Since then, the Sanity Fair blog has championed what Freeman calls her “practical, less-materialistic answer to luxury-obsessed home and style blog culture.” Freeman, 32, dishes on style, shopping and DIY. Her goal: to share her belief that it’s not how much you spend on an item, but how well you use it.
Her apartment is her design lab. “I imagined an entire house in 425 square feet,” she says. The place is polished and practical and artfully arranged with vintage finds from her native Alabama as well as the Amvets Georgia Avenue Thrift Shop. She haunts Home Goods stores around the Beltway but swears the Baileys Crossroads location has the best stuff. There are family treasures and repurposed items. One pair of small foo dogs from Target has been spray-painted three times in three different colors. Her clever storage solutions and insightful furniture placement (she can seat 10 people for drinks) make it seem roomier than it actually is.
The apartment demonstrates her belief that money does not buy taste. Curated with affordable pieces from Ikea, eBay and Craigslist, the place is cozy and sophisticated. The kitchen, walk-in closet and bathroom are meticulously ordered. Vitamins are stored in green lacquered boxes
from the Container Store; water hyacinth baskets from World Market atop kitchen cabinets stash serving pieces and linens.
“I’m a maximalist in a minimalist space,” Freeman says. Her scheme was to treat her studio as if it were a one-bedroom. “I love the same school of decorating as Tony Duquette. More is more. I always want more.”
Last April, she entered the Apartment Therapy Small Cool Spaces contest and placed in the Top 10 in her division. Some of the comments: “Sophisticated, bright and cheerful.” “Doesn’t even look small.”
She delights in giving tours. “Welcome to the bedroom, not to be confused with the hallway,” she laughs, opening the front door and pointing to the double bed with a Chinese screen as a headboard. While in many studios you’ll find the bed plopped in the apartment’s center, there was no way her guests were going to be sitting around on a mattress. “Here’s the library where I can have a glass of port,” she says about the Expedit Ikea shelving that holds many of her 1,000 books (English literature and history, design and politics) and serves as the divider from her “bedroom.”
She takes a half-step and continues the tour. “Next is my home office, which is adjacent to my living room,” she says. The white office desk, from Home Decorators Collection, has the faux bamboo details she adores. She dressed it up with Anthropologie coral pulls. The living room houses two major statement pieces: a 71-inch sofa from Creative Classics in Alexandria (a small-space furniture specialist) and a large $175 white credenza from eBay, storage for office supplies and gift wrap. She points to a black faux bamboo table for two: “This is my dining room.”