Location: Riverdale, The Bronx
Size: 1550 sqft three-bdrm coop
Lived in: 1.5 years
Sara is an architect and interior designer. When she found a 3-bdrm coop in Riverdale, entirely covered in mirrors — walls, ceilings, doors, door knobs, light switches, crown moldings, inside the kitchen cabinets, the bathroom built-in cabinets, behind the plumbing fixtures and on the balcony — she bought it and couldn't wait to rise to the challenge of transforming it into a sophisticated yet comfortable home for her family.
Flipping tradition on its head, Sara took the smallest bedroom in her new apartment, annexed a space for a walk-in closet, and turned it into the home's master bedroom. She believes "small bedrooms are more romantic, sexy and cozy than a huge bedroom." Even if you have a very large bedroom, Sara suggests breaking it up into smaller activity areas rather than putting a bed in the middle of an empty room. In this apartment, Sara's 4-yr old is blessed with the largest bedroom! According to Sara, this unusual choice better facilitates toy and stuff containment. Her child has a lot of space to play and is encouraged to keep his toys in his room.
Sara's other big decorating tip is to "use neutral colors in different shades." For example, rather than painting the ceiling white, Sara suggests using "a shade of white that compliments the wall color." For the bedroom ceiling, Sara used a white with a touch of yellow called Mayonnaise. And in the living room, she used a white with a touch of blue. Through the use of colors and dead spaces, Sara likes to create open spaces that don't feel cramped, but that can accommodate a lot of stuff behind closed doors.
When you start out with something as bizarre as this coop was when Sara found it, it's extra satisfying to compare and contrast. Sara's home feels spacious and warm simultaneously. Although there is a lot of use of color, it never gets overwhelming. It subtly affects the space without directly affecting the person in the space. More classic than modern, any visitor would feel well cared for.
Style: Contemporary European
Inspiration: Living/working in different countries
Favorite Element: colors
Biggest Challenge: coop's regulations
What Friends Say: They absolutely love it, but didn't know what to bring as a house warming gift that would preserve the space's serenity and calm.
Biggest Embarrassment: none
Proudest DIY: designed and supervised the entire renovation
Biggest Indulgence: tiles
Best Advice: First ask an expert then do whatever you want to do.
Dream Source: traveling