Jose & Ben's Light and Cheery Apartment

Jose & Ben's Light and Cheery Apartment

Name: Jose Gonzalez-Maciel & Ben McKelfresh
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months — rented

Ben and I have been friends and coworkers for the last three years, working together at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. Since we've known each other for a few years, moving in as roommates was a relatively easy choice-- both of our leases were about to end, we wanted to live close to work, and since we travel quite a bit for work, we didn't mind having a roommate. We also knew (and liked) each other's style — both of us have a love for all things Danish, and we both like to keep a mostly spotless home.

Finding an apartment that we both liked ended up being easy as well. The apartment we currently live in was the third (and last) apartment we saw — I loved the all-white bathroom, 50s turquoise kitchen, and hardwood floors, Ben only cared about having the larger of the two bedrooms. The apartment's location — 2 miles from work, right next to the Mississippi River, off of major biking/jogging routes — was just icing on the cake. We were able to incorporate each others belongings seemingly — and anything that didn't work was ousted and currently resides in our over-sized basement/laundry room.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Well-edited mid-century modern meets tight budget

Inspiration: We live by WWJD — as in "What Would Jonathan (Adler) Do." We like his aesthetic, tongue-in-cheek humor, and colorful palette.

Favorite Element: Jose: Tie between fifties turquoise kitchen, and the all white bathroom. Ben: The kitchen faucet.

Biggest Challenge: Jose: Fitting an over-sized bed in a small bedroom, and stuffing all of my clothes into a small closet — about half of my clothes currently reside under my bed. Ben: Wall of windows in my bedroom, and lack of counter-space in the kitchen.

What Friends Say: "Your apartment on a messy day is cleaner than ours on a clean day."

Biggest Embarrassment: Probably our semi-unorganized basement (which luckily few get to see), and the outdated exterior of the apartment complex — it has so much potential, but it's just not there yet. Although, it is kind of nice to surprise friends with a cute apartment in a not-so-cute building.

Proudest DIY: Ben: Putting together our IKEA pieces — but for some reason we always end up with a surplus of nuts and bolts. Jose: spray-painting the inexpensive artist mannequin hot pink — it is still one of my favorite (and cheapest) accessories in the apartment.

Biggest Indulgence: Nothing was absurdly expensive — everything was purchased at a reasonable price. If we had to choose, perhaps our large Plasma TV?

Best Advice: Only showcase what you love — and don't love too many things.

Dream Sources: Jonathan Adler's garage sale, or a shopping spree at Illums Bolighus on an unlimited budget.

Resources of Note:


    • Throw pillows from CB2 and Dwell Studio
    • Art: IKEA framed "Frank" Print by Chuck Close, and family pictures with frames from Aaron Brothers
    • Kosta Boda "Still Life" crystal skull votive
    • Curtains: P. Kaufmann "Soho; Robin" fabric
    • Jose's grandfather's typewriter
    • Super-egg by Piet Hein
    • Furniture: Couches from a now closed furniture store, 70s coffee table found on Craigslist, IKEA Basta Burs TV Unit


    • Frigidaire Appliances
    • Cabinets: Youngstown Kitchens by Mullins
    Fruit Loop Bowl by Daniel Black & Richard Blum


    • Dining Table by Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair
    • Chairs: Free 60s era office chairs
    • Coasters by Jonathan Adler
    • Curtains: P. Kaufmann "Soho; Robin" fabric
    • Marimekko "Brewers Aarni" Stretched Canvas


    • IKEA Furniture
    • Framed Danish art exhibit poster
    • CB2 Bedding


    • Hotel Collection bedding from Macy's, Grey Thomas O'Brien Shams, Dwell Studio Throw Pillows.
    • Curtain Fabric: P Kaufmann Hip Floral
    • Cart was a curbside find
    • Bed was a friend's giveaway
    • IKEA lamps


    • Artichoke candle holder from Anthropologie
    • Milk Carton vase from CB2
    • Thomas O'Brien mat


    • IKEA Desk
    • Pink "Beastie" by Dennis Pearson
    • Iittala votive
    • Mexican skull votive from Corazon
    • Normann Copenhagen "Light Tower" candle holder
    Wanderlust Journal from Anthropologie
    • Framed Danish art gallery poster

Thanks, Jose & Ben!

Images: Jose Gonzalez-Maciel

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