amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: jen + omar of these are things

by Amy Azzarito

from this little apartment in colombus, ohio, jen and omar are mapping the world –  when the couple couldn’t find the perfect colorful minimalist world map, they decided to design their own, which kicked off a map designing storm because it turns out that other people were looking for the same thing! i’m super excited for this peek because jen and omar have only recently moved in together (congratulations, guys!), and have been merging styles and stuff. the image above is an example of how their styles have melded –  jen got the crate & barrel vases as a gift. and omar found the patriotic portraits at a yard sale in the farmlands of rural ohio! {thanks jen + omar and william smith!}amy a.

[Two months ago, we lived in separate apartments a block away from each other. At the end of June, Jen’s landlord decided to reclaim her apartment, so we took over Omar’s place. Over the next few weekends, we merged our two apartments and our business into a 650 square foot space. While packing up papers from college, Jen found a quote by William Morris that guided our entire moving and decluttering process: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. After that, we sold tons of furniture on Craigslist, donated multiple carloads of art supplies to a local studio, and asked ourselves lots of tough questions about the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. So, I guess that’s our style! We like for everything to have a place and a purpose. We find that we’re much happier and more efficient when things are in order.]

[image above: We love this apartment because it’s filled with light and lots of original details. Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to paint the walls. The light gray is really nice, but we couldn’t resist adding a little bit of color to this weird archway. Don’t tell our landlord!]

[image above: Since our entire business exists in our apartment, it’s easy for every space to get taken over by work. We wanted the bedroom to be a place where we could simply relax. We didn’t want the room to feel too girly or too much like a bachelor pad, so we used a neutral color scheme and accented it with artwork by each of us. One of our favorite details are the hooks we found at Columbus Architectural Salvage, now used to display pieces of our overflowing clothing collection. Bed frame, nightstand, (majorly sun-faded) stool and mirror are all from IKEA, rug from West Elm, curtains from Bed Bath & Beyond.]

[image above: Remember how we aren’t allowed to paint? Apparently that didn’t apply to the previous tenant. We never would have picked this color, but we kind of love it. Also, almost everything in this bathroom is crooked. It’s tiny and strangely lacking an electrical outlet, but it sure is cute. Shower curtain is from Urban Outfitters, letter stickers are from Hobby Lobby.]

[image above: Omar doesn’t understand decorative pillows, but didn’t think it was a battle worth fighting. (He also cannot deny that they look perfect!) Panel calendar designed by Jen.]

CLICK HERE for the rest of the sneak peek after the jump!

[image above: We spend a lot of time designing prints in our home studio, so we wanted to make sure that we’re surrounded by beautiful things. Jen’s workspace features a Calder-inspired mobile, screenprint by Panayiotis Terzis (www.pengoat.com), photo by her mom, world map by us, and some classy Polaroid family portraits.]

[image above: All of our inventory has to be stored somewhere. Metal flat files are heavy and expensive, so we built our own modular version out of poplar and MDF. Here are four of our world maps, living happily in their temporary home!]

[image above: Our design library is housed in retail display shelves that Omar rescued from an old summer job – selling baby clothes at the mall. (True story!) Framed print by Friends With You (http://www.friendswithyou.com/), Love Mankind wall decal by Omar (see Star Trek, season 1, episode 4).]

[We’d like to pretend that we’re above watching trashy TV and playing XBOX, but we end up spending a good amount of time on that couch. Our living room also doubles as These Are Things Shipping Headquarters. We would like to publicly thank The Container Store for bringing Elfa drawers into our lives. They make order packing so much easier!]

[image above: Jen designed this panel calendar that hangs above our bed. We look at it often and wonder where the time has gone!]

[image above: Here’s where we design maps, read blogs, and play Starcraft II. We bought matching Pratt Desks from West Elm and flawless knockoff Eames Management chairs. (Maybe one day we’ll be able to afford the real thing!) We personalized each space with our own artwork and collections.]

[image above: Our music stuff lives in the bedroom and doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. Will Smith (http://www.thisisallido.com/will) is trying his best to keep us from being productive. Ohio landscapes by Omar.]

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  • Great Space! I can’t believe you run a business out of there!

    Please keep designing great prints :)

  • It’s so beautiful – room to breath, but still so many interesting things to look at. I love that. And that shrimpy pink bathroom is adorable. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow! I adore the paint in between the rooms. I have been wondering how to deal with those kinds of things in our house, and I never thought of this!

  • Ok, your space is adorable and all… but can we talk about Will?! His website is the bizness! In the piano pic, he looks like he needs coffee. Hehehe!

  • I love the side by side, his and hers work space. I want to do something like that for my husband and I but we’re just too much of a clutter bug.

  • Alright so while it is amazing at your ability to fit so much of your life into one small apartment, and do it so well…. I ‘m simply captivated by william smiths website. It’s just so fantastic!

  • I also live in Columbus and I love your place!

    Will Smith’s Website just blew my mind. You made my day, for real.

  • thank goodness you posted this. I saw their maps around the blogs a while ago but could never for the life of me remember who made them! And what a lovely space!

  • Is Will Smith dead or alive – he looks stuffed.

    I have one that’s alive and 16 that looks a bit like that tho’.

    *waves from London UK*

  • As a very proud native of Columbus, this makes me miss home! It’s wonderful and such a great use of the space.

