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World of Design: 10 Ways to Live in Harmony With Housemates

http://www.decor-ideas.org 10/06/2015 03:13 Decor Ideas 

One in a series from Houzz international editors on how our lives shape home design around the world

How do people from different families and backgrounds manage to live together? We asked people who share an apartment or house in 10 places around the globe to tell us their secrets for happy living. How have they personalized their homes, how do they benefit from sharing and — crucially — what are their tips for living in harmony? Here are stories of how friends old and new have created cozy homes together.

Transitional Living Room by Alfredo Arias photo
1. Longtime Friends in a City-Center Apartment in Spain

Who lives here: Maria Garatachea and Marisa “Cuqui” Martinez, both 36
Location: Madrid, Spain
Property: A 936-square-foot (87-square-meter), two-bedroom apartment
Occupations: Garatachea is an investment project manager; Martinez is a senior creative at an advertising agency.

Transitional Kitchen by Alfredo Arias photo
Why they started renting: “I lead a very active life and always wanted to live in a beautiful house in the center of Madrid,” Garatachea, right, says. “My friend Cuqui was also looking for an apartment at the time. We decided to rent it together so we could share the expenses.”

“I think living alone is very sad,” Martinez says. “I’ve always lived with friends and have great memories of all of them. I’ve been very lucky. I like to know that whatever might happen, you can rely on someone right next door!”

How they found each other: “I’ve been friends with Cuqui since I was 18, and it’s a lucky coincidence the two of us needed an apartment at the same time,” Garatachea says.

“Living together is about more than just being friends,” Martinez adds. “There’s a big risk of ruining the relationship. But that’s not been the case for us — we take care of each other, and I think we have never been as close as we are now.”

Personalizing the space: “I’m very practical and am not obsessed with decoration,” Garatachea says. “I’m happy with my books and my gadgets. That’s all. Anyway, I think our house is beautifully decorated, but I have to confess that Cuqui has done everything.”

“Maria is a tech geek,” Martinez says. “She also keeps an eye on the expenses and invoices and fixes broken things. When it comes to decoration, she is the practical one, whereas I’m more picky. I always end up having everything as I like it.”

Transitional Bedroom by Alfredo Arias photo
What they like to do together at home: “We both like singing in the bathroom, and I can promise we can sing quite loudly,” Martinez says, laughing. “We enjoy watching films together at home and enjoying our never-ending weekend breakfasts. We both have a very similar sense of humor, and we laugh a lot about the same weird things.

“We dance in the living room when we’re happy,” she adds.

Lessons learned about home-sharing: “Respect. We are different, and talking is really important when you share the same space. Affection is very important as well,” Martinez says.

“I guess it’s like living with a boyfriend. But if we have an argument, we don’t have to go to bed together!” she says. “Instead, each of us goes to her own room.”

Tips for living in harmony: ”The most important thing is [your flatmate] tells you when they’ve eaten your last yogurt!” Garatachea says. “Treat your flatmates as you want to be treated. Sounds like a cliché, but this is how it is.”

“Love your flatmate and try to be happy as long as you live together,” Martinez says. “The more you give, the more you receive. By the way, if you have enough money, hire a cleaner.”

See more of this flat

by Chris Snook
2. School Friends in a Victorian House in the U.K.

Who lives here
: Courtenay Moon, from left, Lettice Grumbar, Pavinia Cotton and Grace McCloud, all 24
Location: Brixton district of London, England
Property: A 1,130-square-foot (105-square-meter) multilevel house with four bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms
Occupations: Moon is a master’s student; Grumbar is a set decorator; Cotton is a product coordinator at a tech company; McCloud is a copy editor

Why they started renting: “I moved to London after university for a job and needed somewhere to live,” Grumbar says.

How they found each other: “My flatmates and I have been friends since school, and we all moved to London at a similar time, so it made a lot of sense to move in together,” Grumbar says.

Personalizing the space: All of the housemates have added to the eclectic collection of furniture, rugs, curtains, art and accessories. “Every couple of weeks, someone will bring home a new addition to the house, which we will attempt to fit in somewhere,” Grumbar says.

by Chris Snook

by Chris Snook
What they like to do together at home: “We love to cook and entertain, play games and garden,” Grumbar says.

Lessons learned about home-sharing: “The key,” Grumbar says, “is to understand the mood of the others and to know when they need to be cheered up and when they need some space.”

