A 500-Square-Foot Attic Apartment in an Old, Historic House Is an Adorable Home for an Artist

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Name: Briana McNamara
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Type of home: Apartment in an old, historic home
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My home is *technically* the attic space of a house built in the late 1800s, but it’s the perfect downtown apartment for a designer and artist like me. When I signed the lease, the place was a disaster. Everything was gutted—no flooring, cabinets, refrigerator—you get the idea. Well, I took the risk and managed to move in with just a few projects to tackle on my own. A couple of coats of hunter green paint and the once-gross attic space turned into a modern bohemian-inspired sanctuary. Because of the oddities in the floor plan, I had to get creative with my furniture layout and decor. I welcomed this challenge and enjoyed learning to embrace multi-functional furniture. This comes with practice, as this is my second studio apartment that’s needed some TLC and elbow grease.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Quaint, modern-bohemian, charming welcoming, artistic

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is my nook. The slanted ceiling and double french doors emphasize the character of the historic home, which is what drew me into the space to begin with. I’ve strung layered, vintage lights above my love seat and added a cow hide rug to cozy it up. I love the dramatic mood the dark walls brought into the space. The nook turns into my makeshift painting studio frequently. It’s typically covered in a massive tarp, paint splatters and half-finished canvases everywhere. You can find me in my favorite overalls, glass of wine and paint brush in hand, creating abstract art pieces in the little space that means so much to me.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last things I bought for my home were simple, black frames for my gallery wall. I had a large wall that needed some attention, so I printed out some of my favorite black and white photos of loved ones and hung them in tidy rows to avoid making the space look smaller. I snagged the frames from Amazon and printed the photos at a local photo shop. Easy peasy, and affordable!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Take risks! For such a small studio, choosing a dark paint color seems like the wrong route. I trusted my gut and it ended up totally transforming the space. Do something new, something you would never expect yourself to like, and it might just pay off!

This submission’s responses have been edited for length and clarity.