Name: Dixie Laite
Location: New York City, Midtown West
Size: 1650 square feet, 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo
Years Lived In: Exactly one!
Hard-core AT fans should have no trouble recognizing Dixie or her style. This is Dixie's third apartment featured on Apartment Therapy, she's in our Real Homes, Real People book, and her apartment was in one of our earliest Smallest Coolest contests.
It may sound like a lot of New York real estate but this last move was for love! Dixie got married and rather than wedging her husband, Jeff, into her deluxe 'Bluebird Manor,' they opted to get an apartment big enough to accommodate all of Jeff's belongings (safely stored in the second bedroom, otherwise known as the man cave) within the wild and wondrous Dixie scene. While Jeff is not a design buff, he appreciates Dixie for who she is and is proud of what she has done with their new home. As he says, "there is only one Dixie."
Dixie is a big fan of what she terms 'femorabilia.' Women feature prominently amidst the portraits, photos, momentos, statues, and tchotchkes that fill her home. She's also a big fan of clothes, shoes, parrots and dogs. There is a story to go along with each of these elements. To experience Dixie's home is to experience Dixie from the inside out. And what a great ride it is!
Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: Marie Antoinette meets elderly Jewish lady's South Florida apartment meets six-year-old.
I think that the art, the tchotchkes, all the choices reflect two big seemingly paradoxical aspects of who I am: flaming innocence and naïve insouciance. Ultimately, I guess "my style" is that I want to look around and feel delighted.
I'd love to be more Tony Duquette-y but I'm just too lazy. It also very "meta". See, I was recently married, I'm approaching middle-age, and this is sort of my parody on "grown-up" décor (as opposed to the full-on silly décor I've normally used). It's much more formal, and much less pink. It reflects my love of interiors coupled with my inability to take it all very seriously. So we've got Dorothy Draper, Scalamandre, Stark and some fine art pieces in here, but we've also got a two-headed duckling under glass, a Pat & Richard Nixon plate on the wall, and little nun figurines playing golf, bongos and tennis.
Inspiration: I'm inspired by both good taste and bad taste, in equal measures. I'm also inspired by old movies, flea markets, animals, women, fairy tales, swing music, Tony Duquette, Dorothy Draper, Miles Redd, Jonathan Adler, Todd Oldham, Anna Sui and other designers with playful sensibilities.
Favorite Element: That's like asking to pick a favorite child! I absolutely love the 40s wallpaper I scored on eBay; it really looks hand-painted and it's like entering a magical woodland. And of course I love the pink octopus chandelier my friend Adam Wallacavage made for me, and I ADORE my Tony Duquette floor lamp; the balls sparkle like fireflies! I also really love the paintings, and things my friends have made me — like the portrait of me in beans, rice and pasta — are truly treasured.
Biggest Challenge: Having multiple dogs and parrots — and their Sisyphean messes — can really harsh the glamour buzz. Also, I just have way too much stuff. I'm trying to edit, but it's an uphill battle. I occasionally have big giveaways and sales in my apartment where people can come and take or buy stuff. I also have a store on Etsy where I list things.
What Friends Say: "Vintage-filled oasis with just the right touch of funky glamour!"
Biggest Embarrassment: Being embarrassed is a waste of time. But I guess it'd be the insane quantity of cardboard net-a-porter boxes I put in the recycle bin.
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY is also my biggest indulgence — the apartment itself! We bought two old one-bedrooms in really bad shape with the intention of combining them into one spacious apartment. I made all the choices for the renovation, love 'em or hate 'em. In an unorthodox move, instead of making the logical foyer with sunken living room the apartment's entry point, I knocked down a wall in the smaller of the apartments and made that apartment the living room/den/kitchen. We broke through the apartments' dividing wall so that you step down from the den directly into our bedroom, which is now a very large bedroom, with a nice sized walk-in closet (that apartment's tiny kitchen became a windowed walk-in closet), an adjoining mancave for my husband, and a private white marbled bathroom. I had to totally redo entire rooms — the kitchen, bathrooms, the floor.
If by DIY you mean with my own two little hands, all that comes to mind are the trophies I bestowed on myself and my husband, and the color-coded bookshelves (it took a long time)!
Biggest Indulgence: The Venetian Mirror medicine cabinet in the master bath; some of the art; most of my clothes and shoes; pink abalone chest; Tony Duquette lamp; my complete set of Perry Mason DVDs.
Best Advice: Let your freak flag fly! Decorate your house to please yourself; surround yourself with things that make you happy.
Dream Source: Any place loaded with femorabilia. Flea markets, antique stores. Tony Duquette's estate.
• Stark Lilaea Wool Rug: Nice price from One Kings Lane.
• Jonathan Adler double-decker coffee table: Craigslist
• Dorothy Draper chests of drawers: ebay
• Pink Octopus chandelier: made by my friend Adam Wallacavage
• Jonathan Adler sofa: Craigslist
• Pair of lamps with light-up chrysanthemums: etsy
• Painting of my grandmother as a little girl: incredibly lucky find on ebay!
