Anna’s Light-Filled Lakeview Studio

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

Name: Anna Curtis
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Size: 350 square feet
Years lived in: 7 months; rented

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Small space living isn’t for everyone, but when Anna returned from a trip to Berlin, she was ready to come back to a familiar well-loved Chicago neighborhood. She jumped on this tiny 350 square foot studio. Immediately after setting foot inside, Anna agreed to take on the previous renter’s lease along with all of his much-too-large-for-a-studio furniture. In the seven months since that decision, she has phased out the previous guy’s stuff and phased in her own, with assembly assistance from her boyfriend, Eric.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Anna’s quick decision later resulted in a few “wait a minute” moments when managing the logistics of her new space. How would she entertain friends? And where would her kitchen utensils live? Anna solved a these logistical troubles with an easy-to-move dining set and a television that mounts to the wall and can be turned on an angle as needed. And a kitchen without a single drawer was saved by Grundtal kitchen rails from IKEA.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

In a short seven months, Anna has made this space her own, bringing in furniture that isn’t too overpowering and learning the ropes of entertaining friends in this potentially awkward space (hello bed immediately upon opening the front door).

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Natural, minimal, clean with organic elements

Inspiration: I traveled to Berlin right before moving into my apartment, and the entire city inspired me! Our Airbnb was amazing with tall ceilings, minimalist furniture, and beautiful views. I also draw inspiration from other traveling I’ve done. I’m on Instagram constantly (hey, it’s part of my job), so I’m always following creative people and finding new blogs to pull inspiration from. I have found myself integrating my fashion sense into my decorating style as well.

Favorite Element: Hardwood floors! I have a hatred for rentals that have carpet (my last studio did and it was not pretty) so I’m happy to have brand new hardwood in my current place.

Biggest Challenge: The size! I lived in a studio after graduating college, but it was much bigger than this one.

What Friends Say: “This is so you”

Biggest Embarrassment: Also the size. It took me a long time to feel comfortable hosting people here. But now it’s perfect for a wine and movie night with my girlfriends or to cook a special meal for my boyfriend.

Proudest DIY: Not much is DIY’ed, and I have to thank Eric, my boyfriend, for hanging 90% of my pictures and assembling most of the Ikea furniture! But I have managed to keep my plants alive, so there’s that.

Biggest Indulgence: My bedding and mattress. It takes up a majority of the space in my apartment and they say we spend 25 years of our lives sleeping, so I didn’t want to take any shortcuts with my bed.

Best Advice: Don’t buy everything at once. When I moved in, I really wanted to decorate it all and have everything hanging up ASAP. But I had to take it slow and make sure that what I purchased was not only reflective of my style, but was also a practical use of space.

Dream Sources: West Elm, Design Within Reach, William Sonoma


(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Futon: Thrifted
  • Pillows: Target and IKEA
  • End Table: IKEA
  • Bike Print: Cavallini wrapping paper and IKEA frame
  • This Is The Futura Print: Medium Control Screenprint
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Painting: Thrifted
  • Table: Thrifted
  • Plants: Home Depot and Halsted Flower Shop
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Storage Bar: IKEA (Grundtal)
  • Paper Towel Holder: Bed, Bath, and Beyond
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Media Console: IKEA
  • Rug: Target
  • End Table: Target
  • Baskets: various Homegoods finds
  • Bedding: Target
  • Yellow Clock: Restoration Hardware
  • Eyes Print: Olle Eskell (purchased on Etsy)
  • Hand Print: Cavallini wrapping paper and IKEA frame
  • Brain Print: Cavallini wrapping paper and IKEA frame
  • Typewriter Print: Cavallini wrapping paper and IKEA frame
  • Edinburgh Print: Bronagh Kennedy Prints (purchased on Etsy)
  • Cross Stitches: Purchased on Etsy
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Shower curtain: Target
  • Photograph: gifted
  • Clock: Target
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Anna in her kitchen. (Image credit: Emma Fiala)

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Thanks, Anna!