Alison and Brendan’s highly-organized high-design space with lots of customized storage

June 29 | Guest post by Alison

Alison is a web designer, blogger, dry-erase board maker, and seamstress, and lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Austin, Texas with boyfriend Brendan and chihuahuas Maude and Moki. Let's gaze.

We live in between the Old West Austin and Clarksville neighborhoods near downtown. Our apartment is surrounded by huge, beautiful old homes we could never afford to buy, but they're lovely to walk past. We love living so close to downtown because it means nothing in Austin is very far away.

apartment tour

Our home's unusual because if I see something and I like it, I probably want to hang it on the wall, and Brendan's the same way. I enjoy having things I love out where I can see them. Also, we almost never buy new furniture. I like my stuff vintage or secondhand or found. Even our few Ikea items came from the scratch-and-dent, final-sale section.

apartment tour

apartment tourBrendan's tastes run toward sci-fi, video gaming, and old monster movies. While I'm occasionally willing to sacrifice comfort for style, he's the total opposite. We've found integrating our styles to be an interesting challenge!

The apartment is difficult because we have very, very little closet or cabinet space. There's one closet in the big bedroom, one tiny closet in the office, and that's it! With all my craft supplies and Brendan's computer and music equipment to store, we've had to get really creative with bookshelves and wall shelves. Poor Brendan has to keep all his hanging clothes in two rickety little wardrobes. I have to make sure I keep all my sewing stuff in attractive storage boxes, because there's no place to hide any of it.

apartment tour

apartment tour

Don't laugh, but my favorite part of our house is the bathroom. I really love it. It's so huge! I'm proud of the fact that we've managed to make our orange and green bathroom stuff go with the blue wall tile. It's also very convenient that the bathroom has a door to the living room AND a door to the bedroom.

apartment tour

I also love the light the whole place gets. There are lots of windows, but somehow none of them get direct, bright sun. That's really helpful during our 100-degree Texas summers.

apartment tour

In this home I've learned less about the space, and more about how to live with someone whose tastes are different than mine. Brendan moved to Austin from New York with no furniture, so all the stuff we started out with was mine.

apartment tour

I've lived alone most of my life and have never had to consult anyone else about any living-space decisions. Since moving in together, we've had to compromise on a lot of purchases and layouts. He doesn't have an opinion on most design stuff, but when he does, he's very firm, and I've had to learn to accept and appreciate that.

apartment tour

My greatest dream for the space isn't about renovations — it's to stay in it! Since moving to Austin in 2005, I've lived in six different apartments. I'd like to keep this one for a long time, partly because we've installed so many shelves and those'd be a pain to take down. But I do love it here.

apartment tour

We love these stores

Okay, more! Show me the cowboy hats and workdesks!

  1. Wow, I love it! You've done a great job mixing seemingly unmatching items and filling them with stuff that is obviously YOURS and things you actually use, without it looking cluttered. Awesome!

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  2. Wonderful! I love all the (open) storage solutions and eclectic items.

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  3. What an absolutely extraordinary organized and designed home! I want shelves like that, but because I'm a CA resident, I'm afraid too because of our earthquake factor.

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  4. Beautiful! My co-blogger, Mary, is very similar to you style-wise and i've always though she pulls a house together beautifully. (She's also similar to you in that she lives with/dates a Brendan and lives in Austin. Kind of weird.) Thanks for the tour!

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  5. SPOOLS! There, I said it. I think your house is rad.

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    • I know right?! I'm so jealous of the whole sewing set-up, but the spoooooolllllssssssss….I die.

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  6. love love love it. right down to the uhf poster. and most of all, this: "if I see something and I like it, I probably want to hang it on the wall."

    ditto. and i love how it's done.

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    • me too. but my husband gets annoyed when i cover the walls *sad face*

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  7. I agree with the earlier comment that your house looks like a HOME and doesn't look cluttered but "planned". I love how it looks random yet put together.

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  8. I love your shower curtain! (How weird is that?)
    And I WISH my craft stuff was anywhere near as organized as yours. I keep making excuses like, I don't want to spend a lot on shelving, etc until we're in a house… (Secretly, I love my clutter and know my way around it…)
    Anyway, if my sister still lived in TX I would have to send her over to steal your chihuahuas (love me some taco dogs!) and your pink zebras. :)

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  9. I need those shelves they have in the kitchen. Can anybody tell me where they got them, or give me instructions on building them? PLEASE?! We just moved to a tiny Chicago apartment with a SUPER tiny kitchen (literally 4 cabinets. 4!!!!). Thanks guys!

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