Simple, Cozy American Classic Style in 600 Square Feet
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Name: Alejandra Bennett and Oliver Katz
Location: Beacon Hill — Boston, MA
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; rented
Alejandra Bennett and Oliver Katz’s s light-filled Beacon Hill apartment in Boston is a convergence of new and old, near and far. The couple has filled the apartment with hand-me-downs and inherited family pieces, budget solutions and quality staples purchased for their first place together. The space itself, well laid out for an older Boston apartment, feels much bigger than 600 square feet, and ample closets and built-ins enable the couple to leave the rooms as open and uncluttered as possible. The result feels cohesive but not overly curated: A space that is tasteful and mature, but also bright and fun—much like the couple that lives there.
Oliver grew up in Beacon Hill and credits the ability to blend different styles to his parents. “While fluidity and cohesiveness is obviously important, a space can also incorporate a broad range of genres from modern, to funky, to traditional and beyond,” he says. “There’s no need to pick just one.” Some of the furniture even comes from the family basement a few blocks away, though with an architect and interior designer for parents, the selection is more eclectic than your average cellar!
Ale’s family and roots are equally apparent in the style of the apartment. Her mother is from Peru and Ale grew up traveling with her parents and spending summers with her Dad’s family in California. A mix of West and East Coast sensibilities shows through in the blues, greens and yellows that liven up the classic details of the Boston apartment. Ale’s prior job was at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and while Ale’s own travel experiences humbly pale in comparison to the grandeur of Gardner’s, Ale sees a little bit of herself in Isabella’s love of travel and collecting. “In her lifetime Isabella collected art from all over the world and kept these incredible travel journals from her voyages overseas. This resonated with me to a certain extent because I have traveled my entire life, and I love showcasing the “treasures” that I have collected over time.”
Still, perhaps the best part about going away is coming home again, and with an apartment abundant with cheer and sentiment, it’s no surprise. “I’ve always been somewhat of a homebody and a nester,” Ale admits. “I wanted to make the apartment a place where we feel fully comfortable.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: [Alejandra] American classic with international accents and influences.
[Oliver] Simple and clean. I try to keep it classic with a modern twist.
Inspiration: A: My roots. I love the clean, crisp and natural aesthetic that I relate to the Northern California side of my family (dad), and also the bold patterns and colors seen in the Peruvian textiles and artifacts that I am familiar with through my mom’s side.
O: My parents.
Favorite Element: A: The built-in shelving and closets. It’s a beautiful detail that has made storage easy and displaying knickknacks fun.
O: The large double farmhouse sink in the kitchen. It makes not having a dishwasher bearable.
Biggest Challenge: O and A: All the dust that collects from living in an old apartment!
What Friends Say: A: How well of a job we did in keeping the décor gender-neutral — not too girly or masculine—while completely capturing both of our aesthetics.
O: 1.) More spacious than expected; 2.) Is there any beer in the fridge?; 3.) It feels so “adult”.
Biggest Embarrassment: A: Dirty windows.
O: Lack of proper window treatments.
Proudest DIY: A: Not too exciting, but gorilla gluing the old mirror over the fireplace back together about 11 months ago and the fact that it hasn’t fallen and shattered yet! Knock on wood.
O: My ever-growing rubber band ball.
Biggest Indulgence: O and A: While it wasn’t really an indulgence per se, our best purchase was the stainless steel table in the kitchen. We make dinner at least 4 times a week, and having the high top has made a huge difference. We also love the juxtaposition of the sleek and industrial look of the table with the retro black and white checked floor and farmhouse sink.
Best Advice: A: Keep it simple and trust your instincts. The goal is for the space to reflect who you are.
O: Agreed. Also, a great looking room doesn’t need to come at a high cost. It is important to get creative and think outside the box.
Dream Sources: A: I love the style of LA-based interior designer Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors, so basically anything from her Shoppe would be a dream for a future home or apartment.
O: I’ll leave this one to Ale.
Thanks, Ale and Oliver!
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