Tips for living in harmony: “Always play your part with household tasks, whether it be clearing the shower drain, taking the rubbish out or buying [dishwashing] liquid,” Grumbar says.

“Making packed lunches for work together saves time and money, and it means you only need to prepare lunch once or twice a week.

“Also, decorate from the first day of moving in,” Grumbar adds, “otherwise you’ll always feel as though the home is a temporary place and not your own.”

by Нина Фролова
3. Hipsters in a Renovated Rental in Russia

Who lives here:
Zhenya Belinksaya, 26, from left; Nikolai Docenko, 24; Sergey Patsyuk, 27; and Nastya Pesets, 31
Location: Zemlyanoy Val area of Moscow, Russia
Property: A 1,292-square-foot (120-square-meter), five-bedroom apartment
Occupations: Belinksaya is a producer; Docenko is a barbershop manager; Patsyuk is a designer at Afisha-Eda magazine; Pesets is a fashion designer and florist.

Why they started renting: For many, sharing a flat is the only affordable way to live in the center of Moscow.

How they found each other: Belinksaya found the apartment on a property website and asked her friend Patsyuk if he’d like to share it with her. Later, Pesets and Docenko, who were Belinksaya’s acquaintances, moved in.

by Нина Фролова
Personalizing the space: The apartment was initially rented for just six months, but the flatmates nevertheless began renovation work right away. The place was in terrible, almost dangerous condition, but with its high ceilings, spacious rooms and incredible columns with carved caps, it had lots of potential. The flatmates painted the walls, cleaned the floors and installed new linoleum in the kitchen. The spacious hall took such a long time to clean that they got used to the textured walls and decided to leave them as they were.

The furniture and decor came from friends’ houses, the curb or Ikea. The flatmates moved the mirrors from old cabinets into the women’s rooms and made a kitchen countertop out of the fronts. They also got rid of the bulky chandeliers.

by Нина Фролова
This is Pesets’ room. She both lives and works here, with customers arriving to try on the clothing she makes. To the right and left of the columns are spacious shelves. The red Arctic fox graphic on the wall above the bed is her brand logo.

What they like to do together at home: “To be honest, we are almost never home at the same time — everyone has their schedules and their own lives,” Belinksaya says. “We like eating Nastya’s shchi [Russian cabbage soup] together, and we go to Kolya’s [Nicolai’s] room to watch movies, even though his is the smallest.” They also take part in photo shoots of Pesets’ fashion collections.

Lessons learned about home-sharing: “No situation should become a conflict,” Belinksaya says. “We have a chat, all four of us — that’s how we resolve household problems.”

Tip for living in harmony: Respect one another’s space.

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Eclectic by Caela McKeever
4. Best Friends in a Party House in the U.S.

Who lives here:
Sean Martin, 36, left, and Gabriel Ayerza, 40, plus Martin’s pet hedgehog, June
Location: Roosevelt neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, United States
Property: A 1,206-square-foot (112-square-meter) house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms
Occupations: Martin works in healthcare; Ayerza works as a director in not-for-profit healthcare.

Why they started renting: “When renting alone, I can only afford a small bedroom with no extra amenities,” Ayerza says. “With a shared house, we have a den, living room, gym, large backyard, plus other amenities.”

How they found each other: The two met in 2007 through work and became good friends. “We had a lot of common interests, a similar sense of humor and complementary personalities,” Martin says. “So when I was considering a roommate, Gabriel was the obvious first choice.”

by Caela McKeever
Personalizing the space: Martin is a Lego enthusiast who has a meticulously kept inventory in the basement. He’s currently building a replica of the fishing boat he grew up on as a boy, as well as several projects for world Lego competitions.

“I am a man of many hobbies, but my No. 1 hobby is Lego, so when I was looking for a house, space for a ‘Lego room’ was one of the key considerations,” he says. “I have converted a large portion of the basement into a Lego room, but there’s a lot less space than in my previous house, so I’ve really had to rethink my organization and storage solutions. Space is just one of those things you have to sacrifice when moving closer to the city.”

The artwork in the living area pictured below is a collection of family photos, gifts and collectibles. The red barn once stood behind Ayerza’s father’s home in Central California, and the dog portraits were a quirky housewarming gift from a friend.

What they like to do together at home: They both love to host large parties with craft cocktails and good food. They also like impromptu guitar and piano jam sessions, and stress-relieving workouts in the converted-garage gym. “We aren’t home together often,” Martin says, “but when we are, we like to make the best of it.”

