Location: Pleasanton, California
Size: 406 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting
I love that my apartment has the unique charm of a Victorian home but has been renovated to be comfortable and modern. My landlord is a contractor and did a beautiful job keeping the Victorian characteristics as he updated it. Living across the hall from one of my lifelong friends, Melissa [whose home we toured before!], is the best perk—we decorate the porch for holidays together, bringing home tons of pumpkins for the front stairway at Halloween and hanging fresh greenery for Christmas. We also share a birthday so our common hallway gets lots of birthday love, too!
Melissa had lived in her apartment for three years before I moved in, and I always adored her bright, well-decorated studio in a bustling downtown setting. When the place across the hall from her became available, it was the motivation I needed to leave San Francisco and enjoy small-town life again. She was the mastermind behind the decor. I traditionally decorated in more of a shabby-chic style, but she got me on board with her more modern, feminine style and I've been hooked ever since. She pinned the furniture and decor for me on Pinterest, I bought it, and she came over and styled everything for me. It was an amazingly efficient system. I thank Melissa all the time not only for finding the apartment for me, but giving me such a beautiful space to come home to.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Mid-century modern/feminine
Inspiration: My friend Melissa—I let her take the reins in designing my apartment because she has such phenomenal taste
Favorite Element: I love the pub table with acrylic stools. The living/dining area was so tiny that I had a small panic attack when I moved in, but Melissa assured me we could make it work. Her solution to put the narrow, sleek pub table in with see-through stools was clever, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Even though it's a small space, I love being able to have dinner at a real table and not on the couch.
What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the living room because it has so much personality. It is a funky space—you're pretty much sitting in the kitchen on a couch—but Melissa made it work for me. The rug ties in nicely with the print behind the couch, and anchors the room in a really lovely way. We also got creative and hung the TV on a retractable mount to save space. The living room also faces the busy main street, so it's a fun place to hang on the couch and people watch.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I wish I had a bigger dining area. I love to entertain but having multiple people in the living space can get overwhelming.
Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? Frodo from Lord of the Rings… everything is Hobbit-sized.
Is there anything that embarrasses you about your home? Not at all— I am proud to show it off!
What do friends say? The love the decor and can tell it was designed by a professional. They also say it's very clean, which is a must in a small space.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge has been storage, and I have gotten increasingly good at organizing due to the limited space. I finally caved and bought a PAX wardrobe from IKEA, which is providing me with much needed storage space but unfortunately takes away from the aesthetics of the bedroom.
Biggest Indulgence: Wine! Melissa had the great idea to hang three wine racks from IKEA on the wall, so I can stay stocked up without taking up valuable space elsewhere.
Best Advice: Don't let a small space scare you off. I've been perfectly comfortable and happy for three years in my place, and the trade-off to live by so many awesome bars and restaurants is worth it. There are so many great ways to organize and find storage—you just have to get creative and be patient. It might take longer to undo the Tetris-like stack of objects to get to what you need, but at least it's out of sight and well-organized.