Do you ever get the feeling that all the home tours look the same these days? Like everyone has the same Moroccan rug, the same midcentury modern chair, the same white Ikea clothing rack? Hey, I have all of those things, I can say that.

I go to blogs looking for inspiration of something different, something totally unique and never before seen – but it’s all the same.

That’s why it’s such a joy to find a home with personality. In this home you won’t find

  • marble
  • subway tiles
  • a blue velvet couch
  • concrete floors

Again, I can say that because I have all of those things. Instead, you’ll find a tiny loft loaded with personality and transformed by a couple – an architect and a stylist – who seem like an impossibly perfect match given that they met on Tinder.

Catherine Verna Bentley and Louis Hagen Hall form the design firm Bentley Hagen Hall, and this is their 500-square foot home. When you have the skills of an architect in your toolbox, you can do things like take down walls.

And when you’re a stylist, you can create perfect vignettes on every kitchen shelf. Bentley is admittedly obsessed with shallow shelves so this one above the kitchen counter is one of four around their house. Keep an eye out for the others, and start thinking about what wall in your home could benefit from a shallow shelf. Luckily Ikea sells some.

Those white shutters are not the typical blog home tour window covering, but they really work to let plenty of light into this space and still maintain privacy for their street-level windows.

The pale pink color of their kitchen walls is actually raw builder’s plaster. They loved the pink color so much they left it unpainted and unpolished. I just really get the feeling this couple isn’t looking at other peoples’ homes and copying them, they go by what they like. Even if that’s raw plaster as a wall color.

The kitchen is obviously a show stopper, but as someone whose front door opens into a long hall, their hallway is initially what caught my eye about this home (and had me Pinning it within seconds). I’m now considering moving my floor-length mirrors into my entry hall, flipping them on their side and hanging them like this.

And of course I now want to add a shallow shelf below it too.

The couple put in a drop ceiling and use the space above it to store their winter clothes.


Check out that custom storage space at the end of their kitchen. For a 500-square foot home, they’re blessed with enough storage spaces to avoid one of the big pitfalls of small space living.

Again, as someone who lives in a studio loft, I was very interested to see that they created a convertible library that doubles as a guest room.

A mattress fits perfectly in the nook and curtains can be drawn to separate the space. I have a pull out sofa and have guests pretty often, but I don’t have a way to give my guests privacy right now. Luckily those guests mostly consist of my parents, brothers, or best friends, so privacy isn’t a huge deal. But one day it will be nice to offer guests the option to go to sleep without having me sleeping there too.

Another brilliant feature is that they created a two-step platform in the guest nook, and they store their spare mattress underneath. I have been thinking of doing something similar underneath my bed for a while now, and this has me convinced I just need to make it happen. (How to make that happen, and for zero dollars, I’m not sure yet).

Catherine designed the door handles on their bathroom door herself. They cut the bottom of a brass pot off and left it unfinished for a tarnished effect.

Best sliding door handles, ever. And predictably, their bathroom is cool too. See that shallow shelf action? It butts up against the mirror to make the room look much wider than it actually is.

No omnipresent mid-century furniture here, and nothing try-hard. It all looks like you could very comfortably slip into a lovely routine living here.

And this is the brilliant couple, and they’re engaged to be married. That’s a Tinder success story if I’ve ever seen one.

Do you feel like it’s hard to find homes with a unique point of view? Or have you found a design resource that feeds your interior appetite? If so please share!



Photos and interview via Food52 and Bentley Hagen Hall.

Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.