This Art Educator’s Small Philly Rental Has a Simple But Sunny WFH Setup

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Gallery wall behind gray sofa with cat and afghan resting on it

Name: Caitlin Deutsch, two tabby pandemic rescue cats, and a whole bunch of plants
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philly, about a 20-minute walk from my job at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Looking west I can see Fairmount Park and south, the city skyline. Since the pandemic hit I’ve adopted two cats who lounge on their windowsill hammocks all day. The apartment building is about 100 years old and has some lovely vintage features including tall ceilings that make the small space feel even larger and luxurious.

For the first time in my adult life, I don’t live too far from my dad and the apartment where I grew up in NYC. This has meant that I’ve been able to do a bit of “shopping” at my dad’s house. Many of the pieces of furniture I’ve brought back such as a small bookcase or side table made their way to Philly via the NYC subway, through Penn Station, and finally on a Philly bus. Objects like my great grandmother’s cabinet now have a new significance. Similarly, having an apartment of walls all my own, no roommates, I’ve been pretty thrilled to hang art however I feel. My mother passed when I was young, but now her art hangs anew. I love welcoming folks over and sharing who made it when they compliment the work.

I’m an art educator who works at an art museum. I love collecting things and stuff that strike my fancy. I’ve never been too excited about minimalism. I love color, design, and vintage what-nots. I don’t have a set design approach; I love creating spaces in my apartment based on instinct and mood, mixing objects I’ve inherited with pieces I’ve thrifted until it all comes together.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Cheery, bright, personal

What is your favorite room and why? My living-room-turned-pandemic office. This is the only room in the apartment with TWO windows, making it extra sunny. It feels very romantic that I can track the time by how/where the sun is hitting. The space feels cozy with artwork grouped on different walls as well as a selection of sculpture. When it became clear I wasn’t returning to the office and would need a desk, I measured my window nook and ordered a simple surface that would tuck into the space. Zooming isn’t so bad if you’re facing a window and have a colorful background to show off.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I’ve been trying to be a more conscious consumer and only invest in home things I imagine having forever. I recently framed a large painting my mother made of our childhood dog Gretal. It’s a large blue painting that hangs on a light grey wall. I went to the local frame shop and we decided on a thick white frame. I can even imagine what it will look like in different home.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Hang things that make you happy. Throwing art in a frame immediately elevates it. Don’t be afraid to move on from decor that you’ve aged out of. Inherited furniture adds so much character.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.