Name: Ricardo Guisse and three roommates
Location: Washington, DC
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 3 years
Architectural charm fills this renovated row house, as do roommates! Four young professionals share this 850 square foot rental home (an affordable option in a big city). With so little space, the challenge was creating a comfortable home with enough room. Their smart storage solutions help the small space function and look stylish.
They divvied up the home this way: a couple resides in the basement suite, which is a small bedroom, small closet, kitchenette and a den. The other two roommates have the two bedrooms on the third floor. All the roommates share the main floor's living/dining space, kitchen and powder room.
Roommate Ricardo Guisse explains how they created a cozy living situation for four people:
"We maximized the space and created storage everywhere possible by using practical, functional and slender furniture, which we were fortunate to get from friends and from people around our neighborhood. We placed a medium-sized sofa with a chair, two side tables, a long short credenza, and suspended the TV on the wall. This layout allowed a compact and comfortable living space. More so, it opened up a space between the now living room and the kitchen, thus creating a small dining area. We used a unique high table with extra storage and backless stools that tuck underneath, helping save even more space. We finished the design by adding two extra bar stools around the kitchen island to allow more seating for guests, and hung tall artwork to accentuate the high ceilings.
In the kitchen, we installed ladder shelves to not crowd and cover the lovely windows, which also allowed for extra appliance and food storage. By doing all of this, our common area became suitable for the housemates as well as guests."
A few modifications were made to create more storage in the basement suite for the couple, and the den features a futon that can be used for guests. They hid unpleasant home features like a utility closet door with a screen, and added a tall mirror to make the corridor feel more spacious. On the second floor, a tall bed with storage underneath and an armoire help create storage in the two bedrooms.
"After everything came together, we have learned that we didn't achieve a glorified housemate situation, but a place where four friends can collaborate and grow just like a family."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Transitional Style
Inspiration: Furniture by Thomas Pheasant and homes by Donald Lococo.
Favorite Element: Our most favorite element in our house is the bar height table with storage for wine and backless stools because it's stylistically simple, and practically designed.
Biggest Challenge: Out biggest challenge was to provide a comfortable open space for a dining room. We reconfigured the sofa by facing it toward the TV, giving the appearance of a more contained space, and visually providing an open space for a small dining table.
What Friends Say: Our friends love the openness of our main space just as how seamless the transition from the living, dining, and kitchen areas are for entertainment.
Biggest Embarrassment: Saying that some of our nicest furniture isn't ours has particularly raised eyebrows. However, we should highlight that the friends who let us borrow it were paying a lot to have it in storage. So it was a win-win.
Proudest DIY: Our proudest DIY was creating a second closet in the basement suite. In a space dedicated for washer and dryer units, we used basket drawers, racks, and hanging rods on the walls. Then, we covered the opening with sliding decorative panels.
Biggest Indulgence: The red leather sofa was the most costly item we purchased, but mainly because of the color and style that made the whole design cohesive.
Best Advice: One of our roommates suggested having a futon for our basement, which made the space very flexible. It allowed the space to become a lounge and a guest room depending on how the futon is used.
Dream Sources: IKEA was definitely an excellent source for everything we needed, as well as Target and miscellaneous second-hand stores.
Sofa — Craigslist
Clock — Thrift store
Side tables — IKEA
Credenza — Given to us as a friend
Table and portraits — Given to us from a friend
Gingseng tree aka Groot — IKEA
DC cutting board — Bed Bath and Beyond (Only available in stores in DC)
Glass canisters — Target
Shelving units — The Home Depot
Bar stools — Given to us from a friend
Silver platter — Thrift store
Bar unit — Target
Trash can — Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Tapestry — Roommate brought it from Indonesia