House Tour: Margaret's Recession Proof Home

New York

Name: Margaret
Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Size: 775 sqft. 3-room rental
Years lived in: less than 1 year

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Last time we met Margaret, she was unpacking. Since that house tour, Margaret has worked hard and it shows! She painted and purged, found a place for all her things, bought and installed strategic lighting, and rearranged to make the best use of a somewhat unusual layout. Margaret let us know that it is still a work in progress and that she is open to suggestions...



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As a professional sustainability consultant and the organizer of Manhattan's Green Drinks, Margaret is always conscious of her carbon footprint. She knew that when putting together her home, her first priority would be to make the most of existing possessions. She knew she could accessorize with plants and art (her own original work as well as that of friends). And she knew that color was crucial.

The apartment has no closets so hiding clutter, and storing basics always has to be strategic. At times, like in the kitchen, Margaret uses her essentials as accessories, and others, like in the back room, Margaret makes use of beautiful boxes, trunks, and bins to keep her stuff under control.

The walk-through closet was a big challenge. Margaret installed shelves made of sustainable wood on both sides of the aisle and then covered the storage areas with bright curtains. Lastly, she installed overhead lighting in the center of the passageway. Now, the area looks neat and keeps potential messiness behind the hanging fabric.

For the bedroom, Margaret created a sort of trick on the eye by transforming her standing woven screen into a headboard &mdash but behind the long side of the bed rather than the short. The result is the illusion of a very luxurious daybed buried in pillows. Margaret again used curtains to conceal her open storage &mdash this time held on a suspension wire.

No question, Margaret's inexpensive, creative, and sustainable solutions have a big impact.

AT Survey
Style: French country / eclectic / my own original mix
Inspiration: Living in Vermont farmhouse for the earthiness; Berkeley, California for the plants; Spain for the color; France for the charm; and Argentina for my olive oil / food choices
Favorite Element:: Color and light
Biggest Challenge: Piles of paper, filling, storage
What Friends Say: Very cozy
Biggest Embarrassment: Small shower
Proudest DIY: Low shelving in living room and build-outs in walk through closet
Biggest Indulgence: The plants
Best Advice: Re-use / fix up / modify what you have already and spend money on plants – they bring an apt to life
Dream Source: My parents house!

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