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Interiorssneak peeks

The Snug New Jersey Home of an Imaginative Duo

by Garrett Fleming

When you call 475 square feet “home,” it’s almost guaranteed that you will be making compromises of some kind. Ruben Hughes and Sarah Nguyen, however, weren’t phased when they first stepped foot inside their one-bedroom home in West New York, NJ. Sure, the limited counter space and storage are a bit of a thorn in their sides, but the proximity to the city, a killer view, abundant morning light and heated bathroom floors made up for that. “We wanted to find a place that would allow us to escape the craziness of the city,” Ruben says. It looks like the two got just that.

When he isn’t holding down the fort as a Global Community Manager for Gap, Inc., Ruben can be found traveling the world and working as a freelance photographer. Without a doubt, his jaunts have influenced his style, and he often brings back inspiration to incorporate into their ever-evolving home. Ruben’s not the only creative mind in the house — his girlfriend Sarah treks to NYC daily to attend design school. Needless to say, these two both have great eyes and it shows in their apartment’s furnishings. When it was time to decorate the space, they relied heavily on their favorite shops Blu Dot, Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. and Herman Miller. The couple hoped for a “modern space that mixed the highs and lows,” and I think they have most certainly achieved that. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Ruben Hughes and Veronica Olson

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Ruben and Sarah describe their home as "a simple space" with "subtle pops of color and modern details." This IKEA sofa and floor lamp serve as a great backdrop to bring that vision to life.
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"We pondered that marble side table [from Blu Dot] for a while before getting it. In the end, it was totally worth the investment and added to the overall appeal of our space." I have always loved the combination of marble and buffalo plaid. It's such an interesting mixture of rustic and streamlined styles. The blanket is from Faribault Woolen Mill Co., the pillows are from Blu Dot and the map print is from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
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Ruben is a Global Community Manager for Gap, Inc. as well as a freelance photographer. His girlfriend Sarah is a design student.
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"On a recent trip to Minneapolis, we found this vintage Bertoia chair at a shop." A print by Isaac Zoller, Blu Dot pillows and a Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. basket and clock reside in this corner of the living room.
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"Our living room is quite narrow, which doesn't give us the opportunity to have a traditional coffee table. We decided to get rid of our media stand and replace it with a Herman Miller 'Nelson' bench [that could act as] a coffee table." Sarah got this vintage fan as a gift.
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Ruben's at-home workspace is "a combination of personality and style." Functionality is of the upmost importance to the couple, so the extra level of desktop space was crucial in order to maintain some order when work gets a bit hectic. The desk is from Blu Dot, and the picture wall features work by Richard Haines, Minted, Wayne Pate, Marc Johns and Ruben himself.
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Ruben has had this trophy for years. It "is a childhood memento from a summer at basketball camp."
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An Eames chair and table from Herman Miller, IKEA floor lamp and Constructed Matter, Inc. print create a second seating area in the living room.
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Ruben is a big traveler. Whether it's for work or play, he often finds inspiration on these trips for his and Sarah's home. The bed frame is from IKEA, the bedding is by Muji, the rug is from West Elm and the blanket is by Save Khaki.
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An accent wall in Behr "Evening Hush" sets a dark, soothing mood. "Our bedroom has a consistent palette of grey, navy and white. We take refuge even before the evening hours and wake up to a room full of light by morning." The two love the room's "lived-in appeal." The swing lamp is from onefortythree.
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"These silkscreen art prints by Ben Kafton are a constant reminder of how I can be home today and [in] the mountains tomorrow." A Tivoli radio, Ace Hotel tissue-box cover, onefortythree magazine rack and IKEA mirror decorate the space.
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The red sign's "color and vintage feel," and "nod to mid-century fill stations," was what caught Ruben's eye. Most mornings, the couple listens to records while getting ready to take on the day. Their favorites? It ranges from Whitney Houston to M83's "Oblivion." The Blu Dot shelf, blue Eames chair and red Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. sign are a nice nod to vintage Americana.
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An Eames House Bird by Vitra keeps the couple company.
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Behr "Millstream" walls complement white subway tiles to help the cozy bathroom appear larger. By choosing towels in a color that coordinates with the room's overall scheme helps give the open storage a cohesive look.
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"We stock a regular squad of soap and mouthwash for everyday use." I love the idea of being greeted every morning with a reminder to do something good.
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Since the kitchen is on the smaller side, Ruben and Sarah keep accessories to a minimum.
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Ruben and Sarah sharing a cup o' joe in their Heath Ceramics mugs.
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Since the kitchen's storage is open, Sarah and Ruben try and maintain its organization as much as they can.
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"Our favorite side of the kitchen is situated next to the entry door. Whether we are grabbing a fresh mug for morning coffee or our boots just before we head out, it's a super functional space." The chair is by Design Within Reach, the shelf is from IKEA and the wall mounts and rug are from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
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The couple always drops their keys on this Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. telephone table.
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The apartment's layout.

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