We are the women who live in tiny apartments. We are the women stretching out on our beds alone. Our laundry and our empty bottles of La Croix and scribbled notebooks, our own. We are the women that cry in our pajamas late into the night. We are the women that feel the strongest we’ve ever felt, cooking a roast in our kitchens listening to Solange, growing well into the seasons of our lives. We are the studio apartment society. The big-hearted variety.
A talented friend of mine, Laura Rae, and I are venturing on a little journey to share the story of these quaint apartments and the women living in them—here on Wit & Delight. She’ll capture the visuals and I’ll try the best I can to tell their stories. Studio Apartment Society will follow the stories of the things they keep, the spaces they tend, and the people they love. Out on their own in the world.
Please, let me welcome you into Lisa Lynn’s humble abode.
Lisa’s apartment is pushed up against a breezy street and, in the winter, it almost feels like home to me. There’s something about it, of course. Perhaps it’s the heavy front door or the steps that form a perfect sitting stoop. I imagine the stoops to be “summer good.” Perfect for a lemonade and a deep breath. Ready for a light entrance after a run. That kind of thing. For now, the stoop is covered in dirty snow and salt and February has an endless voice.
The walk-in also reminds me of Halloween. One of the moments I loved most when I was a kid was the swinging of a neighbor’s door; the greeting. When a flood of warm light would pour all over my cold face and I would smell the dinners families were cooking, the detergent they would use, and all of that toasty zeal. Lisa Lynn’s studio apartment was a swirl of floral perfumes and warmth you could walk through, like a curtain. A fan hummed in the distance. Reaching over the hum, light piano hymns of the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. It was really quite delightful. I felt a lot like I was a kid again, letting someone else’s home fall all over me.
Lisa Lynn’s studio apartment was a swirl of floral perfumes and warmth you could walk through, like a curtain. A fan hummed in the distance. . . . It was really quite delightful. I felt a lot like I was a kid again, letting someone else’s home fall all over me.
The space is bright with white February sunlight. It’s an old, old building renovated in random spots, like the kitchen light fixtures. I love it so much. White crown molding and nearly fifteen-foot ceilings charm anyone who walks in. Its size is warm too, perfectly rectangular with white Christmas lights framing the kitchen.
What I love most about women living alone is how much space they can take up; how much they own the walls and the shelves and the tables. One room can be chock-full of their personality, so much it sparks a sense of individualism and self-assurance. The first thing we spot in Lisa’s apartment is a Pride and Prejudice poster, paired well with the music, showcasing all the locations in the book. She points to one of them, glowing with Jane Austen pride, and tells us she traveled to London last year to see it.
“My main goal when I turned thirty was to go to the Chatsworth House. It’s so weird. There are things you look forward to and then they happen and now it’s just a fond, ‘Yeah, I did that.’ It rained that day. The first thing I bought was an umbrella.” After looking off into the sun for a moment, looking briefly somber, she drifts off, “I’m a very emotional person and the weather really affects me.”
She tells us it’s her personal tradition to watch Pride and Prejudice on Valentine’s Day and I find a quick, fleeting sweetness for her.
Across from her well-made bed is a symmetrical setup of framed flower photos. They look as if they’re pressed flowers but some of them are delicate paintings. She tells us the one on the bottom is her grandma’s and I quickly notice flowers are a popular theme. A bundle of red and yellow roses sit by her door, resting in water. The teacups hanging in the kitchen have flowers. A white ceramic woman’s head is pouring pink floral where her head should be. Flowers frame the glass tray that holds her pink and clear perfume bottles.
“I have a dream of when I die; I want to die in a garden of flowers,” she tells us. But the statement isn’t morbid at all. Maybe that’s because I imagine she wants to live within them, first and foremost.
At one point, the sun hits the old plaster walls in such a way, it zeros in on a random bulletin board hanging near her bed. On it: a torn piece of notebook paper that reads “10 Things I Wish For My Life Right Now,” a hanging crystal, a dangling gold key, and a “Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb” tarot-looking card. I don’t ask about the board. It feels personal. I notice the whole space is delightfully hopeful, starry-eyed, and true. A sense of romance fills the room. I don’t know if it’s coming from all the flowers or the general desire for goodness and the poetic manifestation of life. Either way, it’s fanciful.
A sense of romance fills the room. I don’t know if it’s coming from all the flowers or the general desire for goodness and the poetic manifestation of life. Either way, it’s fanciful.
On her nightstand: a glowing blue essential oil diffuser, a Himalayan salt diffuser lit orange-gold, dried flowers wrapped with twine around a white crystal that I guess to be selenite, the crystal of spiritual guidance. A book is there too—A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which Lisa raves about. In the kitchen, a painting of a woman with her boobs spilling everywhere sits right by her stove. “I got that painting with the boobs out in Manchester. I loved it because, look at her, she is just STARING at you.”
We agree. We love it.
A collection of snow globes takes up an entire shelf right by her door. They’re all colors, shapes, and sizes and from all over the world. She says, “I had to answer this question: How can I convey this place is about me?” It is so endearing to me that, oftentimes, when we have the opportunity to fill up space when we live alone, we find such intention in the act.
She says, “I had to answer this question: How can I convey this place is about me?” It is so endearing to me that, oftentimes, when we have the opportunity to fill up space when we live alone, we find such intention in the act.
Lisa’s home is her own personal museum of memories and experiences and desires and needs and wants. From her painting of a woman sprawled out eating pizza in a swimsuit and drinking wine to the old Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper she showed us with epic pride, she is part of everything. Her heart is in color on the walls, spreading its wings on the 2020 vision board she set up right by her door. Her hope and bravery lives within all the crystals and framed Lord of the Rings quotes about how the smallest people can change the world.
Because small people do change the world. It’s why we inhabit these spaces. It’s why we fill them with our grandness. Because eventually the world will be ours.
Looking for more inspiration from the Studio Apartment Society? Have a look at our first and second posts in the series, featuring Emily Eaton’s beautiful sanctuary of an apartment and Giselle Ugarte’s lavish walk-up. More to come soon!
Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. On the daily, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Off work hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. She lives in St.Paul with her baby brother cats, Rami and Monkey. Follow her on Instagram, read more about her latest book, Borderline, and (most importantly) go hug your mother.
BY Brittany Chaffee - February 27, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.