My Tiny Studio Apartment
Last August I moved into my first-ever studio apartment. I had never lived alone—unless you count a single dorm at college—and I couldn't exactly afford it but I've never once regretted the move. My mom lives one floor above me and I love the neighborhood. My friend Alisha actually used to live in this studio and I always envied her—I never dreamed that I would have my chance to move in a few years later.
This was my fourth apartment in five years of living in New York, and I don't waste time when it comes to decorating my spaces (or subscribe to anything remotely resembling "minimalism"). A month after I moved in, I had a guy over from Con-Ed to check for gas leaks (it's a long story) and he asked how long I had been here—I told him a month, and he looked around and said "wow, it looks like you've been here for years" (I chose to take this as a compliment and not a comment that I'm on the on ramp to HoarderVille).
This apartment is on the first floor of a brownstone in Harlem, in what used to be the parlor. There's one huge window in the front and a rectangular living space followed by a tiny kitchen and bathroom in the back. There are huge double doors—only one of which opens—high ceilings and beautiful decorative trim. There's a ledge in the middle that used to have a mirror above it, but it's since been replaced with drywall. I was originally annoyed by the ledge since it limits my furniture placement options, but that was obviously silly since I managed to fill it up immediately.
The kitchen is comically tiny and I lost one lower cabinet to Mozart's litter box, but I don't cook elaborate meals so it works for me. I joke that I basically have an Easy Bake oven but that's not far from the truth. My fridge doesn't exactly keep things cold but it does have giant googly eyes and is the perfect place to hold my Halloween costume from last year. Speaking of faces, you might notice them everywhere—anything is more whimsical and endearing when it has eyes.
When I moved into this space, I made a mental note that I would only buy things that bring me joy, and I've slowly been replacing items to make this a reality—I recently traded a boring stick lamp for a dinosaur lamp and I have zero regrets since adopting this strategy.
I have a tiny stall shower which is probably my least favorite part of the apartment, but I think I'm getting used to it—taking a shower in David's normal-sized bathroom now feels like the ultimate luxury. There's no overhead fan so it gets a bit steamy, but I bought a tiny desk fan that helps keep the air circulating. The bathroom is the best place to display my collection of vintage enamelware medical trays, and it's the only place where there's room for Mozart's automatic feeder.
You might notice that I don't have a closet, but I do have a curiosity cabinet. I keep most of my clothes in the dresser and I have three plastic tubs under my bed for sweaters. I could fit a wardrobe near the dresser if I didn't display my curiosity collection but obviously my priorities differ slightly from most women my age.
I just bought LED lights for my cabinet and they make such a difference—every time my mom visits to see a new acquisition, she reminds me that I should be charging admission to my own personal Mütter Museum. Other utilitarian things with a high dose of whimsy include a vintage bedside glasses holder from an optometrist's office, a South of the Border ashtray that holds memory cards and lip balm, and a shark cup that doubles as a holder for my remotes.
My bookcase is organized by color—I once heard this called the "hipster decimal system"—and it's always filled to capacity because living in a tiny space hasn't helped me curb my bargain book-buying habit. The bottom shelf holds some of my shoes, and the skinny shelf next to the bookcase holds my socks (in a bin out of reach from Mozart, who loves to play with them), scarves, blankets and a bin with more shoes. I am the Queen of using Command hooks to hold bags, umbrellas, oven mitts, jackets and hand towels—the rest of my jackets are hanging behind the bathroom door, which is almost never closed.
I don't know the square footage of this apartment and I call it my closet, but really it's all the space I need. I've managed to fit everything I need in the available space like puzzle pieces—most of the furniture is IKEA or curb finds. I'm sure I won't live here forever, but I did sign a two-year lease so I'm excited to not have to move again this year. The apartment isn't perfect but having a living space all to myself has been nothing short of life-changing.
Cat toy | Sausage links | Bunny Peep pillow | winky pillow | fan | Paranormal activity print | Baby head planter | We Are Happy to Serve you print | Four Eyez print | Skeleton print | Kit-Cat clock | Beeswax Baby Head candle | dinosaur lamp | retro alarm clock | bedside lamp | copper fan | anatomical hand pouch | winky bath mat | eye container + tooth brush holder | green clock | wig print | googly eye contact holder | green three-head lamp | skeleton oven mitt | record rack | Caffe Reggio print | Paul + Blue print | soap dispenser | coffee print | kitchen cart | giant googly eyes | ice cream bank | cat food dispenser | letterboard | Peewee print | cat print | Madame Talbot prints | curiosity cabinet | LED lights