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.
Today, we’re welcoming you inside Sophia Stewart’s home. A cozy studio that overlooks a strip of mansions and redone carriage houses, the contrast of their grandness and the studio’s simplicity is a touch that makes one feel small and okay. All tucked inside the straight, long, and narrow streets of the bustling city.
A breezy sketch of Sophia, on the wall, hangs right when you walk in. It’s the first thing I see. She’s stylish and sharp, a clear ode to fashion gracing her walls. Music tumbles out of Sophia’s laptop and she has to turn it down when we walk in. A neon pink sign, lit up to read “bye” hovers over a mini peach couch. Dozens of coffee mugs and various items are scattered on the kitchen counter, showcasing a nonchalant morning. On the wall, a black-framed SZA concert schedule hangs like a shrine or a blessing. A medium-sized bronze My Little Pony is proudly perched on a nightstand near her bed, the way toy horses are, with arched necks and dancey front hooves. “I’m obsessed with My Little Pony if you notice a theme,” Sophia tells us walking over to pick it up. “I like to keep books and small momentums from when I was little. Like little trolls and stuff. I’m a kid at heart.”
It’s such a pleasure to see the cartoon-ish eyes of a tender, sassy My Little Pony. I’m instantly tickled.
Her dark tabby cat, sporting a white bib and white paws, dances around our ankles like he has a string on his back connected to the ceiling. He rubs everything in the purest morning pleasure. “He’s a rescue. That’s the name they gave him—Crease. It’s unique, just like the crease in your pants. I worked at Ruff Start Rescue and lasted three weeks until I adopted him. He had me hooked.” She coos at him to come near her on the couch and he prances toward her.
Sophia is very much on the run professionally, making moves and coffee very quickly every single morning. . . . She’s dashing and busy, apologetic about a mess and adorned of her past.
It feels a lot like we’re sitting in a giant treehouse, perched up above a strip of homes, amidst the city’s inside sounds. “City girl for life!” Sophia tells us as she bops around her apartment to show us things. First she grabs a very particular mug that reads: Insert EyeRoll Here. “This is my ‘per my last email’ mug. I also have one that says ‘I can’t even.’”
We love mugs here in the Studio Apartment Society, because they so nonchalantly define us. Sophia is very much on the run professionally, making moves and coffee very quickly every single morning. She has things to do and no time to waste. She’s a go-getter at heart with a sweet twist, like eating an ice cream cone wearing a pencil skirt ten minutes before an important pitch. She’s dashing and busy, apologetic about a mess and adorned of her past. We notice that right away. The sassy mugs contrast with the treasures from her childhood (e.g., a lit-up laptop on her coffee table near a soft pink clay pot she made in grade school). I’m very charmed by the fun-loving drive she has.
Her favorite item in the home is an old photo of Marilyn Monroe, a gift from her grandpa. Monroe is in her classic pose, pushing her dress down over a hot New York City grate. The photo sits above her couch, framed by simple, brown wood. “He passed away when I was ten. We spent a lot of time together and my grandma gave me this photo. I love Marilyn Monroe and I look up to her. I don’t know how old it is. He had it in his office.” We all sit quietly for a moment and admire it, Sophia’s hand softly touching the corner.
These small, quaint apartments are always a celebration of space. And Sophia’s happens to be a celebration of the vibrant future and telling past. Good music fills the four walls along with sensory odes to good fashion, childhood, and repose.
On her nightstand: a journal, a plant, and a Claire‘s hippie bear from the nineties. “The last thing I do before going to bed is write in my journal. I can sleep a lot better if I reflect on the day and get my thoughts on paper.” On her makeshift coffee table (a beautiful crocheted bean bag): a candle, plant, and another My Little Pony. Behind her sink, in her kitchen, the wall is covered in chalk paint. In pinks and yellows, friends write “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIA” and “HI!” on the wall. They’re blissful notes from the past, it’s clear. With the pandemic, they now live as ghostly messages from friends—but good reminders we still have them. “The end of an era,” Sophia notes while moving the mouse on her computer to keep it alive.
These small, quaint apartments are always a celebration of space. And Sophia’s happens to be a celebration of the vibrant future and telling past. Good music fills the four walls along with sensory odes to good fashion, childhood, and repose. Her space is a tried and true combination of her favorites—like a good playlist or favorite brunch menu.
Looking for more inspiration from the Studio Apartment Society? Have a look at the last post in the series, featuring Ra’eesa Motala’s enlightening space. 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 - September 17, 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.