    I just have to pretty please request that you correct the spelling of my wonderful hometown in the very first sentence. It’s ColUmbus, not ColOmbus.

  • Jen and Omar, you ROCK! From the rescued baby store shelves (hilarious) to the matchy-matchy office space that you share…and that cat, your maps, “LOVE MANKIND”, your living room…I am going to need another paragraph just to recount all that’s fabulous. One of my favorite sneak peeks EVAH!

  • Cute place. Will’s website cracked me up. But he does look like he woke up on the wrong side of the sofa in that photo! – Hilarious.

  • Those photos at the end are stunning! I bet they were all shot on the same day, as the sky is flawlessly matched! It is super inspiring! Your home is beeee-yoooo-ti-ful, guys!

  • Love your place, and I love your maps. I’ve been drooling over them since I first saw them months ago! By the way, where did you find the knock-off management chairs? I would love to know the source for those!

  • To Amy, Design*Sponge, and all the commenters: Thanks soooooo much for the awesome write-up and all the kind words! We put a lot of ourselves into this little space and it makes us beyond happy to see it getting all this love! Will says thanks as well ;)

  • It’s so stunning and airy, despite –or maybe because of– the walls being white. So many accoutrements, in such great colors! Love it.

  • it is so nice to see a space that is so like everyone else’s, i.e. an apt that you can’t paint is small and has quirky pink walls in the bathroom. you guys did a great job of making it feel large and personalized without huge renovations or a huge budget! thanks for the inspiration.

  • love the space, the brightness and the easy harmony between your design sensibilities! my boyfriend and I are also first time co-habitors, we’re not too far away in Cincinnati. you’ve made the whole thing look very effortless and I am inspired. glad to see creative spirit alive and well in the heartland :)

  • I love the lightness of the apt and the work space is amazing, too! Where is all the crap that “normal” people have on their desks? I’m envious of your organization!

  • JD: The kitchen is a sore spot with us, there’s just no way we’ve found to make it look good :(

    Laura: Our favorite thing about the Pratt desks is the giant drawer that’s built in underneath! It’s practically saved our lives!

  • Such a lovely apartment – I’m especially keen on the coloured edging of the doorway, and those sweet little strings of cards above the bed – such a great way to show those paper items you have too many of unless you rotate frames…

  • I just clicked the link to your cat’s website. Now I have to share it with the rest of the office… this is definitely going to brighten our day :-) HILARIOUS.
    And btw – where did you find that awesome cat toy ?

  • Fantastic use of colour, I love these “splashes” of bright colours on the plain background. Very refreshing!

  • My favorite thing is the baby store shelves. No, wait- my favorite thing BY FAR is Will’s website. I cannot thank you enough for starting my day like that! You guys rocked this little apartment. BTW-Jen & Omar, if you are ever in Dayton, please stop by our studio and say “hello”. Vintage Scout in Centerville.

  • Jen! I saw these world maps featured earlier on Design Sponge and well, they are awesome and I am so so happy for you. Your place looks rad and it seems you’ve found a perfect partner in so many ways.


  • Lovin’ that melon color archway. Also in the first photo, the beauty in the contrast between those bright, modern vases with the vintage photos is amazing. Love your space–great way to meld your styles!

  • I love your create organization of a small space. It looks like so much fun to live there! How did you hang the bikes? I’m looking to do something similar. Thanks!

  • I love colorful interior designs and this house fit my style perfectly. The wall writing “Love mankind” is just awesome. Very inspirational post.

  • i love your cat’s website. our cat is named david bowie. he’s an enormous orange tabby, and i always think that if he were a real person, he’s be a stout irishman.

    that bathroom, by the way, is amazing. the sunlight in there is incredible.

  • Nice Design love coming to my home city – C’bus, OH. Thanks. Jen & Omar – what neighborhood? Love the flat storage – now I’m inspired to create my own. The maps are exquisite, too!

  • Love your photos. Just beautiful. Can you tell me what paint color/brand is the melon colored archway? Fantastic idea!

  • i love that you painted the archway!! we have one similar in our apartment and i think painting it would be fabulous. i’m jealous!

  • Jen and Omar – I absolutely love your space. I also live in a rented space with two bikes and I would like to hear about the hardware you used to hang yours in the photo of your living room. It looks like it is a great space saver. Thanks!

  • Hello again!
    We got the bike hooks from Amazon (Delta Leonardo Single Bicycle Rack) and the archway color is Fireglow by Behr. Thanks again for all these super nice comments!

  • Hi Jen & Omar,
    Do you perchance have instructions on how to assemble your flat file substitute? I’m dying for something like you made but need directions for designing 3D things.
    Thanks! Your place is great!

  • Hey! Do you mind sharing the colors you used in your arch way and living area? I love the orange and gray, but am having trouble matching them. Thanks!

  • (funny travel story to win prints):
    My best friend Eileen and I were in Nice for a Junior Year Abroad program. A fellow student offered to let us stay at her parents’ naturist resort on Corsica over spring break. Not wanting to “dive right in”, we took a long walk along the beach until we were alone. We took off our bathing suits and took a long swim in the Mediterranean. When we turned around to walk back to our towels, we saw a long row of long-robed Corsican men sitting on the beach staring at us. We had walked so far to have some privacy that we had walked outside of the resort’s boundaries. We ran back to camp and quickly got over our inhibitions :)!