining that I’d be the only person to live in it. Despite lacking amenities like a dishwasher or effective a/c, it had enough charm (and a newly-renovated bathroom) to win me over. It’s a one-bedroom apartment, but it’s quite compact. When my husband moved in two years later, the landlord didn’t think we would even last three weeks, let alone a year!
After he moved in, hanging things up on the wall (with our landlord’s blessing) saved us. Combining possessions was quite the adjustment process—kudos to my nearby parents for being able to store a few items for us. The baskets you see beneath the kitchen cart are a vital component of our pantry!
We intentionally store the TV away in the bedroom, often unplugged. We set it up on the kitchen cart for movie nights, but we don’t want it to be a focal point in our space. We do have our laptops, a desk, and other storage in the bedroom by necessity.
I work dangerously close to an IKEA, so it took a concerted effort to not turn the place into an IKEA showroom. The coffee table (along with the not-pictured mid-century modern desk, bed, and nightstands) all came from my grandmother, who had great taste in furniture in her day. The brown suede futon was a surprisingly robust Value City Furniture purchase that made it through college with me.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The dining table! We found it (unfinished) on Craigslist and finished it ourselves. It was the perfect height to leave one drop-leaf up over the radiator and fold the other down to save space when not in use. We scoured the internet for stools that could rotate and slide between the narrow table legs and found these on Amazon.
How long have you lived here? Two years as a single lady, one year with two of us after marriage. We recently seized the opportunity to move into a different apartment on the same street to have a little more elbow room to eventually start a family.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? A larger kitchen, of course! Though if you asked either of us, we’d tell you how much we enjoyed adapting to the small space. We’d make the range cleaner and give it a window in the oven door. It was functional but definitely not pretty.
We’d also level out the floor in the bedroom by the desk so the chair didn’t perpetually roll to the left… and we’d prevent the doors from swelling and not shutting in the summertime. We had to reassure guests that the bathroom door wouldn’t shut…just stick it shut the best you could!
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