Kate Bingaman-Burt and her husband Clifton Burt are both graphic designers, which you'd think would make them pretty picky when it came time to hunt for a new pad in Portland, Oregon. But the first time Clifton stepped foot into their new apartment was on move-in day. "We found it on Craigslist and had a friend in Portland go to the open house," remembers Kate. "With his thumbs-up on the space, we signed the lease and moved from Mississippi a couple weeks later." The cross-country move landed Kate at Portland State University as an assistant professor in the graphic design department while Clifton works from their home.
With just 600 square feet to work with, Kate and Clifton (and their dog, Maybelle) live in every square inch of the apartment. The size wasn't as important as some of the other features. "It's a great location in a bustling area, has big windows and a flexible floor plan," explains Kate. The open floor plan includes a full kitchen, living area and a bathroom on the first floor with a spiral staircase up to a lofted bedroom. The building is also LEED-certified (meaning it's stamped eco-friendly) and has concrete radiant flooring and 17-foot ceilings. Garage doors serve as super-sized windows that open and close with the pull of a rope.