“The house is most alive when it’s full of people,” Ayerza adds. But at the end of the day, they often just enjoy unwinding together with a drink.

by Caela McKeever
Lessons learned about home-sharing: “Having a roommate with a good sense of humor helps,” Martin says.

“That way, when the plumbing goes sideways, the kitchen floods and one of the bathroom sinks is filled with murky brown water, they can remind you that, ‘We’re gonna need a bigger boat!’” Ayerza says, laughing. “The shared space is not a compromise. In fact, it’s just the opposite: It offers many social and interpersonal advantages.”

Tips for living in harmony: “It’s extremely important to discuss any issues, or even perceived issues, right away,” Martin says. “Any unresolved or unstated problems can simmer, and eventually become volatile. We have been friends for a long time, so the communication between the two of us is always pretty simple. That said, we aren’t often home at the same time, so we’ve occasionally had to rely on text, email or sticky notes for dialogue.”

“Open and clear expectations are key,” Ayerza agrees. “Our strong friendship and communication make this natural, but I imagine there would be a learning curve with people with less history.”

Living Room ガーデンテラス鷹の台
5. New Friends in a Housing Complex in Japan

Who lives here:
Ayano Hayami, 29, left, and Chang Weicheng, 29
Location: Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan
Property: This once-corporate housing complex is now called Garden Terrace Takanodai. It was renovated by Naruse Inokuma Architects and became shared housing in the spring of 2015. The complex has seven buildings, each of which has six to nine apartments. Each floor has three private apartments with a shared kitchen and bathroom; each private space is 108 to 151 square feet (10 to 14 square meters).
Occupations: Hayami is an international cooperation project coordinator; Chang, who is from Taiwan, stays in Tokyo on working vacations and learns Japanese.

Contemporary Landscape by 成瀬・猪熊建築設計事務所 一級建築士事務所
Why they started renting: “As an international cooperation project coordinator in developing countries — Rwanda or the Solomon Islands, for example — I might move to another country soon,” Hayami says. “When I’m in Japan, I always live in a shared house, because they are equipped with ‘life infrastructure,’ such as home appliances and furniture.”

“For me as a foreigner, it’s very important to be surrounded by people,” Chang says. “I’m studying Japanese at a language school [volunteers give lessons twice a month], so if I lived alone, I wouldn’t have a chance to talk for days!”

How they found each other: “We were not looking for each other; we just found ourselves in the vacant rooms and became flatmates,” Hayami says.

Personalizing the space: “I’m moving all the time, so I try not to buy too much stuff — I’m a confirmed minimalist,” Hayami says.

“I love cooking, but I’m here for a short time, so the only things I’ve bought are some kitchen appliances,” Chang says.

What they like to do together at home: The residents of this shared house have an online group. “You can invite your flatmates over for dinner through it and instantly share some photos from the party,” Hayami says.

Lessons learned about home-sharing: Respect the privacy and lives of your flatmates.

Tips for living in harmony: “Live and let live,” Hayami says. “It’s said that Japanese people are very group-oriented and do not like to be alone. However, if you have an experience of living with others in a house, you learn how to respect privacy.”

See more of this housing complex

Scandinavian by Kate Jordan Photo
6. Housemates in a Much-Loved Old Apartment in Germany

Who lives here:
Lina Grübler, 27, left, and Leila Hajjawi, 25
Location: Berlin, Germany
Property: A 1,184-square-foot (110-square-meter), three-bedroom apartment
Occupations: Grübler is an account manager for Houzz Germany; Hajjawi is a tax auditor.

Why they started renting: “As I was a student at the time, I couldn’t afford a whole apartment, especially not one this big, and besides, I enjoy the company of others,” Grübler says. “Plus, you always have someone to call when you forget your keys!”

How they found each other: “Leila and I met through a common friend, who wanted to move in with us but who backed out at the last minute,” Grübler says. “As we fell in love with this apartment — and I was sick of the search process — we decided to do it anyway, even though we were strangers at the time. We’re both super happy we did it, as I think we’re the perfect flatmates, with a common understanding of things in life — and the flat.”