• "The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God" painting: my sweet friend, "Sister Louisa"
• Portraits of women by Charles Busch: ebay
• Portrait purportedly by Edward Hopper(!): ebay
• Large portrait of 60s lady by Pal Fried (one of my faves!): ebay
• Several paintings in the living room and bedroom are by my grandmother
• Various trophies I award myself and my husband: flea market, then have them engraved at Acme Trophies
• Autographed photos of Boswell Sisters, Cab Calloway, William Powell, Anita Loos: flea market
• Eve Gabor's autobiography, Orchids and Salami: ebay
• Miscellaneous portraits of women: flea market, ebay and etsy
• Re-upholstered chair: John Loecke and Jason Nixon
• Black bust: flea market
• Signed George Grosz print, Chaim Gross bust: inherited
• Marble rooster and marble couple: Manhattan Pier Show
• Statue of apartment's patron saint, St. Francis: flea market
• Taxidermied birds under bell jars: Manhattan Armory Show
• Two-headed ducking and one-headed duckling: rescued from dusty shelves of antique store
• Velvet souvenir pillows: flea market
• Fake marble bust of woman: flea market
• Chinese painted shelf: flea market
• Various obelisks: flea market
• 4 leopard chairs: great find at my pal Hymie's stall at the flea market
• Face vase pitcher: flea market
• Lampshades: Internet discount stores
• Faux Saarinen table: they're everywhere
• Faux Staffordshire dogs: they too are everywhere
• Penguin figurines once owned by Clara Bow!: gift from a friend
• Bosom and butt vases: Jonathan Adler
• Painting of soldier daydreaming of girl with overbite (one of my faves!): Lovely Janet West's booth at the flea market on 25th Street
• "Amelia & Ricky" photograph of child with chimp by Robin Schwartz - online gallery
• Inherited the Moses Soyer painting of redhead and various Soyer drawings
• Nun and other figurines on bookshelf: flea market
• Cute Happy Thoughts for Dixie booklet and I'm Glad You Exist placard: Lisa Beebe
HALLWAY to BATHROOM
• Greta Garbo's driver's license (really!): Manhattan Pier Show
• Frame + sparkly picture of deer in snow: flea market
• Portrait of me in bens, rice & pasta: my friends Lisa and Alison
• Torn 20s box in gold frame: found box on street
• Red velvet curtain: Bed, Bath and Beyond
• Wallpaper: Florence Broadbent
• Plates on wall: etsy and flea market
DEN/TV and PARROT ROOM
• Jonathan Adler screen and pink and blue cube tables: Adler warehouse sale in Brooklyn
• Fabulous Tony Duquette floor lamp: Remains Lighting floor sample
• Lucite coffee table: Karim Rashid
• Couch: Mitchell & Gold
• Jill Greenberg's "Monkeysuit" and "Ursine" photographs: Clamp Gallery
• Framed "If I Had a Monkey" collage: Chris Antieau
• Parrots Butch and Clementine: from God
• Designer Mary McDonald's leopard curtains from her own home!: One Kings Lane
• Rose Quartz doorknobs and silver cast piglet: Internet
• Carnival chalkware on shelf: Had them forever it seems
• "Portrait of me" in pink baroque frame: Danielle Lamberti
• Jonathan Adler headboard, folding cocktail table and screen: Adler warehouse sale in Brooklyn
• Nightstands from the Eden Roc hotel in Miami Beach: Elizabeth Bauer in Greenwich Village
• Framed autographed photo of Gyspy Rose Lee on desk: ebay
• Ikea bookcases: Craigslist
• Marie Antoinette bust: Craigslist
• Desk: ebay
• 2 Jonathan Adler chairs: floor samples from West Coast store
• One-of-a-kind Pink Abalone Chest of Drawers: Manhattan Pier Show
• Pal Fried oil paintings of ballerina (for sale!): ebay
• Amy Stein photograph of girl staring at bear: Affordable Art Fair
• Bedside lamps: Hell's Kitchen flea market
• Bride & groom rubber duckies: Manhattan Court House
• Chinese stools (throughout apt.): flea market
• Inflatable stools with flowers inside: flea market
• Various antique posters and paintings: flea market, ebay, etsy, inherited
• Monogrammed rug and zebra rug: jonathanadler.com
• Green vinyl chair: Manhattan Pier Show
• Heywood -Wakefield tables and chests throughout: flea market
• Green Oriental bureau: Manhattan Pier Show
• Mid-century lamps: flea market
• Various white generic furniture: scrounged!
DRESSING ROOM/WALK-IN CLOSET
• 40s Scalamandre wallpaper: ebay
• Little chandeliers: Lighting Plus on Web
• Aretha Franklin's list of spiritual "rules": Manhattan Pier Show
• 6 Stark gnomes and tree stumps throughout: going out of business sale at a store in a Las Vegas mall
• Gold wood hand coming out of wall: Manhattan Pier Show
• Wood 20s and 30s mannequins: Manhattan Pier Show (the brown deco one once belonged to Barbra Streisand!)
• Autographed pictures of Clara Bow: ebay
• Photos of young Norma Jean Baker: Andre de Diennes
• Red Grooms "Local": inherited (for sale!)
• Pole Dancer painting with glitter: Danielle Lamberti (for sale!)
• Marble Tile (real and faux): Tile Shop (online)
• Sink, toilet, shower wall, chandelier and fixtures: online
• Framed Marilyn & Lincoln photo by Milton Greene: fine art website
• Venetian mirror medicine cabinet: Avanti on Web
MAN CAVE (second bedroom)
• Not yet ready to be photographed — in the future, all will be revealed!
Images: Jill Slater
For details of Dixie's kitchen, check out Dixie's Sleek White Kitchen (with Closeted, Colorful Charm!)
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