A 325-Square-Foot “Cozy Femme Clutter” Chicago Studio

updated Feb 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Name: Andy Koch and Danielle Boachie, and cats Zeus and Miss Fluffy
Location: Hyde Park, Chicago, Illinois
Size: 325 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months; rented

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For such a small space, Andy and Danielle have their limited square footage very well divided into areas with different purposes. They, of course, have the basics such as a kitchen (which quite possibly used to be a hallway) and bathroom, but would you believe they fit a meditation space, a window garden, and a reading nook into 325 square feet?

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Andy, who is part Lebanese, and Danielle, who was born in Amsterdam and is from the Ashanti tribe of Ghana, found each other years ago in their hometown in North Carolina—not high school sweethearts, but they had likely passed each other briefly in the halls. Recently Andy found himself in a Nurse Practitioner masters program and working at a local ICU in Chicago, so the two packed up their home and their two cats, Zeus and Miss Fluffy, and moved themselves to a tiny, organized—and very intriguing—studio apartment in Hyde Park. Danielle was able to continue her master’s program in Women’s & Gender Studies with a concentration on African American & African Diaspora Studies online and travels back when necessary.

Andy and Danielle have mastered the art of squeezing purpose out of every square inch. From floor to ceiling, underneath and in-between, and even inside their closet (which has to be walked through to reach the bathroom), these two have crammed their space with love, happy colors, and important symbols of their convictions and lifestyle.

(Image credit: Danielle Boachie)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Andy– equal parts backwoods cabin and artsy activist
Danielle– cozy femme clutter

Our inspiration: Andy– a Japanese Soto Zen temple
Danielle– feminist bookstores and other people’s apartments

Biggest Challenge: Andy– downsizing from a two-bedroom house in Durham, NC to a studio apartment in Chicago
Danielle– making sure the apartment reflects both of our styles and needs

What Friends Say: Andy– it’s cozy
Danielle– it looks like it’s from Apartment Therapy. Also, there’s always wine.

Biggest Embarrassment: Andy– don’t open the medicine cabinet Danielle– we use our car as storage. Also, there is cat hair EVERYWHERE.

Proudest DIY: Andy– my fully functional 5-string banjo. It is hand crafted out of cherry and walnut hardwood and a vintage steel Christmas cookie tin that I found a a garage sale
Danielle– I made the floating altar for Andy. I got the inspiration from here but it only cost me $5.

Biggest Indulgence: Andy– the Jade plant
Danielle– the loft bed and the rug

Best Advice: Andy– don’t be afraid to live in a small space with a person that you love. Be intentional about making sure you each have a spot to call your own.
Danielle– nothing in your home has to be permanent. I’m constantly adding and subtracting to the space. It feels like my home grows with me.

Dream Sources: Andy– every thrift store and flea market in the world Danielle– Angela Davis’ attic

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Andy and Danielle, with cats Zeus and Miss Fluffy. (Image credit: Emma Fiala)



  • Sherwin-Williams #6078 — Realist Beige


  • photograph of black woman — Substantia Jones and The Adipositivity Project
  • Vermouth Martini print — thrifted
  • candle and stand — Home Goods
  • Black Panther “Revolution in Our Lifetime” print — Emory Douglas
  • bar tray — IKEA
  • coat rack — Walmart
  • entry way table — Danielle’s mom
  • cat dishes — thrifted
  • the cat’s food mat — IKEA


  • rug — IKEA
  • throw pillows — IKEA and thrifted
  • futon — college relic
  • futon cover — Right On Futons
  • faux sheep skin blanket — Williams-Sonoma
  • Marx, Engles & Lenin woodcut print — Reynaldo Olivares of the radical Mexican art collective Taller de Gráfica Popular
  • “2 de Octubre No Se Olvida & woodcut print – Also by Reynaldo Olivares
  • black cat portraits — Berkley Illustration
  • siren woodcut — print by Andy
  • canary oil painting — New Mexico wildlife artist (and Andy’s uncle) Joe Dowell
  • decorative letter K — Restoration Hardware
  • TITS cross stitch — gift
  • deer head — DIY
  • book shelves — DIY by Andy


  • Rosie the Riveter — Amazon
  • table — garage sale
  • Jade plant — Craigslist
  • hanging planters — eBay
  • floating altar — DIY by Danielle
  • wicker basket — thrifted


  • side table — IKEA
  • lamp — IKEA
  • coasters — Corkology
  • 5 gallon terrarium — DIY by Andy: 7 year old flowering Gingko and moss
  • cart — eBay
  • vintage rotary phone — thrifted
  • banjo — DIY by Andy
  • plants and pots — various sources including Craigslist, IKEA, Home Depot, and Adams & Son Gardens
  • window shades — IKEA


  • papasan — frame: dumpster dive; cushion: World Market
  • throw pillows — thrifted
  • side table — IKEA
  • mug — Anthropologie
  • elephant lamp — Walmart
  • coasters — Kate Aspen
  • floor lamp — IKEA
  • plants — Home Depot
  • sunburst mirrors — Amazon


  • drop leaf table — IKEA
  • folding chairs & hooks — IKEA
  • pig salt shaker — Target
  • alpaca pepper shaker — Target
  • leather coasters — ChargeIt by Jay
  • fruit bowl — Home Goods
  • flower vase — thrifted


  • iPad stand — DIY by Danielle
  • kettle — thrifted
  • framed art — thrifted
  • golden owl — Hobby Lobby
  • spice rack — IKEA
  • magnet knife rack — IKEA
  • bamboo dish rack — Amazon
  • pot rack — Kitchen Works


  • loft bed — IKEA
  • Juicy Couture cat bed — Kohls
  • bedding — Target



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Thanks, Andy & Danielle!