Scandinavian Hall by Kate Jordan Photo
Personalizing the space: “It’s been a long process, but I’m finally happy with it — after two years!” Grübler says. “I started out with a smaller budget, but I’ve gradually been replacing cheaper things with design items and vintage finds from Berlin. I also painted the hallway floor, and the decoration in there is the result of our craft nights in the kitchen. DIY was a big issue when we moved in — the place was a mess.”

What they like to do together at home: “We like to bake, have friends and guests over in our guest room, and enjoy the view from the balcony — with a barbecue or breakfast — of the Charlottenburg Palace and the adjoining park,” Grübler says. “Oh, and our craft nights, of course.”

Lessons learned about home-sharing: “Clean up after yourself, respect privacy, talk about things that bother you and speak about bathroom times — don’t hog the bathroom,” Grübler says.

Tips for living in harmony: “Smile and enjoy the company!”

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by Sofie Barfoed
7. Young Clubbers in a Prime Spot in Denmark

Who lives here:
Jason Lee Cameron, left, and William Ditlev Barfoed, both 22
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Property: A 560-square-foot (52-square-meter), two-bedroom apartment
Occupations: Cameron is a freelance bartender-waiter; Barfoed is a junior graphic designer at graphic design agency Propellant

by Sofie Barfoed
Why they started renting: “I just needed a place to live,” Barfoed says. “I chose this apartment because of its location — there are lots of good pubs and places to eat nearby. Plus I like to go to museums and concerts, and also have a chance to keep sailing in the SS Destiny Cinnamon,” his boat, moored in the Christianshavn neighborhood.

How they found each other: “Jason is one of my oldest friends, so I invited him to share the apartment with me,” Barfoed says.

Modern Home Office by Sofie Barfoed
Personalizing the space: “We have some pictures of Elvis that Jason won in a game of dice, which we’ve hung up in the kitchen,” Barfoed says. “We have a bulletin board where we hang our funny photos, drawings and diagrams. And then we have our little baby, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, which is a small orange tree we bought together.”

What they like to do together at home: We like to eat pizza, play video games and watch movies,” Barfoed says. “Yeah, we’re basically like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Except for the fact that we aren’t turtles.”

Lessons learned about home-sharing: “Be honest and have fun,” Barfoed says.

Tips for living in harmony: “Get a maid!”

Eclectic Family Room by Marco Zanin

Eclectic by Marco Zanin
8. Two Artists Sharing a Creative Home in Italy

Who lives here
: Giorgia Ricci, 39, and Marco Bernardelli, 46, plus Lucy the cat
Location: Treviso, northern Italy
Property: A 1,938-square-foot (180-square-meter), two-story house, plus a nearly 3,229-square-foot (300-square-meter) garden

Occupations: Both are freelance graphic designers and illustrators.

Why they started renting: “I always try to share a home with someone who has similar interests and a creative job,” Ricci says. “My flatmate and I need to share a lifestyle, not just a house. For us, this is both a studio and a home. There are no precise boundaries between the rooms — except the bedrooms — and everything feels natural and fluid. The living room is the part of the house we share most, as it’s also our working area.”

Eclectic Landscape by Marco Zanin
How they found each other: “We have lots of mutual friends,” Ricci says. “We met in Treviso. It’s quite a small city, where people with creative jobs know each other and go to the same bars after work for a spritz,” a mix of prosecco and Aperol.

Personalizing the space: “All the paintings you see in the house are mine,” Ricci says. “Some furniture pieces, such as a pantry in the kitchen and our flowered armchair, are by Marco.”

What they like to do together at home: “We like to share creative perspectives and ideas and talk about work,” Ricci says.

Lessons learned about home-sharing: “To have tolerance and respect,” Ricci says. “But also that there’s a strong energy that comes from sharing your everyday life with someone else.”

Tips for living in harmony: “Finding the right people is the key to success,” Ricci says. “I suggest making a relaxed evaluation and finding someone who has something in common with you.”

See more of this home

by pablo veiga
9. Ex-Architecture Students in a House in Australia

Who lives here: Louise Thoeming, from left, Alice Coleman, Michaela Upton, Emma Leckie and Olivia Kwarda Tuivaga, all 24
Location: Newtown area of Sydney, Australia
Property: A 1,991-square-foot (185-square-meter) house with five bedrooms and one bathroom
Occupations: Thoeming is an exhibition designer and aspiring curator; Coleman and Leckie are studying for master’s degrees in architecture; Upton works in advertising; Kwarda Tuivaga is in marketing and is also a jewelry designer and stylist.

by pablo veiga
Why they started renting: “We decided to live together after a few drinks at a [university] catch-up. As we were all starting master’s study or full-time work, it made a lot of sense,” Thoeming says. “Having spent so much time together at [university], seeing each other at our best and worst through that time, and all getting along really well with each other’s friends, it seemed like such a perfect choice.”

