Two World Travelers and a Sunny, Plant-Filled Manhattan Loft

Two World Travelers and a Sunny, Plant-Filled Manhattan Loft

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Minette Hand
Nov 14, 2017
Jean and Jeff (adventurous and avid world travelers) share this one-bedroom loft on the Lower East Side. Because their 750-square-foot home has an almost unheard of amount of sunlight for New York, they've filled their apartment with a ton of plants (as well as some funky vintage finds.) The whole place feels like one giant, peaceful, stylish tree house.
Image credit: Minette Hand
Their apartment spans two floors, with an airy living room featuring 17-foot ceilings and a distinctive half-dome window. The couple wanted their living space to combine the indoors and outdoors to create a seamless transition to their (envy-inducing) 200-square-foot private terrace.
Image credit: Minette Hand
The vibrant living room is the focal point of their apartment; they were immediately drawn to how suddenly the space opens up into a lofty atrium and wanted to deliver a colorful first impression. They do so with found goods from nature and art created by their closest friends. They've also got a team of philodendrons filling out the white space on the walls, creating the illusion of an ivy jungle.
Image credit: Minette Hand

Our Style: Natural, vibrant, and playful. Our home collection includes found objects and vintage items from our travels, an art collection done by our friends and a splash of patterns from antique and local finds. Some of these include: raw quartz we hammered off boulders in the Atacama desert, antique ceramic marmalade jars from the eBay bidding wars of yesteryear, a green Lucky Buddha bottle from our favorite neighborhood restaurant Pig & Khao, and rocks discovered on the Cordon del Plata range along our week-long mountaineering trek.

The stairs in the corner lead up to a beautiful loft bedroom.

Image credit: Minette Hand
Other quirky, notable items in Jean and Jeff's home are a scotch diary with personal tasting notes of their favorite single malts, a seemingly unimposing "treasure map" rock Jean salvaged from the dirt in Canada as a child, and a 1937 ceramic Kahlúa decanter. The live-edge coffee table is from the Aspen Wood Shop.
Image credit: Minette Hand
Their biggest indulgence was their custom couch from Room & Board, but it adds just the right amount of color to the space and fits perfectly in their small, but masterfully inviting living room. The woven kilim pillows are from MoroccanTribal, the mud cloth pillows and the llama wool accent pillows are both from Mondiale Lifestyle.
Image credit: Minette Hand

Inspiration: We love an environment that lives and breathes the creativity of our friends. Max Arocena, game developer at Colorfiction, has created prints and paintings for our home based on his surreal escapist video game, 0°N 0°W.

The idea is that you can leave your daily life behind and wake up to explore an abstract dreamscape full of vividly colorful geometric structures and natural elements (think bodies of water, geode beds, deserts and mountains). This translates extremely well as the inspiration for our interior styling. We like to view our home as an oasis shielded from the outside world.

Image credit: Minette Hand

Favorite Element: There is no substitute for an abundance of natural light in the home. We are fortunate enough to have an eight-foot half dome window, which floods our two-floor loft with sunlight. Sometimes that means an earlier-than-planned wake up on the weekends, but there's nothing like enjoying a strong morning roast on the terrace before the rest of the city rises.

We have fully embraced ambient rainforest and jungle soundtracks on YouTube to complete the morning aura. Plus, the sunlight keeps most of our 30+ houseplants happy, though we've certainty had some casualties.

Image credit: Minette Hand
Jeff rigged a pump-like watering system so the plants are easier to water. Next step: an automated system!
Image credit: Minette Hand
Proudest DIY: We're often asked how we water the philodendrons that line our elevated window ledge. Our proudest DIY has not only saved us a lot of time but likely the lives of our plants, too.
Image credit: Minette Hand
We hacked together a watering device out of PVC pipes, rubber O-rings, and dental floss (hint: Google PVC water gun). The way it works is a piston draws water and allows you to shower plants about three feet over your head.
Image credit: Minette Hand
The terrace outside is just as beautiful and peaceful as the interior of their home. They chose bamboo, grass, warm-tone hanging lights, and natural, printed accent pillows for the outdoor oasis to evoke the feeling of peace and meditation. Jean and Jeff agree that their favorite thing is coffee outside, especially this time of year when the weather is perfect.
Image credit: Minette Hand
What Friends Say: "I feel like I'm on vacation"; "It doesn't feel like we're in the city."
Image credit: Minette Hand
Best Advice: It's easy to fall in love with items in isolation and de-emphasize the fact that it may not completely jive with the existing vibe of your space. It's always helpful to contextualize any serious potential purchases by making friends with Photoshop, Houzz, or even good ole' paint.
Image credit: Minette Hand
Dream Sources: Design Within Reach, ABC Carpet & Home, Munna Design, FLOS, African ceremonial stools, Hans Wegner, Balinese wood carvings, Matthew Williamson furniture, all sculptures in the Noguchi museum
Image credit: Minette Hand
Jean and Jeff's bedroom (and office) sit up top, drenched in sunlight. Their bathroom is to the left, but it isn't quite ready to be photographed yet.
Image credit: Minette Hand
Biggest Challenge: Jeff has a lot of hobbies, which means that he has way too much equipment. It was certainly challenging to stuff two guitars, an amp, snowboard, skis, hiking poles, ice skates, DJ equipment, trumpet, and skateboard all underneath our bed!
Image credit: Minette Hand
Jeff also works from home, so he made a small corner facing the beautiful window his workspace.
Image credit: Minette Hand
Image credit: Minette Hand
Biggest Embarrassment: We share a common problem among New Yorkers of lacking adequate closet space, but our solution leaves something to be desired. Our (only) closet has been aptly named "The Closet of Death," and it is so full we are quite literally afraid to open it. It's not uncommon for unsuspecting guests to get hit with falling rolls of toilet paper and paper towels.
Image credit: Minette Hand
Image credit: Minette Hand
Since there is no room for a dining table, Jean and Jeff eat here at the bar. Or, if the weather is nice, on the terrace.
Image credit: Minette Hand
The kitchen is small, making it tight quarters for cooking, but they are a great team. Also, there are so many great restaurants in their neighborhood, it's no problem!
Image credit: Minette Hand
They found the marmalade jar from the eBay wars of yesteryear!
Image credit: Minette Hand
Their private terrace as seen from above.
Image credit: Minette Hand
The views are incredible!
Image credit: Minette Hand
And just around the corner is the most beautiful garden area that's perfect for dinner parties. Thanks Jean and Jeff!
Image credit: Minette Hand
Loading House Tour...

