Here is a photo gallery of my studio apartment I started from practically nothing.  Having seen so many people decorate their modern homes with black furniture that all 'just matched', I decided I was going to try for raw steel and gray colors.  This is more or less what you see when you walk in the door, and the guitar is a <a href=''>Larrivee L-10M</a> and is older than every single other item in the apartment (besides myself, my birth certificate, and my social security card).   The pattern on the accent wall is created with semi-gloss that is the same color swatch as the rest of the flat paint used, which gives it a subtlety that plays in different kinds of light.   A key goal I had was to make sure the pathway to the desk (or bathroom) would not be impeded by having to step around furniture.  This made it difficult to establish a 'living room', but the trick was accomplished with the particularly narrow <a href='' target='blank'>Zuo Modern Double Bench</a>.  It divides the space and can serve as both a coffee table <i>and</i> sturdy additional seating. In such a constrained environment I needed all the seating options I could get.  At first I worried bar stools would clutter the minimalist aesthetic and looked for transparent acrylic ones, but these inexpensive <a href='' target='blank'>Tabouret 30-inch Stools</a> are versatile and not too visually distracting.  The microfiber couch is actually two leftover segments from a sectional couch that Dillard's had parents found them stuck in a corner on clearance.  After modifying them so they could rachet together tightly, they were perfect. I wanted to avoid getting a glass desk or coffee table and stick to all gray metal.  But this now-discontinued dining table from West Elm was nifty, on sale, and was a perfect width and height.  In retrospect, going with glass was probably a good decision to keep my large desk from overshadowing the rest of the room.  My very cool <a href='' target='blank'>Mint Floor Sweeper/Mopper</a> (who I named FLOR-G) blends in so well that I leave him sitting out even when not in use. I didn't want low-grade computer speakers...I wanted <i>reasonably</i> high quality 'self-powered monitors' that didn't require a bulky amplifier.  I found the <a href='' target='blank'>AudioEngine A5</a> series through a Google Image search for white speakers with gray accents, and discovered they had rave reviews for price/performance.  I've been happy, especially with the auxiliary input on top that was made for iPods but works even better with a <a href='' target='blank'>Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth</a>! I had a goal to keep everything up off the that meant no power strips.  I managed to find a wonderfully gray <a href='' target='blank'>APC Smart-UPS SC-450</a>, which not only could provide power outlets on the desk but also contained a battery and power conditioner to protect my electronics and keep them running during an outage.  (In Austin there are quite a number of thunderstorms, so this has come in handy.)  I've also dispensed with keeping lots of USB cables around and instead keep out a single cable with a selection of tip adapters. I'm actively hostile toward Apple's corporate policies, so don't worry...I mostly run Linux on this computer.  But for a minimalist it's nearly impossible to find a better pint-sized workstation than the Mac Mini...and their wireless Bluetooth keyboard provides a similar mass-market value proposition for an otherwise niche item.  They made it possible to fit my <a href='' target='blank'>Novation X-Station</a> right on the desk, and even though I don't play music every day it's a high-quality audio interface and headphone I actually do wind up needing it every day. I bought my appliances in stainless steel to match the refrigerator, but decided the kitchen area would have a 'green' theme.  I'd hoped to get some plants up over the cabinets and decorate, but I've only gotten as far as choosing the very affordable and attractive <a href='' target='blank'>Rachael Ray</a> set...including <a href='' target='blank'>the stoneware</a> (which is especially nice). Besides getting a toaster oven and a microwave, I've not gotten too creative with the kitchen yet.  Yet here you can see one of the toys everyone who visits wants: the <a href='' target='blank'>Laser Stars Projector</a>.  With the varying reflectivities of paint, my wall gives a particularly impressive effect when this is turned on. Because I use my 'laundry room' as storage instead of a place for a washer and dryer, it also serves as where I keep my recycling bins and trash can.  I do enjoy the look and function of SimpleHuman's <a href=''>Retro Red Trash Can</a>, but I'm baffled as to how to use it properly with trash bags that weren't specially made for it. I found this solid rosewood sleigh bed in pieces at a consignment store, and purchased it with a written contingency that they'd have all the parts and it would fit together.  It didn't.  I could have returned it but they paid me off $100 to try and fix it myself, which I managed to hack together using some wood chisels.  The <a href='' target='blank'>Element Bistro Crank Table</a> is from Four Hands Home, and besides being cool solved a tough problem of what to put in a tiny nightstand slot where a square table could extend a sharp corner blocking the bathroom entrance. With such a gray and minimalist angle on my main living area, I wanted to break all the rules here.  I'd use black, white, and bright colors...and coordinated with a piece of art by a friend that had devil themes in it, which were picked up with <a href='' target='blank'>Devil Duckies from Archie McPhee</a>.  I couldn't find a shower curtain I didn't hate, so I wound up splurging on <a href='' target='blank'>Kontextur Neon/Squared Shower Curtain Rings</a>...and just using a simple transparent liner.  The transparency is especially nice with candles or with the Laser Stars unit! I didn't want a 'bathroom set' on the counter.  I did go with a porcelain tissue box cover from America Retold with an interesting apothecarial stamp on the side, and bought a stainless steel soap pump that I liked the look of (but turned out to be poor quality) and I'm now considering a transparent plastic pump with colored soap.  Tired of inadequate candle lighters, I purchased the very excellent <a href='' target='blank'>BonJour Pro Creme Brulee Torch</a>, which gives a bit of a thrill each time one uses it. The hardest issue with this sign made by <a href=''>America Retold</a> was figuring out how to attach something to the wall to hang it on that wasn't a terrible mismatch.  The edge is an obvious gray and not black...and though I could find some fairly decent-looking drawer knobs that had the right kind of 'rustic' finish, there was no obvious way to put one of those on a wall.  Eventually a wall hook from Ikea fit the bill, so don't give up...and don't be afraid to describe your intentions to people in stores, because they might find just the thing for you.

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