sneak peek: anne ulku


As someone who has recently started working from home on a more full-time basis, I’m always interested to see the creative ways people use their space to mix their work and personal life. Anne Ulku is a freelance graphic designer based in Minneapolis who primarily works in print, balancing a mix of client work with local, personal and collaborative projects. I’m a big fan of her Six Word Story Every Day project with writer Van Horgen, which now includes the work of hundreds of creatives with the same challenge of developing a compelling story using only six words. Working from her 571 square foot studio apartment forces Anne to keep the space tidy, bright and inspiring. Color plays an important role in the creation of her space and reflects her own personal style. Check out more of Anne’s work and her studio on Studio Sweet Studio. Thanks, Anne, and thanks to Carla Zetina-Yglesias and Clark Patrick for the photographs! — Anne

Image above: I have stacks of paint chips that I like to pin up on these magnetic boards to help visualize a project color palette. The pillow on the chair is from IKEA years ago, and the little owl in the bottom corner is a pillow that my mother made.

Image above: Having a space that functions not only for living but for working as well, there are many multi-purpose areas. My bed functions also as a couch, and my yellow IKEA tables function as coffee tables, as well as a place to sit on the floor and have a meal. The two framed pieces on the wall are from Mike Perry’s solo exhibition at MCAD, Lost in the Discovery. I painted that bottle hot pink, and it has become one of my favorite pieces.

The rest of Anne’s home/studio continues after the jump . . .

Image above: I bike quite a bit (as long as it’s not freezing and snowy here in Minneapolis) and needed an easy way to store my bike without it being in the way. The Leonardo Wall Hook from Public Bikes is extremely handy to hold up my Republic bike. I painted an old bookshelf and covered the entire backside with chalkboard paint, making it easy to sketch, take notes or write reminders for projects and deadlines.

Image above: I covered some cork board with wrapping paper, nailed to the wall once in the middle, and it works well to slide and hold up posters and cards. Shown here are some prints I made. The six-word story was printed with wood type at my neighborhood shop, Lunalux. The flowers on the ledge were made from tissue and left over from a fiesta my friend and I organized. The large pillow on the bed is a pattern of wildlife origami — the fabric is Charlotta Vild by Asa Ekstrom for IKEA.

Image above: Stacks of old design magazines make a great side table and help to raise my lamp to brighten the whole room. The cloth covering the table is a Hedda IKEA curtain I’ve had lying around. The “Hello” card is a hand-painted sign by Andrew Zangerle that I picked up at Chicago’s Renegade Craft Fair last year.

Image above: I had some old outdoor chairs left over that were a bit weathered. I cleaned and painted one black and one white and placed them against the entryway wall, in the space between the storage closets. Also serves as a way to display some of my favorite colorful scarves and bags. Bag shown here is from Anthropologie and a bright floral silk scarf from Target.

Image above: With more of my old design magazines, I’ve created some levels on my kitchen center island, where I (occasionally) love to bake and cook. The vase on the upper shelf was my grandmother’s and is perfect for making party punch. The small cutting board is an olivewood cheese board from Crate & Barrel with a CB2 Ernie cheese cutter.

Image above: I love keeping bundles of fresh herbs from the farmers’ market in the kitchen. The small bowls are Circa Ceramics from Chicago. The wall has a chalkboard sticker, which is perfect for recipes or grocery lists. Also painted with chalkboard paint are the coffee tins, which makes it easy to label and date coffee that has been freshly ground.

Image above: I love having this door in my apartment leading to a “Romeo balcony” — it’s perfect for letting in warm sun or cool breezes during the day. The sketch sitting out was part of a typeface experiment of making one letter each day for a month. The collection was called “Stitch,” being that it was reminiscent of embroidery and electronic sewing stitches.

Image above: I enjoy having the extra tabletop for leaving out projects done by hand to be able to work on them anytime. This drawing table rarely looks the same on any day and is usually filled with sketches, painted lettering and alphabets, cut and folded paper, painted textures, etc.

Image above: Even though I have a fairly large and spacious desk, I needed a separate area for sketching, painting, cutting, etc., along with a place to store and keep all my supplies and experiments. The two blue prints are from Six Word Story Every Day, and the orange and yellow geometric print, titled Momentum, is one of my prints from Artcrank.

  1. Kaitlin G says:

    I love all the bright colors! Also LOVE the floor plan she included :)

  2. Love it! Thanks for including the pictures of her sketches. So cool.

  3. LeeLee says:

    Great lighting. Love the wall decor.

  4. Dina says:

    I love it! Such a lovely place to work in.

  5. I want to run home now and make my place as happy as Anne’s. Love those pillows.

  6. Fun use of colors on those pillows. In fact, straight up fun use of color in all these pictures with the white. Very lovely.

  7. What a lovely and brilliantly decorated little studio – it looks quite compact from the floorplan but somehow her design makes it seem so much larger than it is. Well done Anne :)

  8. I like the last one…I like to roll out of bed, make a bunch of coffee…that would be me. I’d knitting and sewing all day if I could.

  9. I love seeing the floorplans too! Helps to envision how people make the best of the space!

  10. hena tayeb says:

    Love all the great prints and patterns.

  11. Tania says:

    I now officially have a girl crush on Anne. I love all the white and bright colors, whimsical touches everywhere. As someone who loves small space living and also the proud inhabitant of an open design studio inspired home, I really enjoy seeing other layouts and how they “multiuse”. Her layout is great, cozy with a ton of light. I’m stealing her chalkboard paint ideas. I’m very non committal when it comes to painting walls, I always think about it but can never take that next step. A bookshelf and coffee tins I can handle…baby steps.

  12. Love the variety of prints in happy colors – textiles and on the wall.

  13. StarR says:

    Enjoy the space! and thank you for the site as I have a small space and keep
    my bike in the close it would be nice to have that space for something else and put my bike in the nook that is in my space. Like your “style” and as a bike rider, the best way to get around!

  14. eva says:

    what a happy place! but the plan you drew was the cherry on top!

  15. Anne Ulku says:

    Thank you so much for featuring my space, and for all the sweet comments!

  16. Min says:

    I really love the positivity in your space! Was grinning from ear to ear when I saw the chalkboard. :D

  17. Lana says:

    Could anyone tell me where the wall clock near the bicycle from?

  18. Anne Ulku says:

    The wall clock is from Crate & Barrel

  19. Jessica says:

    Very creative use of space. I love the chalkboard ideas. My apartment is very long and narrow, making it difficult for big furniture and things. I also love the t shirt and small signs hanging above your bed. awesome idea. what are those hung with?


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