Live Where You Work0
Lauren Van Houten and Breanne Vander Lugt both work downtown Kalamazoo as interior designers for WorkSquared, a certified Herman Miller Office Furniture Dealership. Located on East Michigan Avenue, their office is steps from the Kalamazoo Mall and countless entertainment and dining options.
Van Houten is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University and a former Interior Design Intern at the University of Michigan's Department of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.
Van Houten moved to her studio apartment on Rose Street after joining WorkSquared in August 2013.
"I decided to live downtown because I wanted to be walking distance from work and the gym," Van Houten said. "I really like the atmosphere in Kalamazoo, it's small and familiar but it also has a big city vibe."
Despite its convenient location, moving into a 300-square-foot studio apartment without any storage was a challenge for Van Houten.
"It took a lot preparation and design work to make everything fit comfortably," she said, "I was able to make the apartment my own by replacing the flooring, changing out some of the light fixtures, and painting. My loft bed, with a walk in closet underneath and built-in desk, is what really helped make the space functional. I couldn't have done any of these apartment projects without my dad."
Vander Lugt chose to live in an apartment on Burdick Street for many of the same reasons Van Houten cited.
"I wanted to be downtown because I wanted to walk to work and have easy access to all the fun things that downtown Kalamazoo has to offer," Vander Lugt said. "After moving downtown, I rarely need to use my car. I love how this city to so walkable."
A resident of Old Towne Apartments, Vander Lugt said she enjoys the sense of community with her neighbors.
"We have a little community at our complex," the recent Kendall College of Art and Design graduate said. "Most of the tenants are young professionals, we have a Facebook page, and we plan events and activities to keep us connected. It's a great location because my apartment is in the middle of everything downtown."
Being so close to where all the action is, Van Houten and Vander Lugt said it is easy to stay connected.
They both stay connected through work, community events, and volunteer opportunities. They are also planning to attend Kalamazoo Growlers baseball games this summer. "Our company is sponsoring the team this season," Vander Lugt said.
"We're looking forward to our first summer living downtown Kalamazoo," said Vander Lugt, "We've heard about all the fun events and festivals that go on, so we will definitely be taking advantage of them."