Nic & Andrew’s Minimal Black & White Home in Minneapolis

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Name: Nic and Andrew
Location: North Loop — Minneapolis, Minnesota
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented

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In a recent addition to the North Loop of Minneapolis, you’ll find uniquely shaped apartments completed with different finishes and materials. On the level that boasts concrete floors, in a unit with a balcony overlooking the street, you’ll find Nic, Andrew, their dog, and not much else! They have successfully moved themselves and their belongings into 800 square feet of uniquely shaped space. Empty countertops, a meticulously organized closet, and only the most important elements are found here. Nic and Andrew have personalized their small space while keeping it practical and perfect for entertaining.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Their space is bright, white, flexible and and fun. The furniture is mobile and can expand and contract as needed. A long main living area with a slanted wall of windows makes for a potentially challenging space to fill, but Nic and Andrew have used their creative expertise to utilize the space quite efficiently. Keeping the couch off the wall allows room for a desk to fit their work-from-home lifestyle, and painting a wall gold helped to anchor the bar cart, creating a little area of its own on the opposite end of the room.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Nic and Andrew have been able to leave their personal mark on this space via that unexpected gold wall, black walls in the kitchen (to help separate that space from the rest of the living area), and three hand-painted original murals done by Andrew himself. The largest mural is found in the living room behind the sofa. The next is on a narrow wall in the bedroom and serves as a sneaky way to disguise the HVAC system access door. (The door is too tall to be easily covered by a mirror or a large art piece, so the mural perfectly masks the access door while easily allowing it to be opened when needed.) The third mural is much smaller and wraps around the wall above the shower in the bathroom.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Sophisticated/Beachy/Scandinavian/Minimal, with an emphasis on a neutral palette with black and white accents.

Inspiration: Patricia Urquiola, Villa Overby by John Robert Nilsson, Dezeen, Architectural Digest, design blogs.

Favorite Element: Hands down the hand-painted mural in the living room. It’s a custom illustration by Andrew.

Biggest Challenge: The size of the space. We wanted to have larger, more comfortable pieces, like the large dining table and the plush couch, but making them fit into a small footprint was tough. We ended up choosing a couch without arms to not only fit with our style but to get the largest piece possible without making the space feel overly full. The same in the dining area: we wanted to have a large table for gatherings. We ended up going with an expandable table that goes from seating 6 to 12. The space overall feels a little more full than it could because of those pieces, but their benefits pay dividends.

What Friends Say: It’s all about the mural. Everyone loves it and how it strikes you from the second you walk in the door.

Proudest DIY: Other than the mural, the dining room gold metallic painted chair rail behind the bar cart. We wanted something to really help the bar cart and the glassware stand out. We ended up creating a makeshift spray booth around the wall with fans that led out the patio door and spray painted the wall with paint designed for metal to give it the glossiest, most metallic finish possible.

Biggest Indulgence: Throughout the entire place we tried to keep budget in mind. Opting for larger retailers (IKEA, West Elm, CB2) and mixing and matching pieces from each to create a look of our own. We like to think the whole place is a bit of an indulgence in our own style. We feel lucky to live in a place we could design just the way we wanted it, all while sticking to a tight budget.

Best Advice: Try it! If it doesn’t work out you can always paint over it, return it, sell it, throw it, donate it. And, you can never go wrong with a neutral palette—no matter the style, the things you use all tend to feel like they fit together.

Dream Sources: Joseph Dirand’s Paris apartment—literally everything in there.



  • Dining room wall (above): Rust-oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint
  • Kitchen: Benjamin Moore Ultra Deep Black
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Couch: CB2
  • Desk chair: Blu Dot
  • Desk: CB2
  • Drum side table: Navajo reservation
  • Coffee table: Findfurnish
  • Kobo candle: Martin Patrick
  • Curio cabinet: West Elm
  • Butterfly chair: CB2
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Table: West Elm
  • Bench: John Vogel
  • Windsor chairs: West Elm
  • Bar cart: West Elm
  • Bar cart accessories: Crate & Barrel, Martin Patrick
  • Lampshade: West Elm
  • Lamp cord: Home Depot
  • Illustrations: Andrew
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Cake/fruit stand: Hunt & Gather
  • Knives: Steltonshop
  • Cookware: Sur La Table
  • Dishes: Crate & Barrel
  • Glassware: West Elm, IKEA
  • Decanter: Riedel
  • Bar stools: CB2
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Bed: IKEA
  • Bedding: Faribault Woolen Mill, IKEA, Restoration Hardware
  • Frame: Tiffany
  • Lamps: IKEA
  • Artwork: taken, developed, and framed by Nic
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Dried coral: Vieques
  • Towels: Pottery Barn, West Elm
  • Shower curtain: West Elm
  • Artwork: original watercolor
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Nic and Andrew by the largest mural in their apartment (Image credit: Emma Fiala)

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Thanks, Nic & Andrew!