House Tour: Grady’s Great Personal Space

House Tour: Grady’s Great Personal Space

Maxwell Ryan
Sep 5, 2006

(This is new from Regina!)

Name: Grady
Location: Upper East Side, low 80's
Size: 300 sf studio
Years lived in: 6 weeks

Grady moved into his place only six weeks ago. Within those six weeks, he has been on a family vacation to Africa and out of town for several weddings. Still, though, he's found the time to thoughtfully begin making this apartment into his home.

This has meant, for him, the careful pairing of his dualities in taste: clean light with aged texture, new basics with found embellishments, and special features within a small budget. He has surrounded himself with posessions that have chosen him as much as he has chosen them – coming to him from friends or happened upon in a thrift store window.

The result is an unpretentious space that feels valued and well-considered. This is Grady's first embarkment on roommate-free living and with the new-found freedom of living alone, he is personalizing this space and relishing in making design decisions that work for him.

The artwork displayed in the apartment is made by friends or by Grady himself. The rug has been around for ages and the brick wall shows the use and wear of many years of tenants. Grady's used well-worn elements to add comfort and texture to a few basic storage units and the clean white envelope.

What is your favorite room?

There is only one room, so... Qualities of the space? High ceilings, great natural light (tall windows!), dark wood floors, and no big overhead light fixture. I don't like overhead lighting and am happy to have a clean, white ceiling in my main space and use more concentrated sources to light the space at night. And I love my couch (thrift store find).

What are your design inspirations/ sources?

I am a minimalist in spirit, but not always in practice. As much as I enjoy clean lines and clutter-free space, I do like to mix it up a little bit to reflect my own tastes and how I actually live. My apartment contains both clean, simple lines/furniture and found objects that bring a little bit of a rough-around-the-edges aesthetic into the apartment. My main goal has been to keep it open as possible and I have done this by maintaining white on white (painted cabinets, white shades, picture frames, etc.) wherever possible and using low-lying furniture that is raised off the ground.

Though the space is big enough for just me, it is tight. With that said, I still wanted to create different 'places' in the apartment so I wasn't always occupying the same corner and did this with the pinwheel approach to the furniture. I like not having everything centered around one function (like watching TV) and how every 'place' has access to natural light.

I always seem to choose very basic, natural colors and materials. Then I usually pull in one or two outside colors to break up the monotony. Last apartment, it was burnt orange. This time, it seems to be olive green.

Is there a problem area of the apartment where you just don't know what to do?

The non-functional fireplace. It is great having an element that brings a central focus to the entire space. But it is also frustrating as it takes away a wall to work with furniture-wise in such a small space.

Also, the bathroom. I like it. It works. But it isn't great. I want to bring a color in here or something, but I am pretty undecided about it all. Having a rental (versus owning) puts a lot of limitations on what I can and cannot do so I am kind of stuck at the moment.

What future projects do you have on the boards for your place?

Like I said, it's a rental so I don't feel like I can do much. I already painted the cabinets white to make the kitchen recede a little bit into the wall and I don't know if I am even allowed to do that. (Don't tell.) The dressing area needs the most work. It has so much potential, but right now it is just haphazard storage space. A headboard and more wall art is on the list as well.

- Regina

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