Erica Massey and pup Deacon at their White Rock apartment. (Photo from YouTube.)

Doctoral student Erica Massey grew up with the idea that if you can’t find something you want, you should make it. That’s exactly what she’s done with her one-bedroom studio near White Rock Lake.

The 530-square-foot space is much smaller than her apartment in downtown, but it has 10-foot ceilings to accommodate the more than 1,000 books she owns. To fit them all in the smaller space, she had to get creative. During a trip to IKEA, she purchased book shelves that she stacked on top of each other and mounted to the wall so they’d be sturdy enough to climb, even without a ladder.

She also used an IKEA hack to build a lofted bed so the crate for her Belgian malinois, Deacon, could fit underneath. Using storage units spaced evenly apart, she put wooden bed slats on top to hold her mattress. She slid the crate into the hollow space under the mattress and used the dresser drawers for additional storage.

Although she says the rent is a lot for a student, it includes utilities, a garage parking spot, in-unit laundry and direct access to the lake’s hiking and biking trails. Plus, the apartment has a self-service dog wash for Deacon.

Massey gave a tour of her space on an episode of Refinery29’s video series, “Sweet Digs,” which looks into the homes of modern millennials. Watch it here:

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