The offbeat occupant: Shannon, Grad Student
Other occupants: Just me!
Approximate square footage: Under 650 sq. feet
How many bedrooms? 1
Lives in: Browne’s Addition, Spokane, WA, United States
When did you move into this home? 1 year
Let’s start with the neighborhood. What’s it like where you live? Browne’s Addition is one of the more eclectic neighborhoods in Spokane, with a mix of Victorian homes, both single-family and split into apartments (like mine), historical and newer apartment blocks, the area’s Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC), and local businesses and restaurants. I love living just three blocks from a park where local community events like ArtFest happen throughout the summer and where there’s lots of space to spread out with a book or a picnic.
What makes your home offbeat? I’ve been interested in interior design since I was a kid — drawing up elaborate plans for the canopy bed and reading hammock that would be in my dream bedroom when I was little — and my favorite homes in all the decorating magazines were the ones with whimsy and fun. As an adult, I love a well-designed object or a piece of art, but I like to nestle them in with my own cheap (but well-loved) vacation souvenirs or my nerdy collectibles.
I want my home to feel not just lived-in, but full of items you can’t wait to pick up and find out more about. I’m an art historian and a life-long reader, which means lots of books and lots of beautiful things for the sake of their beauty.
It’s nerdy, but it’s infused with a queer, feminist aesthetic, with a preponderance of queer and feminist artists included in the postcard wall and the shrine to Oscar Wilde placed next to the mantle.
What’s the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? The size! At 425 square feet, it’s not the smallest apartment in the world, but with my books, collections, clothes, and art, I really have to make use of every space.
Many things serve double-duty as well, like the desk/dining table/craft table/etc. It does, however, help me stay organized, because a few items out-of-place can seem huge when you’re tripping over them every day!
What’s your favorite feature of your home? I love the pot rack I made from an old door and some Ikea towel rods and hooks. The set of copper pots on it were a gift from my mom, who is an excellent flea market shopper; those and so many other items passed down and gifted from family members and loved ones help me feel like every space is filled with good memories. And my library — all those books are a pain to move, but there’s nothing better than having a book on hand to lend to a friend you know will love it!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? It’s helped me make some tough choices about the things I’d like to surround myself with. Since there’s virtually no out-of-sight storage, I have to decide if that random Christmas decoration or out-of-date guidebook are really something I need around. That being said, though, having a lot of visual interest and items I love — even if they’re not “useful” — is important to me, so those that have little memory and little use are so much easier to donate or pass on.
What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? Don’t be afraid of mixing things that might not otherwise go together! Those nerdy pieces of fanart don’t need to be relegated to the office, and a bit of profanity and irreverence won’t hurt anyone!
Any stuff or services you want to recommend?
- My favorite places to get items nerdy, irreverent, bookish, and well-designed are Boo Radley’s and Atticus Coffee, a pair of shops in downtown Spokane, appropriately named after To Kill A Mockingbird. Great for gifts, homewares, coffee/tea, and books.
- The best new and used bookshop in Spokane is Auntie’s Books.
- Finally, my favorite source for all things fanart is UnicornEmpire, which is where the “Driver Picks the Music” poster at the top of my wall came from. They have great Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, Harry Potter, and Teen Wolf items.
Show me the decor porn!