AJ Dronkers has lived in DC for 11 years, but this is the first time he’s lived alone. The associate publisher of EdibleDC moved into his 500-square-foot Scott Circle apartment last summer, and he’s been busy making it his own ever since.
He loves to host dinner parties, so maximizing space in the tiny apartment was key. “[This is] the smallest place I’ve ever lived,” says Dronkers. “I had to rethink all my furniture and design choices.”
It was time to get creative: The table has leaves for flexibility, the sofa can expand to fit extra guests, and floating shelves turn dead space into storage. And the small layout doesn’t mean it’s lacking in ambiance—the windows and string lights keep everything feeling airy and open.
But his favorite part about his new neighborhood? Its location makes it a prime spot for commuting on foot. Since moving in, Dronkers says he walks on average more than six miles a day.
Who lives there: AJ Dronkers, associate publisher of EdibleDC.
Approximate square-feet: 500 square feet.
Number of beds: One.
Number of bathrooms: One.
Favorite piece of furniture: The mid-century double-drop-leaf table. When not in use, it’s a console under the TV. When it’s just Dronkers, he can pull out one leaf for a desk, and for large dinner parties, he pushes it into the center of the room and opens both leaves.
Favorite home interior stores: Second Chance, Community Forklift, Framebridge, Quiet Town, Miss Pixie’s, She Loves Me, West Elm, CB2, and Salt & Sundry.
Favorite DIY: The glass dividers leading to the bedroom came with shades Dronkers never used, so he spent $20 on Amazon and at Home Depot and made his own macrame hangings. He also enlisted his brother to help him remove the living room’s main light fixture, replacing it with string lights; his brother also built the floating shelves above Dronkers’s bar area.
Splurge: Dronkers is 6’1″, so finding a sofa that fit within the apartment but also fit him was important. “Even though I have a small space, ordering a custom 96″ reversible sectional couch was key,” he says. “When I host dinner parties, I remove the ottoman and it becomes seating for one side of the table.”
Steal: The mid-century hutch, which he snagged at Community Forklift for $185. He fixed a broken leg with wood glue and some nails, and smoothed out scuffs with touch-up pens. “This piece gives me some excellent storage and the ability to display some fun pieces and, of course, cookbooks.”
Design advice: Mixing old and new: “Not only are you being more sustainable in your design, but you help to give [your home] that perfect lived-in feel.” Get second opinions: “I’m always chatting with my friends and bouncing ideas off them.” Keep a wish list: “I always have a list of what I’m looking for each month. That way when I’m shopping, I stay focused.”
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