City Spaces: A bright Minneapolis studio that knows how to party

There's room to party!

There's room to party! Lucy Hawthorne

What do you do when you have less than 500 square feet of apartment but you're still raring to party?

You have a damn party.

That's the lesson we learned from this tiny but mighty studio near Lake Calhoun. 

"I'm a neat freak," says renter Emily Eaton, giving away her secret to balancing a big personality and a little floor plan. And it's true. There's so much to look at here you won't know where to settle your gaze, but it's still impossibly tidy. Guests can flop down on the neatly made bed to listen to music, or take a seat at the table to munch on tacos, or perch on the small sofa and try to count all the llamas. (Did we mention Eaton has a minor obsession with llamas?)

It's equal parts festive and lived-in. Check out our slideshow for the full tour.

Who: Emily Eaton
Where: Uptown-Lakes area of Minneapolis
How long you've lived here: Six years

What's your favorite thing about your space?
My bed probably is my favorite thing in my apartment because it’s the focal point. I got my bed after I graduated college because I was like, "Time to be an adult."

I like that you recognized it was time to be an adult but you kept your “dicks” pillow.
When I say adult, I mean... yeah, there are a lot of inappropriate words throughout. I hope that’s okay.

That’s okay! Where did the pillow come from?
My friend Molly May has her own design company, Six Peaks, and she makes whatever we want. I don’t even know what it means, it’s just funny to me. It's more like "asshole" dicks than "penis" dicks.

An important distinction. Tell us about this gallery wall.
A lot of my art I get from the MCAD art sale every year. I go there and find my favorite piece so it’s not just something from Ikea and Target. And it’s also a mixture of my friend’s art and my dad’s. He paints.

What’s one of your favorite pieces?
The llama one. It was at one of the MCAD art sales maybe five years ago and I saw it from across the room and just bolted through the crowd like, “I NEED THIS.” Shortly after that I started drawing llamas. Then I did this llama t-shirt series and stickers. It was sort of the start of my llama obsession.

What is it that draws you to llamas?
They’re weird. And they’re so funny.

They’re also kind of sassy. They’ve got attitude. They will spit on you.
Uh huh. There’s a llama place maybe 30 or 40 miles away, and you can go and walk the llamas and I’ve gone there a couple of times. Sometimes there are kind of aggressive ones where I’m like, this leash isn’t going to hold you.

What's your least favorite thing about your space?
Noise. There’s something up with my radiator where I can hear the guy below me and he plays those war video games. So at 2 a.m. it’s like, “Oh my god are we at war?!” I do have pretty quiet neighbors except that guy. I don’t think he knows I can hear every word he says perfectly.

Well, he does now.
Yeah. [Looks down at the floor.] Stop playing video games.

So you have an impressive plant collection. How do you keep them alive through Minnesota winters?
Everyone keeps asking me that. I think I need to do an Instagram post about how to take care of your plants. [Editor's note: That's @ereyayouknowme, if you want to keep an eye out for this indoor plant primer.] I don’t try to do any flowers. I have tried orchids but for the life of me they just die. So I have pretty sturdy greenery. It’s a weekly schedule. Every Sunday morning for an hour I take care of my plants.

That’s good to know! I think sometimes people treat plants like furniture. But, no, you actually have to tend to them.
It’s a routine. It’s trimming and figuring out that throwing water in each pot isn’t the answer. I spray a lot of my plants especially in the dry Minnesota winter. Every other day I go around and spray all the leaves. And when I get them home I don’t re-pot them for a few weeks. They’re like my newborn babies.

What's your biggest design inspiration/influence?
I take a lot of what I do in fashion and what the trends are in clothes and kind of translate that into my home. Right now I’m into fluffy, furry pillows and pom-poms and also the monochromatic look -- white with bold, strong colors that speak for themselves.

Did you paint the walls?
They were already white. There’s a funny story of how I called in a request to have them look at my kitchen sink and the workers came in and repainted my entire apartment. They tore everything down and moved everything around. There were bananas in my closet. I came home and I thought I’d been robbed. So, yes, they’ve been recently painted.

They didn’t give you any warning?
No. It was the biggest drama that resulted in a $50 Walgreens gift card. Thanks guys.

Trend you love:
Going with what’s you. I don’t follow trends too much, but I am really happy that plants are in right now so I don’t look like a total freak. A crazy plant mom.

Trend you hate:
Probably chevron print. That should be very, very done.

Where do you shop?
Locally, Forage Modern and the Foundry. Hunt and Gather. Wilson and Willy's is more of a clothing store but they have nice little dishes and things. CB2. Craigslist. Target's Oh Joy! line. Ikea. I really don't shop for stuff anymore, though. Now when I buy something new I have to take something out.

Other than your hot pink bed, what's one item you like to show off in your home?
Probably this ceramic roller skate. I call it my weapon. If anyone ever breaks in this is what I will grab and chuck at their head.

You've lived here for six years. What do you do to keep things fresh?
When I moved in I was younger and thought beer cans were decor. It happened to all of us. But every two years I go through a two-weekend purge and get a whole new set-up and try to de-clutter. Because after living somewhere so long you collect so much stuff. And there’s not much storage here.

I’ve always thought that after six years I can’t believe I’m still here and I should move somewhere bigger. But I love the area. I’m surrounded by lakes, so it’s dreamy. And I have this place so figured out. It’s like a tiny house almost. Very effective and efficient for me.

What's your best memory here?
I would say all of the parties I’ve had. I love hosting and having my friends over for massive dinners. I love having pre-parties here before shows. Everyone’s like, “Are you sure you want to host? You have the smallest space...” But it always works out. You throw some pillows on the ground, and then I’ll have like four friends lying on my bed. Everybody comes together and it’s really fun.

If you had the budget, what would you do to your space?
I would get a baby grand piano.

Do you play?
No, I would learn. But it would be so fun to have a shiny white piano. I would get rid of my dining room table. People would have to eat on the floor, which is fine.

And then you could drown out the sounds of war coming from downstairs.
Exactly. With peaceful music.


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