House Tour: Nicole Halves her Haven

New York

Name: Nicole
Location: Upper West Side
Size: 463 sqft. studio rental in Mitchell Lama building
Years lived in: 1 month

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Nicole sacrificed a spacious one-bedroom in Queens for a reduced rate, rent-controlled studio in Manhattan with incredible views. She then faced two challenges. Her former home was twice the size of her new apartment, and her new apartment was in very bad shape when she signed the lease...



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Luckily, Nicole, an art teacher at a chinatown public school, is both resourceful and relentlessly energetic. She had the apartment fumigated and then painted all the walls and laid down (removable) click-lock hardwood flooring. At the same time, she purged and purged and purged until she arrived at a modest and meaningful inventory of possessions.

Nicole loves to cook so she made sure to keep her favorite cooking paraphernalia. She also likes shoes so she made sure that her closet would accommodate her collection in a neat and efficient manner. Proper feng-shui is a priority for Nicole so each decision, each arrangement, and each corner of the apartment reflects that approach to design.

Because Nicole is incredibly organized, she documented and planned her month-long transition via a 3-ring binder. It's full of before photos of the new apartment, old furniture she would bring with her, the various options for new purchases, and floor plans of the new space. She's still working on the closets and hanging a few more great prints, but already, the cleanliness and crisp lines of the space bring her great pleasure. She is thrilled with the transformation and knows she will never tire of the sun rising over St. John's Cathedral.

AT Survey
Style: contemporary
Inspiration: clean lines of a NYC loft
Favorite Element: furniture arrangement
Biggest Challenge: The small space and awkward use of sq. footage. Also, the stained tile floors, and the roach infestation.
What Friends Say: “Wow. It looks and feels so much bigger”. “It feels fresh and yet cozy in here.” “I cant believe it’s the same place.”
Biggest Embarrassment: Feng-shui thwarting, clutter filled, hallway closet
Proudest DIY: The paint job.
Biggest Indulgence: The click-lock wood laminate flooring
Best Advice: In a studio, keep the decorative items (vases, sculptures, etc.) to a minimum for a clean look. Create good, hidden, yet accessible storage space for your paper work, bills, etc. To keep the energy moving, avoid storing things on the floor, and avoid any clutter on floor and in corners. Always avoid wearing shoes in your home.
Dream Source: IKEA is amazing

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