A Scientist’s Small Baltimore Rental Is Full of Color, Creativity, and Coziness

published Nov 10, 2021

A Scientist’s Small Baltimore Rental Is Full of Color, Creativity, and Coziness

published Nov 10, 2021
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Name: Taylor Evans, James Gordon, and Deckle the Miniature Dachshund!
Location: Baltimore City — Baltimore, Maryland
Size: 737 square feet
Type of Home: One-bedroom apartment
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

Ph.D. candidate and creative entrepreneur Taylor Evans says she had a list of non-negotiables when she and her partner, James, were looking for an apartment. “It had to be commuter-friendly, fit within our budget, have big windows for natural light, and allow pets,” she begins. “Although I don’t recommend moving during a pandemic, we were lucky to find an apartment that fit our lifestyle and our needs, within our budget. As soon as we moved in, we started making the space our own, displaying pieces from our vintage collections and adding our flair to the space’s bare walls.” 

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“We (slowly and intentionally) designed a space we want to live in, and given the long hours of a graduate student/creative entrepreneur and a chef, we spend most of our downtime at home. Because I occasionally work from home, we needed to ensure our space’s design had functionality in addition to its personality. I’m a very intentional shopper, and it took about a year of looking (but mostly waiting) to find pieces we loved and that would add functionality to our small-ish space,” writes Taylor.  

“Hidden in a quiet corner of Baltimore City, our apartment is surrounded by artistic and academic corners of the city. As a scientist and creative, I couldn’t be more thrilled to walk outside and be surrounded by students, artists, and the history of Baltimore. When we do get out, we love exploring the city’s top restaurants and cafes, many of which are within walking distance of our apartment. Baltimore is an eclectic and charming city!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern mid-century

Inspiration: Palm Springs meets Palm Beach

Favorite Element: I love the way we’ve incorporated color and pattern into our space! It feels playful, yet sophisticated, and I think it reflects our personalities. 

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge was creating a space with a small budget and expensive taste. Consolidating two apartments into one when moving in together helped start us off with staple pieces — a bed, a credenza, some shelving. To fill in the furniture gaps, we had to be selective about spending. We determined which items were worth a splurge, which pieces were appropriate to ask for as holiday and birthday gifts, and which items we could live without until we found it secondhand.

To overcome a small budget, we shopped slowly. I’m a very methodical (read: practical) shopper; I’d rather wait to find the perfect piece than fill the space with just any piece. It took a full year to source the big pieces (coffee table, dining table, dresser), helping to space out costs. I found expensive accent pieces (full length mirror, zebra accent chair) via secondhand sellers, via Facebook Marketplace, who were selling amazing pieces for ⅓ cost of retail. 

Proudest DIY: We had a hard time finding chairs for our dining table. I started testing multiple chairs around the apartment, pulling them up to the dining table to determine measurements for the best seat height. An ottoman we already owned ended up being the perfect height, and I thought, why can’t I use ottomans as chairs? They were significantly cheaper than the chairs I was looking at on retail sites, so I bought three more to make a complete set! Ottomans as chairs isn’t a traditional “DIY” but it’s a creative solution that I love sharing. 

Biggest Indulgence: Our headboard! I’ve never owned a headboard in my adult life, but I was determined to have one for our space. Similar to our living room, I wanted a statement piece for the bedroom, and when I saw the headboard’s pattern and colorway, I knew it was meant to be. I love unique furniture, and the color brightens my mood on the gloomiest of days. It cost $599, the most expensive piece in our apartment, and was worth the investment!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My Ph.D. work involves a lot of computational data analysis, so I spend a decent amount of time working from our dining table/living room. Our apartment is also the unofficial HQ for my blog, stylishlytaylored.com and @stylishlytaylored, so it’s where I formulate a lot of my looks and creative ideas. It was important the space’s design highlighted color and pattern — it brightens my mood and stimulates my creativity on the busiest (or gloomiest) of WFH days! 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? 

  • Vintage decanter for mouthwash because it makes the everyday task of brushing your teeth feel a little more *special*
  • Vintage lamp with oversized edison bulb because I’ve NEVER seen anything like it before!
  • Secondhand cow print chair because pattern mixing!
  • Secondhand metal sculpture because 1) it came from an antique mall in Pennsylvania (my home state) 2) it’s 3D and 3) it’s one-of-a-kind! 
  • Vintage Don’t Stop Saving Food poster because I found it catalogued in The Met Collection? Talk about cool!
  • Deckle’s dog bed because it’s both functional and matches our living room’s color palette. 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: To maximize our small space, I use this behind-the-door pocket organizer in all of our closets. It’s a simple fix; I store miscellaneous items that might (unnecessarily) take up cabinet, drawer, counter space. It frees up space while keeping items centralized and out of sight!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Just like clothing, there are going to be trends that can make you feel pressured to design a space that’s trendy. My biggest piece of advice is to design a space that feels authentic to you, regardless of what everyone else is doing. 

Resources

LIVING ROOM

  • Imani 81.5” Square Arm Sleeper Sofa — Wayfair
  • Hugo Geometric Rug — Wayfair
  • Weston Window Pane Floor Lamp —  Target
  • Peacemaker Accent Chair — Ashley Homestore
  • Patterned Chair — Target
  • Glass coffee table — Vintage via @adaynjune
  • Shell Dish — Vintage via @adornvintagefurniture
  • Fjällbo Shelf Unit — IKEA
  • California Prints — Way Out Visuals Co.  
  • Sofa Side Table — Goodwill
  • Chair Side Table — Marshall’s
  • Midcentury Credenza — Vintage
  • Plant Stand — Nordstrom Rack
  • Midcentury Bar Cart — Vintage
  • Handmade Tapestry — Ten Thousand Villages

DINING ROOM

BEDROOM

  • Paneled Dresser — Vintage via @adornvintagefurniture
  • FREBRO Mirrors — IKEA
  • Full Length Mirror — Facebook Marketplace
  • Cow Print Upholstered Chair — Secondhand via @lingo.home
  • Upholstered Headboard — West Elm 
  • Beautyrest Dresden Plush Mattress — Ashley Homestore 
  • Organic Washed Cotton Percale Duvet — West Elm
  • Patterned Sheets — Nordstrom Rack
  • Extra-Firm Density Side Sleeper Pillow — Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Performance Pillow Cases — Target
  • Throw Pillows — Nordstrom Rack
  • Side Tables — Vintage
  • Puck Contemporary Table Lamp — Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Sculpture — Vintage, DIY
  • White Wood 3-Piece Cube Shelf Set — At Home
  • Black Wood 3-Piece Cube Shelf Set — At Home
  • Full Length Mirror — Facebook Marketplace

BATHROOM

Thanks Taylor!

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