Name: Leo + Jordan Miller + Alexander Lynch
Location: West Village — Detroit, Michigan
Size: 550 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, renting
Jordan is an Ohio native who moved to Detroit on a whim in the summer of 2016 because of her love for the state of Michigan, particularly its lakes. Al grew up in a small town in the Upper Peninsula called Norway. Leo, their seven-month-old Chow Chow + Husky mix puppy, is the most important member of their family...and pretty much rules this roost.
At 550 square feet, this is by far the smallest space the couple has ever lived in. But the semi-studio layout makes it a littler easier; there's no door into the bedroom so nothing feels too closed off, and the big original windows in the living room make it feel a bit more open.
"Thinking about home, interiors and space fills most of my mental capacity at any given time. Someone once asked me if I ever get bored of it or think it's just a hobby (I'm hoping to go back to school soon-ish to study interior design) and I said absolutely not because the joy it brings me is almost indescribable," writes Jordan, who works for the furniture company Floyd. Al is a musician and a resident at Assemble Sound in Detroit. The couple enjoys spending most of their time at the dog park or crying over The Great British Baking Show. Leo spends most of his time trying to smuggle rocks into the apartment or put his paws on the counter.
For a while, Jordan ran a blog that focused on helping our generation rethink how we view home. She wanted to encourage people to remember that this is the foundation of your everyday and it's truly okay to care about developing a home environment that feels healthy and compatible for you.
"It may never be perfect, or exactly how Instagram tries to teach you it should be, but if you wake up and feel good, and come home and feel good and relish in the tiny joy of getting in to your bed or watering your plants that's definitely the goal. Millennials are very fast-paced and transient, which is fun and great and exciting, but I genuinely think you can have both and enjoy both – the excitement and the importance of a stable home that you took pride in creating for yourself."
Because her true passion in life is cleaning and organizing, their small space is a constant challenge and makes Jordan rethink where she's placing things and why. The kitchen is the best example as it's the main part of the apartment; she was worried that even with her organizational mindset, open shelving would feel cluttered.
"In the end, I worked hard to strike a balance between uniformity and a little bit more of a relaxed feel. I never want my space to feel like a museum where you can't touch things and with something like the kitchen, which we use so often, it's important to find that middle ground.
Because you can see the entire apartment from pretty much anywhere you stand in it, these seemingly common details play a huge role. I've had to be extra mindful when bringing something in to this space because it needs to have the ability to be mixed and matched and work in pretty much any corner of the 550 square feet."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Cozy Martha Stewart mixed with a neutral Scandinavian color palette. Detail oriented.
Inspiration: A few years ago I decided to start studying color a bit more because I couldn't stand it. This lead to pattern. And now I'm obsessed. I still don't necessarily feel the need to have a ton of it in my space, but it has definitely started to inform how I view bringing a little more of a personal touch in.
I am honestly obsessed at this point and cannot get enough of Kate Arends' pattern-focused Pinterest board.
Favorite Element: The bathroom is kind of what sold me on the apartment, honestly. I was talking with someone not long ago about how you can immediately tell that a home or interior space was well thought out by the attention to detail in the bathroom.
Biggest Challenge: We love Leo more than anything, but we're honestly still not sure how big he will grow up to be so space is a bit of a concern. He's like an extra piece of (very fluffy and adorable) furniture!
One thing I definitely miss that I had the luxury of having in other apartments is high ceilings. I've decided that after this, I'm never living somewhere with average height ceilings again if I can help it.
What Friends Say: That the kitchen shelving is amazingly, and obsessively, organized.
Biggest Embarrassment: The shoe rack on the back of the bathroom door.
Proudest DIY: When I still lived in Columbus right before I moved to Detroit, I had a slight meltdown about how I couldn't find a coffee table I liked at a reasonable price.
A friend of mine knew a welder and did some wood working himself so he helped me construct the one I have now for about $100. I can't take much of the DIY credit, but I did design it (and helped paint the steel white, if that counts!). The best part is, the top sits down in the base so it's stable, but could be switched out some day if I wanted a different style of surface.
Biggest Indulgence: Bedding. I talk about bedding a little bit too much (and follow at least 10 linen bedding companies on Instagram). Textiles in general I suppose – Al always jokes that he loves living with 800 pillows.
Best Advice: You don't need a lot. We're both in our early/mid-twenties so our budget isn't huge. This can sometimes be really tricky for me because I'm a major perfectionist who deeply, deeply cares about my home space. I can't quite obtain exactly what I hope in this apartment (or for an apartment in general) at this exact stage, but it's helped me learn what to prioritize.
I'm saving for a new couch now, for example, and even though it will take a bit of time I know that I'll end up with exactly what I want because I've had a lot of time to consider and research it.
With that being said, for those who are also in a small space, don't feel the need for a lot of stuff and also have a tight budget – accent your space with practical items! I have a thing for big floor baskets because they double as storage (for blankets or Leo's toys) but also add an element of texture and interest in tricky to fill floor spaces. I love purchasing things that can have a variety of uses in a variety of spaces.
Dream Sources: Hygge Supply, Schoolhouse Electric, Hem
Sofa – I believe this was from Macy's many, many (19) years ago.
Coffee Table – DIY
Bookshelf – Overstock
(Pretend) Eames Rocker Shell Chair – Amazon
(Pretend) Eames Standard Eames Shell Chair – Amazon
Dot Pillow – Anthropologie
Record Player – Urban Outfitters
Record Player Speakers – Urban Outfitters
Ceramic Pink Planter – Stump
Floor Lamps – Ikea
Mid-Century Side Table – Target (similar)
Record Player Bench/Table – Target
Face Outline Portraits – via our friend and artist Andrew Schwartz
Blanket Basket – Target
Table – Floyd
Bench + Chairs – Target, Threshold Outdoor Collection
Decorative Bowl – Nest
Feather Print – Barloga Studios
Dinner Plates – Crate and Barrel
Utensil Holder – Anthropologie
Dish Towels – Target
Fruit Basket – Anthroplogie
Dutch Oven – Martha Stewart c/o Macy's
White Dinner Bowls – Target
Green Dinner Bowls – Target
Salad Plates – Target
Cereal Bowls - Target
Bedside Tables – Target
Dresser – Ikea
Rug – Target
Bed Frame – West Elm
Duvet Cover – West Elm
Small Pillow Shams – Target
Large Throw Pillows – Pottery Barn
Throw Pillow – Target
Striped Blanket – Amazon
Bedside Lamps – IKEA
Floral Print – Debbie Carlos
Floor Lamp – Target
(Pretend) Eames Standard Eames Shell Chair – Amazon
Wooden Bench - IKEA