How they found each other: They met while all were studying architecture at university.

by pablo veiga
Personalizing the space: Each of the women has brought her own style into the common spaces, and the layout was a combined effort. “We all helped in figuring out how things should be arranged,” Coleman says. “Emma and I have cool little models that we’ve made for [university] placed around the house — that’s kind of our stamp.”

Aspiring curator Thoeming says she likes to leave the decorating to Kwarda Tuivaga, who’s a stylist. However, she recently made her own contribution: “I put together a photo wall for the living room, with some cute prints in mix-and-match vintage frames,” she says. “We all brought in some furniture for the common areas, and even had a scavenger hunt for free furniture, which turned up some goodies. I gave some breakfast bar seats I found a coat of white paint to freshen them up.”

What they like to do together at home: They have different schedules but catch up at regular Sunday brunches. They also occasionally do themed Monday night dinners, which give them another chance to cook together and chat about the day. “We don’t have enough room for a dining table, so every time we host a house dinner, we eat Japanese-style, on the floor, sitting around the coffee table,” Upton says.

“We don’t have a TV, so when we’re together, we spend our time just chatting in the living room,” Kwarda Tuivaga says. “We have really big parties here too.”

by pablo veiga
Lessons learned about home-sharing: “I think being considerate to each other and respectful of the communal spaces is key,” Coleman says.

Tips for living in harmony: “We were all a bit hesitant about five girls sharing one bathroom, but it hasn’t been a problem,” Upton says. “We just make sure we all do our makeup in our own separate rooms — too easy!”

Kwarda Tuivaga notes that you also need to share the chores. “We have a roster on our fridge, and it works well,” she says. “And it’s important to clean the shower drain! With five girls, hair blockages tend to happen.”

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by Nadja Endler Fotograf
10. Student ‘Family’ in an Apartment in Sweden

Who lives here:
Paula Vivas, 28, Laura Buencuerpo, 35, and Flor Vilardebó, 29
Location: Hammarbyhöjden, south Stockholm, Sweden
Property: A 969-square-foot (90-square-meter), three-bedroom flat
Occupations: All are students at international digital institution Hyper Island.

Why they started renting: “I’m studying digital business, and gave up my whole life in Bogota [Colombia] to come here to study,” Vivas says. “I sold my flat and have now started this 18-month course. It’s incredibly hard to find somewhere to rent in Stockholm, since there is such an influx of young people and the cost of buying a home is rocketing — the last figure I read was 90,000 Swedish krona [$10,700] per square meter. So renting was the only way, and we found this flat via an agency.”

Midcentury Dining Room by Nadja Endler Fotograf
How they found each other: “We are all on the same course and all Spanish speakers from different countries — I am from Colombia, Laura is from Spain and Flor is from Argentina,” says Vivas, pictured in the middle in the photo at left, with Buencuerpo on the left and Vilardebó on the right. “It means we can speak Spanish at home, which is such a relief. We’ve only known each other for a few months, but we’re family rather than friends — we need each other!”

Personalizing the space: “We can’t do much to this flat, and it’s very different from my own style,” Vivas says. “In Bogota, my flat was white and minimalist, but still with plenty of color pops and cozy antique details. Here, we have to add warmth by friendship and how we are together at home, rather than decorating!”

What they like to do together at home: “We do pretty much everything together: have breakfast, go to school, shop for food, cook, cry at movies … go to Ikea!”

Midcentury Living Room by Nadja Endler Fotograf
Lessons learned about home-sharing: “Have clear lines of communication from the start. Of course we have arguments and conflicts, but we deal with them and after two minutes we are happy again.”

Tips for living in harmony: “Mix private time with time together. When we close the door to our bedrooms, that means we want to be left alone for a while. But also live together with big hearts. I am gluten-intolerant, so Flor and Laura decided they should also only buy gluten-free bread and pasta, so we could all share everything and not get confused. We really don’t put our names on the milk and containers in the fridge.”

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URL: World of Design: 10 Ways to Live in Harmony With Housemates http://www.decor-ideas.org/cases-view-id-26976.html
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