Name: Natasha Jakubowski, Richard Fine and baby Silas
Location: West Village — New York, New York
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 4 — owned
Many people would most likely shy away from the challenge of converting a sixty-year-old doctor’s office into a welcoming abode (perhaps it’s the dreaded childhood memories of those painful shots). But like human x-ray machines, imaginative couple Richard and Natasha could see the potential for an inviting home in the fantastic bones of an aging clinical office.
Though it may seem a bit strange, Natasha Jakubowski and Richard Fine must have been destined to live in this physicians office. Natasha, who works at the cutting-edge advertising agency Anomaly, was collecting vintage, medical-inspired artwork from Ebay before she even met her husband, Richard. As the founder of Help Remedies, a line of inviting healing products with cheery packaging, Richard clearly has ties to the health-oriented world as well.
When apartment hunting four years ago, the couple stumbled upon the workplace of a recently retired West Village doctor – complete with examination rooms, file cabinets, and framed certificates on the walls (we've included some "before" pictures in the gallery, as well). As a master detective of quirk, Natasha knew the space had charm and, most importantly, a great floor plan that she could work with. Small renovations such as pulling up the carpet, stripping the front door, and adding eye-catching wallpaper cured the space of it’s dated feel, and has resulted in a charming, family-friendly space – perfect for entertaining. Natasha recently gave us some insight into their design challenges as she and Richard (and precious baby, Silas) graciously welcomed us into their colorful and unique home. Now if only all doctors offices could be this inviting!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
OUR Style: Our style is bright and friendly with a mixture of old and new treasures. I have a love of odd objects – especially ones that add an element of humor to our home.
Inspiration: I would have to say Ebay has been a huge inspiration, especially concerning our color scheme. I discovered a few things I loved on the site, and the next thing you know, I had an orange and blue apartment.
Favorite Element: The Lizzie Allen wallpaper in the baby’s room and the Cole & Son wallpaper in the living room just add so much to the apartment. I really think it would be such a completely different home without these.
Biggest Challenge: When we moved in we asked ourselves, how do you completely gut a place without spending a ton of money? We didn’t do unnecessary and expensive renovations. I knew the lay-out was great, so we stayed true to it - and simply improved upon it. For example, instead of completely redoing the floors, we decided to just patch them up and stain them a darker color to camouflage the new pieces. I love the color of the floors now, they remind me of the halls from my high school in London.
What Friends Say: I think it’s the kind of place that you either love - or think the color scheme and treasures are a bit weird. Our friends are over a lot as it’s a very social, open space – we love having dinner parties.
Biggest Embarrassment: Definitely our small bedroom! I’ve had our bed since I moved to New York eleven years ago and I would definitely love to be able to have more space in there.
Proudest DIY: We upgraded the kitchen mainly with Ikea, and even though it’s small, the set up is great and allows Richard to have enough space to cook quite a lot.
Biggest Indulgence: I have to mention the Lizzie Allen screen-printed wallpaper in the baby’s room again. It’s gorgeous, but pricey, so we chose to just put it on one wall. I’m pretty sure that wallpaper ended up being more expensive than our couch!
Best Advice: Before tackling renovations, always look at the bones of the place and flow of the rooms before you do anything. If you can get away with just pulling up carpets, cleaning, and making minor changes, you’ll feel like you’ve altered much of the space – without having to spend a ton of money.
Dream Sources: Ebay is my number one source – I’m not one to just stop into a fancy design store and grab the first interesting thing I see. I love the hunt involved with Ebay and from big furniture pieces to unique trinkets, I am always amazed by what you can find. Before the baby, I used to go to flea markets much more often - but now I do the majority of my shopping online, specifically Ebay and Etsy.
Resources of Note:
- • Pillows on Couch: Jonathan Adler
• Blue Velvet Couch: Found in a shop in Soho, but can’t remember the name of the store!
• Vintage Orange Chairs from the 1960’s: Ebay
• Wallpaper: Cole & Son
- • Cabinets: Ikea
• Light: Icon Lamp by Kartell
• Dining Room Table: Crate and Barrel
• Highchair: Giggle
MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM
- • Embroidered Pillows: Valentines Day gift from Natasha to Richard, handmade
• Johnson & Johnson Vintage First Aid Kits: Ebay
- • Crib: Amazon.com
• Mobile: Alexander Calder (purchased from the MoMA store)
• Uten.Silo Wall Organizer
• Hand Screen-Printed Wallpaper: Lizzie Allen
Thanks, Natasha and Richard!
Images: Mat Sanders
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