At Home With

Annie's Studio Tour

Cute option for electrical wires

Hi, friends! 

I thought today we could take a little tour  of the rest of my studio :D First, a reminder about what the space looked like when I moved in..... Here's the "before" post and you can see a few transitional photos below. 

Small studio Before and After
Small SF studio before and after

It's filled with stuuuuuffff!!!! Woohoooo! I had to take a really slow approach to decorating this space due to some financial constraints, but slowly and surely (and 10 months later) this room really came together. You can see the finished product in these detail shots below. I've also put together a list of a few small strategies that made a big impact in this teeny-tiny studio.

  • Remove visually solid items: When I first made my kitchen table I had solid desk legs and solid backed kitchen chairs. It didn't take long before I replaced those with the airy hairpin legs and modern style stools. The moment I did there was SO much extra room in my apartment. Being able to see through the legs and stools just makes the room feel bigger. Not to mention, storing the stools under my table when not eating literally does give me more space:)
  • Break up the space into "areas." Even though my apartment is basically one big room, I tried to make four distinct areas and visually separate them. My "living room" is defined by the shaggy rug. The "dining room" is the space taken up by my kitchen table. My "office" is the standing desk on the wall, defined by a gallery installation. And the "bedroom" is, well the bed :)
  • Headboards are so adult & I finally understand the value. They make a HUGE difference in bringing together a room. I didn't have a headboard for the first nine months I lived here and my apartment really never felt finished until I did.
  • DIY!! In a small space, you might need unique pieces to fit a unique layout. Don't be afraid to custom build your own furniture to make it the perfect fit :D 
  • Lastly, live in your space. There's no need to decorate your apartment right away. Live in the space, see how you use it and what you really need. It will make the finished product that much more perfect. I really struggled to find a place where I could put a tv, but after a few weeks in my apartment I realized I didn't even need it! I use my laptop to stream Netflix & crash on a friend's couch or plan a trip to a bar if there is something on the actual tv I want to watch. 

Since you saw the finished kitchen a few weeks ago, this concludes my apartment tour. Ringing in at a whopping 275 square feet, this is probably the smallest space I'll ever inhabit. It's been a really fun challenge to design a space that worked for me, and I hope you enjoyed peeking into my life! xox 

Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Hanging Side Table in Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment
Cute Tiny Apartment

Photos: Diana Lustig Sources: DIY dining tableHairpin legs; Amazon Kitchen stools; Stendig Calendar;  DIY standing desk; Restoration Hardware bar stool (Thrifted); Mintwood Photo Co. Cyan-o-matic plant prints; Hickory + Co "Cincinnati" Wood laser cut-out; DIY wooden headboard; Iron Illumination swag lampsDIY hanging side table; Ikea Floor Lamp; Move Loot Winged arm chair; DIY tree slice side table; DIY floor-length curtainsRUGS USA area rug

Annie's Studio Kitchen Tour

Ikea Grundal Kitchen Bars

Long awaited and slightly spoiled by my SmallCool Contest... the "after" photos of my tiny little SF kitchen! Let's first take a trip down memory lane. Remember what my kitchen looked like when I moved in? Here's the "before" post and a few photos below. 

Apartment kitchen before and after
Before and After

This is honestly my favorite space in the apartment. Not just because it's where I cook dinner (Cough. Excuse me. Where I warm up pizza from the Whole Foods Refrigerated Section.), but also because it was the first room here in SF that I got "done."

That's a funny word, because of course no room is ever "done." A space grows and changes with your needs and taste. But, this was the room that I focused on making me right away. Moving here was really hard. I mean, I'm so happy I did, don't get me wrong. But living 2000 miles away from my family and everything I know -- that was a challenge. I really needed to make something here in SF mine, and I wanted to do it as quickly as possible. I did it here in this tiny kitchen. 

Que end of the sappy part of this post :D Anyway, you can see for yourself how the space evolved in the photos below. But I also wanted to point out a few of what I consider the "big impact" items:

  • Removing the cupboard doors. I did this RIGHT away. It's super easy, for you other renters out there. Literally just unscrew the hinges. Of course, before I move out, I'll have to screw them back on, but I absolutely think removing these doors opened the room a TON.
  • HANG EVERYTHING. Literally, everything. I hung pots and pans, I hung knives, I hung the paper towels, I hung plants, I hung baking supplies, I hung my pictures (as magnets on the fridge). There is one drawer and two "food" storage cupboards in this kitchen. That's not enough room for anything. Utilizing the wall space was imperative.
  • Draw the eyes up. It's true what they say, if you put something above the natural line of vision, your eye will travel up to see it. This layering of height helps the space feel much larger. I did this through the art above my cupboards and the hanging copper plant rod (a DIY I can share here, if you'd like!).
  • Speaking of the plants, Greenery. I've never had plants before, but now I have three succulents in the kitchen, two herbs the wall, mint in the corner, and an air plant on the fridge. You might think I'm crazy for saying this, but I feel like they're like my little pets! It's so fun to watch them grow. The plants add some needed life into this tiny kitchen.
  • You might notice I don't have a microwave.... so that's my final tip. Challenge yourself. I didn't think I could live without a microwave (ugh, pampered much?), but it actually is totally fine. I use this awesome wok that I found at a Thrift Store to make oatmeal in the morning and heat up leftovers. Those were pretty much the only reasons I ever used a microwave anyway! It feels great to save the space the microwave would have taken up.
Cute Tiny kitchen
Tiny Kitchen solutions
Plants in a tiny apartment kitchen
Small kitchen solutions
Tiny kitchen

Photos: Diana Lustig | Sources: Ikea Grundtal Kitchen Rods (pots and pans); Urban Outfitters Swan Watering Can; Bed Bath and Beyond Paper Towel Holder; Target Trash Can; Ikea Magnetic Knife Bar; Ikea Double Tiered Drying Rack; Hanging plants, Hanging Shelf and Modern Planter DIY's; Amazon Le Parfait Jars.



