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How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Brittany Carmichael
How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet
Ehi Obinyan, 27

Business-to-business marketing professional

Where: Bloor and Yonge How much: $1,495 per month How big: 500 square feet

After completing her masters degree at NYU, Ehi wanted to be close to her mom, who lives in Brampton—but she wasn’t willing to forgo big-city living altogether. Initially, she wasn’t keen on moving to Toronto. To ease the transition, she decided to find a home with a New York feel: a compact bachelor apartment in a building without floor-to-ceiling glass. “I didn’t want to feel like I was living in an office,” she says. She found a rental suite in Toronto’s former Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which was converted into condos a few decades ago.

After six years spent moving from apartment to apartment, Ehi has learned to purge her possessions, but she still has trouble getting rid of clothes and books. “Everything’s tidy until you get to my closet,” she says with a laugh:

How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

 

She has managed to make her book addiction into decor. She uses her volumes as though they were building blocks, to create extra shelving space. Every month, her personal library grows by at least one title:

How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

 

Although her bachelor apartment is a bit of a squeeze, she often hosts her book club gatherings here. “When people walk in, they’re basically in my bedroom,” she says. She did up her bed in white linens in an effort to make it disappear into the wall:

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How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

 

The rest of the room is awash in colour: Persian rugs, decorative Nigerian textiles, bold art, red appliances—almost everything in Ehi’s home is vibrant. Even her kitchen utensils are funky colours.

With only one closet in the entire apartment, she had to get creative with storage. She pushed the couch a few feet from the wall to create a linen nook. (All the extra bedding comes in handy when one of her two brothers wants to crash with her.)

How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

 

Ehi’s apartment is like a scrapbook of her life, with art from the various places she has lived. She hasn’t accumulated many tchotchkes, though: too many would make the place seem cluttered. Instead, she keeps magnets from all her various trips on the fridge:

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How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

 

Her all-white bathroom is much more staid than the rest of the apartment. “This is my haven, my sanctuary,” she says. To unwind, she’ll settle into the tub with some wine, candles and music:

How a 27-year-old marketer lives in 500 square feet

Ehi’s so enamoured with her home she’s reluctant to think about moving out. She’s not against the idea of letting a significant other move in. “Forget boundaries,” she says. “We’ll get to know each other better without walls.”


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