Living in New York means (unless you are very rich) living small. Sure, there are exceptions — but in general, apartments are small, overpriced, and basically never include a washer/dryer in the unit. (Side note: If you are one of the people who does have a washer/dryer in your apartment, please never speak to me again.)
My first apartment in NYC was one I had all to myself while Jake finished law school — it was basically 200 square feet, and was roughly 9,000 miles from the nearest subway stop. But it was also near an adorable park, right on the East River, and had (somehow) marble floors in the bathroom… a bathroom which included, of all things, a tiny bath tub (it was probably four feet long, max). It was so small that my full size bed almost didn’t fit in the room; I had to assemble my IKEA bed in the room. And then when I moved out, the IKEA bed frame had to be destroyed in the room in order to be moved out. That first apartment (you can check it out on #OliviasTinyHome on Instagram) was true small space living, but I loved it for what it was. Even for the four months Jake and Iived together there, it worked in its own comical way. But after two years, I was ready for something bigger that could fit me, Jake, and a dog. And so eventually Jake and I (and soon after, Winnie) ended up at our current apartment. We got a great deal on it (make no mistake, though, we still pay an ungodly amount of money for very little space), it had outdoor space (?!), and a working fireplace. Even though the kitchen and bathroom were somehow even smaller than my last apartment, it seemed perfect. Enter #OliviasTinyHome2. Well, more accruately #OliviaAndJakeAndMostlyWinnie’sTinyHome2 — but, that’s not really as catchy of a hashtag.
I get quite a few questions about my small space, and I’ve done a few mini tours of it on IG in the past, but I wanted to do a multi-part tour from my perspective. So I had Jake follow me around the apartment with a camera (he is used to my shenanigans at this point) and I filmed some videos highlighting each space on our first floor. Next I’ll film a tour of the smaller, unfinished upstairs room and outside deck but I wanted to break it up to make it as manageable as possible. While the video highlighted the spaces in their entirety, I wanted to shoot some photos to capture small details in each room as well.
I also wanted to put and/all links that I get asked about quite a bit in one space. Below is some highlights from my tiny home. It’s colorful, a little chaotic, and definitely not perfect — but it’s ours, and I’m looking forward to the day that I can look back on these photos and remember when.
The entryway is actually a decent sized area in our apartment (basically the same size as my last apartment’s “living room”), so I knew I wanted to make the most of it when it came to organization. The white tables against the wall are actually shoe storage — something that’s super handy for us as we only have two closets in the entire apartment. I put my sunglasses, everyday jewelry, and a hook for keys in the area as well. That green fake plant is also a charging station. I’d still like to add something to the wall in this spot, but in general it’s an area that always makes me feel like I have my shit together just a little bit.
Right off of the kitchen is my teensy tiny bathroom. Of course, now that I share a bathroom with someone, my bathroom is even smaller than my bathroom in my tiny, box-like former apartment. But alas, the sacrifices one makes for having a working fireplace and a deck. For the bathroom, I did what I usually do when I’m desperately trying to make something look OK — throw lots of pale pink, plants, mirrors, and random candles around and hope for the best.
My kitchen is… yes, you guessed it… very small as well. We had to get creative with just about everything in this space — the coffee maker location, the pots and pan storage, the “pantry” AKA a $30 IKEA shelf. This space isn’t my favorite for a few reasons. Cooking is, you can probably imagine, really difficult when you have exactly one square foot of counter space. But we make it work.
My favorite room in the whole apartment, maybe, is our living room which flows into our “dining room” AKA a large kitchen table. It’s warm, where our fireplace is located, and cozy. I love watching hours of Netflix or movies on Saturday mornings with Jake and Winnie. It’s also bright and colorful, which is the aspect of my space I love the most.
I obsessed over stunning, minimalist spaces with bright whites and calming grays… but I’ve learned that’s just not me. I love bright colors. They make me feel happy, relaxed, and most importantly, like myself.
Admittedly the kitchen table is usually the thing that houses the 900 lbs of beauty products I bring home every week (or, well, multiple times a week). But I clean it off maybe once a week or so… hence this photo. I snagged this hanging rack on Etsy when I first moved to NYC, and it came in handy in the new apartment when there was literally no room in the kitchen for really anything at all. It used to be cluttered with bits and bobs until I invested in some mason jars and made everything look uniform.
Winnie’s crate also fits perfectly under the kitchen table, which was convenient because there was literally nowhere else to put it. I also love that she has her own little space — and she seems to like it too! Since her crate opens on the left side of the table, there was only room for two chairs. This works because most of the time it’s just Jake and I eating at the table, but one day when we have more room I’m looking forward to putting benches on each side.
And, yes, this is the infamous pink velvet chair. It’s glorious, so comfortable, and one of Winnie’s favorite places to nap even though she is too big for it
The kitchen table was a cheap find on the Housing Works auction site. If you’re in New York City, definitely check out furniture on the site. There are super unique pieces (also amazing art) for low prices.
One of the things I get the most questions about in my apartment are my rugs, which are both from Wayfair. Both of those links are located on the ‘Links’ Highlight on my Instagram profile if you’re interested.
My fireplace is accented with a gold mirror from PB Teen of all places, an amazing weaving I found at Housing Works, and some photos and (of course) candles. If the trade off for having a teensy kitchen and bathroom was having a working fireplace, I think I’m OK with that for cozy views like this.
To the left of the fireplace is our TV, couch, ottoman, and some storage. This is where we really spend all of our time.
The hutch to the left of the fireplace (our current TV stand) was a find from Green Flea in the Upper West Side. We negotiated the seller way down and ended up with two HUGE pieces for less than $400 total. The best part of the piece is it’s basically like the Narnia wardrobe; it is deep and is perfect for storage, which we are always desperately in need off.
To the left of the hutch is a collapsible bar cart that we, also, use for storage right now. It mostly houses my shoes, alcohol, and extra candles (all the essentials, really), but it can also roll around the apartment in case we need extra counter space or an area to serve drinks.
Oh, and also. The stool to the left of the bar cart is specifically so Winnie can stand there and look out the window AKA one of her favorite pastimes. Yes, we are that committed to our dog’s happiness.
Next up we have the main event of the living room: My couch and ottoman/coffee table from Article.
For over two years, I had a very, very, very uncomfortable couch form IKEA that could also fold down into a bed. It was basically like sitting on two wooden plants. It was bad. Very bad. So when the time came to get a new couch, I was both extremely stressed out by all the options and wildly excited. Enter: Article and the very practical choice of a bright green velvet couch. And my gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever loved anything more.
I had been dreaming about a sectional, but it simply wouldn’t work in our space. Instead, I opted for a buttery leather ottoman from Article that would also serve as a little coffee table, and the Sven 72″ sofa in grass green velvet. It’s ridiculously cozy, and surprisingly easy to stretch out on — even for two people 6′ and over plus Winnie. It’s the best purchase I’ve made maybe ever. And the green velvet brings me pure joy every single time I see it.
Above is my plant pride and joy: Lilo. Lilo has been with us for a year now, and unfortunately sits right by the heater (hence why the leaves are a bit brown). I have no idea how this little plant is still alive, but it brings me so much happiness.
I am much more of a homebody than anything else. I love going out, but at the end of the day spending time in my own space with my green couch and my cozy blankets and my dog and little family makes me happier than anything else. It’s not a perfect space. But it’s ours, and that’s enough for me.
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