In Refinery29's Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial women. In today's episode, Bit Blair and Ash Hodges show off their two-bedroom apartment and garden in Brooklyn.
In New York, real estate is always changing. Rents can skyrocket, buildings get sold, and finding a place to call your own for the foreseeable future might mean putting a down payment on a house you can't afford. So when Bit Blair and Ash Hodges' friend offered them a two-bedroom basement apartment in her Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn townhouse, they jumped at the chance. "She rents it out to us, the whole bottom floor, like completely below market value," Bit says. "We're paying around $1,925 (£1,475) a month, and market would be around $2,500 (£1,910)."
It helps that the couple works for the rent in the form of household upgrades. They re-tiled the kitchen, uncovered a marble fireplace, put in a new fence out front, and lugged in new soil to the garden to create an outdoor oasis of berries. And the house has seen them through plenty of milestones — including their marriage.
"We only had a courthouse wedding, and we had no money for a proper wedding," Bit says. "So our landlord threw a giant wedding party for us after. We took our last hundred dollars, bought a bunch of kegs, and invited all our friends over."
Watch the video above to get a tour of the space — and hear about their ghost.
Describe your home style.
Bit: Well, Ash and I have competing home styles. So Ash loves mid-century modern. She loves clean lines, bright colours. And I like Victorian stuff. I want it to be super ornate, really old, with history. I want it to be something you can never throw away. So we've had to compromise, with classic but clean and simple, muted colours.
I have a steamer trunk. It is actually kinda funny because they're both like right in front of the TV. So it's another like really good visual, like the difference between our tastes. There's like a steamer trunk, and then on either side, there's like these two super-modern-looking chairs.
Do you have any decorating rules?
I try to do like, small next to big and then small again. Paying attention to proportion matters a lot. Also, lighting matters a lot. Our apartment was starting to look kinda dingy, and we couldn’t figure out why, and then we realized it was because we had bought soft white bulbs for the kitchen. Soft while bulbs don’t look good in the kitchen. You want bright white, so that helped.