Name: Jean and Jeff
Location: Lower East Side, NYC
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: almost 2 years, renting

Because they have an almost unheard of amount of sunlight streaming in, Jean and Jeff have stuffed their one-bedroom loft apartment on the Lower East Side with plants (supported with a great collection of funky vintage finds). In fact, these world travelers did such a good job of bringing the outdoors in that the whole place feels like one giant, peaceful tree house.

The vibrant living room is definitely the focal point of their apartment. They were immediately drawn to how suddenly the apartment opens up into a lofty atrium with 17-foot ceilings and a distinctive half-dome window...and knew they wanted to deliver a colorful first impression. The blue Room & Board sofa sets the tone. A team of perky, green philodendrons fills out the white space on the walls, creating the illusion of ivy.

The funky factor comes from the found goods from nature, as well as contemporary art created by their closest friends. Just a few items in Jean and Jeff's found collection are: a quartz collection they discovered in the Atacama Desert, a scotch diary with personal tasting notes of their favorite single malts, a seemingly unimposing "treasure map" rock Jean salvaged from the dirt in Canada as a child, and a 1937 ceramic Kahlúa decanter.

Ultimately, Jean and Jeff wanted their living space to synthesize the indoors and outdoors to create a seamless transition to their 200-square-foot private terrace — a truly envious element in an already envy-inducing home. They chose bamboo, grass, warm-toned hanging lights and natural, printed accent pillows for the outdoor oasis to evoke the feeling of peace, meditation and yes, some jungle vibes.

"We have fully embraced ambient rainforest and jungle soundtracks on YouTube to complete the morning aura."

Resources:

LIVING ROOM
Murphy Custom 81" Sofa — Room & Board
Live Edge Coffee Table — Aspen Wood Shop
Untitled Painting – in Blue – Max Arocena
Untitled Painting – in Black - Max Arocena
Woven Kilim Pillows — MoroccanTribal
Mud Cloth Pillows — Mondiale Lifestyle
Llama Wool Accent Pillows — Mondiale Lifestyle
Coasters — Concrete Cat
Vintage Berber Rug — eBay
Framed Silk Print — Vintage find from Indonesia
Farmer & His Wife Water Crock — Antique find
Infinity Lamp — Antique find
Blue Speckled Vase & Egyptian Salad Tosser — Antique finds Tangier Tile RETile — StickPretty
1937 Green Tiki Kahlua Decanter — Brooklyn Flea
Vintage Basket Set — TheVerdeBee
Yellow Accent Chairs — Wayfair
Turquoise Olive Oil Bottle — Antique find
Balancing Blocks — Noguchi Museum
Danish mid-century mirror — purchased from friend
Wool Sheep — Kaffe 1668
Wicker boat basket set — found in LES

KITCHEN
Serving Tray — Antique find
Baking Tin — Antique find
Handmade Ceramic Bowls — Kari Ceramics
Gaudi Tea Set — Casa Batlló
Yellow Sunflower Pitcher — from Portugal
Petrified Wood — Etsy
Milk Creamer — from Chile

PATIO
Banana Leaf Accent Pillows — PillowsCushionsOhMy
Outdoor Furniture — IKEA
Bamboo Wall — Saifee Hardware & Garden
Buddha Sculpture — Saifee Hardware & Garden
Lhasa Outdoor Rug — Fab Habitat

BEDROOM
0°N 0°W Prints – Colorfiction
Bed — IKEA
Desk — Wayfair
Dresser — Wayfair
Storage Basket — The Container Store
Pink blanket — from Chile
Suzani Bedspread — Mondiale Lifestyle
Candle Stick Holder — MoMa Design Store

Thanks, Jean and Jeff!


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