An Architecture Major Flexes His Design Skills in His Chic Miami Studio
When you devote the majority of your days to architecture and interior design (as someone who studies the subjects in school and photographs spaces for work), decorating your home isn’t just a hobby — it’s a way to showcase your passion and expertise. In his off-campus studio apartment, University of Miami senior Benedetto Rebecca does just that.
How did you find this apartment? I found my apartment on Zillow, but prior to that, I kept visualizing and writing down the exact details of what I wanted my apartment to have: Wood floors, a lot of character, good location, and price were really important to me. When I saw this apartment listing, I knew it was the one. It’s a historical Spanish building from the 1930s with a unique floorplan, unlike other Miami apartments I was seeing. I’m also a sucker for an arch, and when I saw there was a huge one in the kitchen, I was sold.
What do you like about your building? I’m fortunate that my building is allowing me to make aesthetic changes to the space and is allowing me to express my creativity. All of the units in my building have the same layout, so it’s interesting to see how my space differs from the others. For example, my neighbor (and now best friend) decided to use the room off of her bathroom as a bedroom so she could have a sofa in her main space. I, on the other hand, have my bed in my main space, and use the room off my bathroom as a walk-in closet, which I love.
What’s your space best known for? My space is best known for being a place to unwind and relax. After a long day of classes, I love to just sit on my bed and stare out the window or take a nice, long bath. It’s also known for being my personal restaurant, as I love to cook and host dinners.
Define your personal home style: My personal home style really depends on the space — instead of sticking to one style, it really just depends on what pieces go together and fit into the narrative I am going for. Typically, I love an earth-tone palette and colors deriving from nature. In this apartment, I wanted it to feel like you were sitting in a treetop, because of the palm tree views outside my window (which create such beautiful scenery and give me privacy).
What’s your favorite element of the space you created? My favorite element has to be my dark green walls. I wanted the paint to highlight the large windows in the space, and I ended up making a custom green at Benjamin Moore based on a candle box I had — it’s my favorite shade of green.
My other favorite element is the lighting I’ve added to my space; one of my friends said my apartment “feels like a restaurant,” which to me was a huge compliment.
Proudest DIY? My stick-on tile dining table, which cost $150. It added a lot of character to my dining space and feels really unique.
Favorite product hack? Using the IKEA Billy Bookcase in my closet as storage for clothes and accessories.
In an effort to remove the stigma associated with talking about money in college, we’re asking students to share how they plan and budget for their space.
How much does your housing cost? $1,725 per month.
What was your biggest splurge for this space and how much did it cost? I think I’ve spent the most money on paint colors and painting equipment, which maybe totaled around $500.
Best budget find? My $12 yellow dining chair that I thrifted.
What was your biggest challenge in decorating your apartment? The biggest challenge has been narrowing down all my ideas to a final decision. My design process is always evolving and I’m constantly editing the space.
Do you have any tips for staying organized? My top organizing tips would be to roll your clothes in your dresser, put as much as you can under your bed, and buy stackable organizers for underneath your sink.
How did you make this place your own? I still have a long way to go design-wise, but so far I love how moody and intimate I’ve made the space through the use of paint and furnishings. The energy in my apartment really is like no other and the fact that I am able to treat it as my canvas for design brings me so much joy.
This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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