Name: Ailin Doman
Location: TriBeCa — Manhattan, New York
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years — rent
Above a bustling downtown Manhattan intersection busy with gawking tourists and locals going about their daily routine, you might not notice a small fire escape perfectly situated for an optimal view of the chaos below. Stepping into the home it belongs to, you quickly forget the lively street below. The space is at once serene and yet full of life. This well curated, thoughtfully laid out apartment makes up for any lack of square footage with artful arrangement and comfortable charm.
The first thing you notice when you walk into the apartment is how spacious it feels. Technically a studio apartment, in New York it would not be unusual for an apartment of this size to be turned into a one bedroom with the addition of a random wall. Luckily, that did not happen in this case and as a result, the open space feels roomy and comfortable. In the wrong hands though, this one room apartment with angular walls could feel crowded. It takes a creative person, and one who is not afraid to edit their belongings to make the space feel open and welcoming. After a trying out a series of different arrangements, Ailin finally settled on having the living room adjacent to the kitchen and a bedroom next to the window and aforementioned fire escape.
To create a division of space, she added curtains that usually remain open but that can be shut to give the room some division when necessary. The choice of the soft lilac color of the curtains that draw the eye toward the high ceiling and then back down to the hardwood floors echoes the subtle color scheme in the home. The gray sofa is offset by the warm taupe textured carpet and a hammered metal coffee table that doubles as storage. When space is at a premium, having furniture that does double duty is a necessity.
When she needed extra storage space for books and well-loved pieces of artwork and family photos, Ailin, with the help of her father, decided to build a shelving unit into the corner of the living room to utilize a previously awkward area where the walls come together at a bit of an angle near the entrance to the bathroom. Leaving the wood natural anchors the look of the corner and blends well with adjacent furniture pieces such as the wooden bench that is used to hold books and decor, but that can easily be pulled out when extra seating is needed. Balancing out the natural wood feel of these pieces are clear acrylic nesting tables that hide in plain sight, not taking any visual space, but are available when needed.
Living in NYC does have its challenges. But, if you surrender to the four walls you have, it's amazing what you can create AND it's an interesting way to learn what is most important for you to surround yourself with. Everything you choose; pictures, art work, colors, bedding, etc. reflects who you are or what you want to be when you are home and how you want your guests to feel when they visit.
This eye for detail and design makes perfect sense for someone who understands both the aesthetic and practical side of putting together a home. Ailin took the constraints that presented themselves in her apartment and made them work for her, and she can do the same for you.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, forward yet timeless, romantically edgy...
Inspiration: Combining design elements from my travels. Also inspired by my life in NYC and Los Angeles.
Favorite Element: My bold yet cozy bed.
Biggest Challenge: Small space with awkward dimensions and angled walls. Very narrow staircase in my building walk up, so many pieces were undeliverable and I had to start over.
What Friends Say: They love coming over because my apartment is inviting, cozy and feels like a warm refuge from the city. Honestly, I think they like my apartment because they usually get a home cooked meal!
Proudest DIY: Staining my wood shelves.
Biggest Indulgence: Flying my dad out from California to do the apartment improvement projects and getting to spend quality one on one time with him in the process.
Best Advice: Make it comfortable for YOU and connect to your pieces. Don't display everything — reserve a few design treats for yourself.
Dream Sources: Independent furniture designers in Los Angeles, NYC and Buenos Aires. ABC, Brooklyn Flea.
Resources of Note:
- • Hanging lamp: Antique store in Chelsea
• Pillows on floor/couch: ABC Home, Brooklyn Flea, various local boutique home furnishing stores
• Lamps: Custom & hand turned lamps made in Argentina by Ailin's uncle
• Other pieces found through independent furniture designers (NYC & LA)
- • Stools: Moon River Chattel in Williamsburg Brooklyn
• Storage containers: The Container Store
- • Bed: Restoration Hardware
• Vintage trunk: Brooklyn Flea
• Candle holders: Moose Loop
• Drapes: Anthropologie
• Mirror on dresser: ABC Home
"If you are interested in transforming your home into an environment that inspires you to live authentic, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org."
(Images: Liana Walker)
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