Jenny & Sarah's Gracefully Aged Apartment

Jenny & Sarah's Gracefully Aged Apartment

Gregory Han
May 9, 2013

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Jenny & Sarah
Oakland, CA
Square Feet:
What I Love About My Small Home:
Jenny used to live a few blocks away from here and we would often walk by our current place to drool over the building’s detailed brick façade and the front garden patio. It looked so cozy and charming: birds splashing in the bird bath, flowers blooming, palm fronds waving in the breeze. One day when we happened to walk by there was a wooden sign with gilt letters that read “One bedroom apartment to rent.” We knew it was fate!

The inside turned out to be just as charming as the outside, and we get to look out onto the front garden from windows in two rooms. Our apartment was built in the early 1900s so we love all of the original details like the walnut inlay floors, wood paneling, built-ins with beveled glass doors, crown moulding, and the Murphy bed in our living room, which is great for guests. The apartment has aged so gracefully that it feels as though one can live here for a very long time and be very happy.
Biggest Challenge of Living in a Small Space:
We’re lucky both of us prefer to have a minimal amount of stuff, and we’re blessed with three closets (plus built-ins in the living room, closets, and bathroom), so finding a place to put our belongings has rarely been a problem. The only place we needed more room was the kitchen: we’re both huge cooks and when we moved in together we definitely had to purge. However, we were able to create more storage by repurposing a bookcase into a pantry, restoring a Costco kitchen cart we found on the street, and turning what used to be a built-in ironing board into a floor-to-ceiling A-Z (anise to za’atar) spice rack.

Many of our friends with similar sized apartments shy away from throwing big parties because they’re afraid their places are too small or they don’t own enough chairs. But we love parties, so a shift in thinking had to happen when we moved in. We consider any sturdy object a potential seat, keep our guests occupied with good food, and no one seems to mind the tight quarters.
If I am the Grand Prize winner of Small Cool, the item(s) or project(s) from my home design wishlist that I'd like to spend my winnings on are::
We’d love to get new dining chairs, deal with the dated pink tile in our bathtub, or shade our big windows with something prettier (and easier to dust) than miniblinds.

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