How One Couple Copes With 3 "P's" of Studio Life

How One Couple Copes With 3 "P's" of Studio Life

Adrienne Breaux
Oct 20, 2016
Franke and the stellar view of Navy Pier in Chicago.
(Image credit: Franke Chung )

Newlyweds Franke and Jason, and their dog and cat, share a studio apartment in a Chicago high-rise. They love the location — and the views are killer — but as anyone who's ever shared a small space knows, it's not always sunshine and rainbows. In fact, there are three challenges that can be a bummer for small space dwellers in particular: Pets, Parties and Possessions.

In a small space, you often have to keep the litter box out in the open. If so, clean modern design is the way to go. According to the couple, "Modko's Flip Litter Box has been a life saver".
(Image credit: Franke Chung )

Franke and Jason have figured out both a functional and stylish layout for their studio, as well as shared some secrets to sharing a small space. In this post, they reveal how they cope with sharing a small space with pets, entertaining in a studio and dealing with stuff as a couple.


What's it like living with two pets in a studio (and without a bedroom door)?

Franke: We have the laziest pets in the world, so it's pleasant to have them constantly around. I fear that in a bigger home, I might only see my cat once or twice a day. They've gotten spoiled with sleeping with us too (much to my allergist's dismay). So at bedtime, everyone's pushing and shoving each other for their place on the bed. An elderly 10-pound dog will spread its body to take up maximum surface area if you let it.

Jason: See previous answer (hint: amazing). It helps that we adopted a dog that was somehow smaller than our cat. With regards to their feeding arrangement, they're finally at a point in their siblinghood where they're willing to eat side-by-side. So at least now there's only one collective eating area to trip over instead of two.

There's the infamous gateleg console (that Franke isn't a big fan of) on the right. Its low profile and neutral color makes it blend in when not in use, but it provides great utility when entertaining.
(Image credit: Franke Chung )


How do you guys entertain people in your space?

Franke: I think the maximum number of folks we've ever had over is three. I think maybe we could fit a quiet fourth in here. Thankfully, the kitchen has a surprising amount of counter space, so that's where we all tend to hover. It works for drinks and simple foods, but I haven't attempted to throw a proper dinner here yet.

Jason: We have this gate-leg console table that Franke's always trying to get rid of, but it seems to come in handy in a pinch, especially when we entertain. We'll set up floor cushions around the coffee table if we're playing board games.

→ Takeaway: Know your guest list limit and be flexible with seating.

A great example of a smart mix of hidden and open storage as a key to keeping the look of your possessions streamlined. The couple shows off the pretty stuff, like their books (and even features them with accent lighting!) while hiding away whatever they need to hide away in closed cubbies below.
(Image credit: Franke Chung )


Do you guys work together to control the influx of "stuff" into the house...or is one person sneaking stuff out when the other isn't looking?

Jason: Points at Franke.

Franke: Points at self.

Jason: You know how some people have a hoarding problem? Franke has the opposite — she can't purge enough stuff. I know something's up when she starts piling things in a corner. For the most part, she's right about what we don't need. But every now and then, something goes to "the farm" that we end up having to re-buy.

Franke: He calls it purging. I call it editing. In my defense, I've gotten so much better about acquiring only things that I truly appreciate and will less likely have the urge to oust later. Jason's definitely more of the impulse buyer and content with "stuff." I have constant doubt and buyer's remorse and do tons of research before I get anything. I think it's funny how much we're a reflection of our very different upbringings. But I think for the most part, we've struck a balance and agree with each other more than not about what we both want in our home.

Thanks Franke & Jason!

See their entire Chicago studio apartment in their house tour → A Pragmatist's Simple Sky-High 640 Square Foot Chicago Studio

Read more about how they share a small space together (and maybe even get some ideas for your own space) → How Newlyweds Share a Small Apartment (Stylishly & Successfully)

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