Matt Makes His Tiny Rental into a Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Name: Matt DeLeva
Location: Silver Lake neighborhood, Los Angeles, California
Size: 400 square feet
Years lived in: 1 1/2 years, renting

When Matt measured his home to give me the exact square footage, we both couldn’t believe that his place was only 400 square feet. Even though his house is small and a rental, he took the time to customize it to fit his needs. He is so proud of his small home and it shows!

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(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

On the weekends, Matt often tackles a DIY project around the house and looks for ways to make the space more inviting. When his relatives first came out to visit and saw his place (before the recent updates), they were a little hesitant to give him their approval. Now that the decor is much closer to what Matt had envisioned for the space, he is ready to show off his place to friends and family (and he is using the house tour as the big reveal to his family). Matt and his home are just so cute how could you not love them both!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern Eclectic. I have a few Mid-Century pieces and pieces passed down from my family mixed with some new items.

Inspiration: I find things that I love and figure out a way to make them work.

Favorite Element: I love looking around my apartment and knowing everything has a story and a personal meaning to me.

Biggest Challenge: The size. It is a small place with low ceilings, so it is easy for things to look cluttered. I am a big fan of a house accessory, so I have to watch myself and edit often.

What Friends Say: Everyone comments on the view when they come down the stairs to my place. You can see the hills of Silver Lake and see downtown in the distance. I have also heard that it feels like a treehouse.

Biggest Embarrassment: The horrible ceiling fan!

Proudest DIY: I luckily have really great landlords; they let me make a good amount of improvements. My proudest DIY would be the bathroom and kitchen renovation. The bathroom originally had a plastic shower surround, which was torn. I had a handyman come in to put in subway tiles and I painted and sealed the chevron pattern on the floor. In the kitchen, I took down the upper cabinets and installed open shelving. We are discussing changing out the kitchen countertop to poured concrete; something to look forward to in the spring.

Biggest Indulgence: My biggest indulgence would have to be the bathroom. I split the cost of the renovation with the owners of the house, but the only return on my investment is a nice place to shower for the time being.

Best Advice: “If you love something, you will always find a place to put it.” And conversely… “If you have to ask where to put it, you don’t need it!”

Dream Sources: 1stdibs, Elle Décor, Dwell.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


  • Keurig


  • Home Depot knobs in the kitchen and on the bedroom closets







  • Home Depot




(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Matt!

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Re-edited from a post that originally published on 1.20.12 — AB