In Refinery29’s Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial women. Today, 25-year-old Alison Underwood shares the duplex apartment she shares with her boyfriend, Matt Rothenberg.
When Tinder sweethearts Alison Underwood and Matt Rothenberg first moved to the city, the sticker shock was very real. “We’re both from Kentucky, where you know, the rent is definitely below $1,000, and you can live pretty well,” Underwood says. “So when people were saying $3,000 was a great deal, well, that’s more than most adults who I know pay for a mortgage on their house.”
The couple’s first apartment consisted of a lofted bedroom up a rickety ladder — “it really sucked if you had to pee in the middle of the night,” Underwood says — but the Kentuckians lucked out with their latest apartment, though, landing in a two-level, one-bedroom with a backyard and a washer-dryer in unit.
“I remember we were looking, and we just put in everything we wanted — under $3,000, with a washer and a dryer, outdoor space, and two levels because we really enjoy that kind of division of space,” Underwood says. “One listing came up — and it was this one.” Take a tour of their sweet digs above.
You must have had a lot of competition to get this space.
“We saw it online, and saw that there was an open house happening in an hour, so we got on the subway and came up here. We walked in, and we immediately asked if we could have the papers to sign for it. I remember the owners wanted to meet us briefly, because we’d be the only people living here. So we came up one night and met them and got along, and then we got the apartment.”
So moving from your old apartment to here must have been an adjustment.
“We still have a small couch from our 600-square food apartment, and we just kept that because it was possible to have two couches here. We bought a second one from Ikea because the small one just looked really silly down there. It wasn’t quite big enough.”
How would you describe your home style?
“I’m trying to go for a mix of modern with contemporary modern in the sense of mid-century modern. It’s that combined with also not trying to spend a lot of money. So some of the objects sitting around are things that maybe I pick up from the street and refurbished. Or from Matt’s grandmother’s apartment. Or art that I’ve done to kind of try to fill in some of these walls. I’m a classically trained painter, so I did a painting that I put over the couch, which feels a little vain but also, there was no way that I could afford something that size.”
“You would be surprised at what works together. You know, I don’t think it’s necessary to have a totally consistent theme or style. There seems like there’s a movement to collaborate, combine different elements from different periods. A long time ago, if someone was gonna have like a rococo interior, everything would have to be rococo, or it wouldn’t all go together. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore.”
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