How One Couple Copes With 3 “P’s” of Studio Life

published Oct 20, 2016
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(Image credit: Franke Chung)

Newlyweds Franke and Jason, and their dog and cat, share a studio apartment in a Chicago high-rise. They love the location — and the views are killer — but as anyone who’s ever shared a small space knows, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. In fact, there are three challenges that can be a bummer for small space dwellers in particular: Pets, Parties and Possessions.

(Image credit: Franke Chung)

Franke and Jason have figured out both a functional and stylish layout for their studio, as well as shared some secrets to sharing a small space. In this post, they reveal how they cope with sharing a small space with pets, entertaining in a studio and dealing with stuff as a couple.


What’s it like living with two pets in a studio (and without a bedroom door)?

Franke: We have the laziest pets in the world, so it’s pleasant to have them constantly around. I fear that in a bigger home, I might only see my cat once or twice a day. They’ve gotten spoiled with sleeping with us too (much to my allergist’s dismay). So at bedtime, everyone’s pushing and shoving each other for their place on the bed. An elderly 10-pound dog will spread its body to take up maximum surface area if you let it.

Jason: See previous answer (hint: amazing). It helps that we adopted a dog that was somehow smaller than our cat. With regards to their feeding arrangement, they’re finally at a point in their siblinghood where they’re willing to eat side-by-side. So at least now there’s only one collective eating area to trip over instead of two.

(Image credit: Franke Chung)


How do you guys entertain people in your space?

Franke: I think the maximum number of folks we’ve ever had over is three. I think maybe we could fit a quiet fourth in here. Thankfully, the kitchen has a surprising amount of counter space, so that’s where we all tend to hover. It works for drinks and simple foods, but I haven’t attempted to throw a proper dinner here yet.

Jason: We have this gate-leg console table that Franke’s always trying to get rid of, but it seems to come in handy in a pinch, especially when we entertain. We’ll set up floor cushions around the coffee table if we’re playing board games.

→ Takeaway: Know your guest list limit and be flexible with seating.

(Image credit: Franke Chung)


Do you guys work together to control the influx of “stuff” into the house…or is one person sneaking stuff out when the other isn’t looking?

Jason: Points at Franke.

Franke: Points at self.

Jason: You know how some people have a hoarding problem? Franke has the opposite — she can’t purge enough stuff. I know something’s up when she starts piling things in a corner. For the most part, she’s right about what we don’t need. But every now and then, something goes to “the farm” that we end up having to re-buy.

Franke: He calls it purging. I call it editing. In my defense, I’ve gotten so much better about acquiring only things that I truly appreciate and will less likely have the urge to oust later. Jason’s definitely more of the impulse buyer and content with “stuff.” I have constant doubt and buyer’s remorse and do tons of research before I get anything. I think it’s funny how much we’re a reflection of our very different upbringings. But I think for the most part, we’ve struck a balance and agree with each other more than not about what we both want in our home.

Thanks Franke & Jason!

(Image credit: Franke Chung)

See their entire Chicago studio apartment in their house tour → A Pragmatist’s Simple Sky-High 640 Square Foot Chicago Studio

Read more about how they share a small space together (and maybe even get some ideas for your own space) → How Newlyweds Share a Small Apartment (Stylishly & Successfully)