Six & a half months ago I moved into an apartment entirely on my own.  It's a 450 square foot box that I've lovingly referred to throughout this blog as The Studio. I know I've shown you little corners of it.. but  I think it's high time I invited you inside  :D Welcome to my cheerful little world!


This is The Studio. My studio. This is where I write to you guys almost every single night &  where I binge watch Netflix like it's nobody's business. This is where I'm learning to cook & budget & figure out who I am & how to succeed. This little ole box is what inspired the rebranding of the blog to Ida Street.  I love this little studio.


They say everyone should try to live alone for a little while they are young.  I think it just encourages dangerous habits. (Who else ate half a pint of ice cream for dinner tonight? Nobody even knew!  Until I just told all of you....). 

I'm kidding (not about the ice cream). Living alone is a really big rite of passage. You learn how to survive when the electricity goes out every week for a month. You find out that 55 degrees is a pretty acceptable temperature to live in -- mostly because its the one you can afford. & cooking actually isn't so scary. & crock pots are a girl's best friend. 


But mostly, when you live alone, you learn about yourself. & that's some pretty good company.  Anyway!! Sorry to get all sentimental on you guys! I just really love this studio. Want a quick tour?


Remember way back when I told you about Building the Corner Coffee Bar? It's still here. & I still love it. This is where I sit when I'm working from home. A perfect little place to work & look up to people watch the inhabitants of Mt. Adams.


With less space in the studio I had to get creative about surfaces. Purses went on the wall. Hats went onto hooks. & pictures went onto the fridge. (Here's that post on Instagram Fridge Magnets.... that was one of the first things I did here!)   & don't worry guys -- my drafting table did fit. I made sure of it.


One thing I didn't realize until I lived alone is how your space unconsciously becomes... well you. 

It's where your life unfolds & where you can be you. The un-make-upped, unassuming, un guarded self. I love that. It's how a 450 square foot box can become your home. 


Photography: Mintwood Photo Co.

P.S. I've had this post in the works for a long time. Since July. While my slightly messy morning routine definitely delayed the process (it's not true that a small space is easier to keep clean!!), the real push to publish came from Urban Compass. They're a real estate platform focused on connecting individuals with the neighborhoods, apartments & homes  that best fit their personality. Thank you for asking me to share my Starter Story & finally invite you all inside the studio. I'd love to hear about your first homes in the comments :D


I didn't tell you all, but I moved! In May of 2013 (back when Magical Simplicity was under repair), my roommates and I moved from the house on Tusculum to a house just around the corner... & up one extremely steep, steep hill.

You may know Columbia Tusculum is the oldest neighborhood in Cincinnati. What you may not know is that it's also one of the highest. This winter was one major challenge for my little civic. I've showed you one of my favorite corners  of the house already. But my roomies have just finished their grad program at UC (hizzah!) & our future is yet again unclear. So I thought I better show off the rest of our little house - in case I'm running out of time!

Welcome to our home!

There is a kitchen & living room, obv.. but I don't spend as much time in those.. (one of these days!) What I love most about this place is the back deck. It's perfect for bonfires & picnics. & those woods belong to the beautiful Alms Park. Yes, sometimes we get stray hikers. & a ton of deer.

I live in the attic, lovingly referred to as the cocoon.  I'd say the ceiling hits 6 ft at its highest, & slopes to two feet at its lowest. It's perfectly Annie-Sized.

Best part? I have a bathroom. & the shower head comes straight out of the ceiling. Also, there is a skylight above the toilet. So that's fun.

I had to do a lot of thrifting to get furniture up here that fit - like a floor desk (how amazing is that butcher block? I rested it upon an old cupboard from my mom's basement, final height: perfect for crossed legs). 

& the dresser, tucked away at a vintage furniture store in Loveland. Just waiting for me.

We've loved every second in this house & in our first Painted Lady, too. I don't think we could have even imagined a better neighborhood to ease into adult life. Columbia Tusculum: you will always, always  hold a place in my heart.

Touch of magic.

Excuse my hiatus from the magic, I assure you I have been enjoying plenty of it! We moved into a fairy tale about a month ago, literally.

This gem has quickly taken a hold on my heart. Built in 1890, I can almost feel all the stories and lives that this home has touched. The bugs are brightly patterned and adorable little lizards scamper across our stairwell. The weather is always more beautiful on our rooftop deck.

As you can see there has been a lot of magic to keep up with, but I'm back. And desperate to hear your good news.