Inside Out: Alex's Hard Core DIY Apartment and Outdoor Mecca

Inside Out: Alex's Hard Core DIY Apartment and Outdoor Mecca

Jill Slater
Aug 27, 2007

Name: Alex
Location: West Village
Size: 525 sq. ft, 1 BR (plus 440 sq. ft. garden) rental in an 1846 former storefront/apartment
Years Lived in: 2 years

Alex is impressive! There are just no two ways about it. She can take on any project large or small. She owns and uses major power tools with aplomb--and this is all in her small West Village apartment!

She writes a blog for This Old House, and there, has beautifully documented each of her projects, from the radiator covers to the kitchen cabinets to the garden overhaul....

Do you have an idea for a house tour? Let me know! jill@apartmenttherapy.com

For all Inside Out tours, click here!

Always into crafts, Alex didn't take on heavy duty construction as a hobby until about 10 years ago. In that time she has learned a very succinct and wise lesson: "you better finish when you start or you won't!"

In terms of objects she didn't build herself, Alex describes her collection and home as "less decorated, and more acquired." And yet, she made sure to resist painting her walls white. With white, she says, "there is more pressure to add color through stuff."

The full impact is a classic and comfortable feeling home, full of purposeful, and at the same time, exquisite vignettes.

Apartment Therapy Survey:
Style: Grandma Chic

Inspiration:Oh, god, who knows. My mother and her sisters, I suppose, and the amazing collections of rugs and early 20th century furniture they've inherited and occasionally passed on. Some is Middle Eastern (my grandparents were Syrian), which is why I like elaborate tiles and fabrics. No one in my family shies away from bright colors, either (my aunts are artists). But I've also fallen for the clean lines and minimalism of Modern. Seems like a contradition, but it actually makes for an interesting design.

Favorite Element: Garden in the summer, cozy reading nooks in the winter

Biggest Challenge: Fitting all my stuff, while still acquiring more (i.e., de-cluttering)

What Friends Say: It feels like a real home. And "How do you manage to make it feel like home in such a short time?" (2 months after I moved in)

Biggest Embarrassment: lBrick orange laminate countertops (not my fault) and the three chairs that have been waiting to be reupholstered for 4 years now (definitely my fault)

Proudest DIY: Bookcases and cabinets around the fireplace. Also, total garden makeover.

Biggest Indulgence: Fabrics for throw pillows (which I rarely get around to making), bedding (I can't live without high-thread count sheets and a feather bed), plants for the garden (about $800 a year).

Best Advice: Wait, wait, wait before painting or buying large expensive pieces of furniture. Live in a room for a while before you decide how you want it to look. I've taken as much as a year to pick out a paint color and two years to buy a sofa.

Dream Source: I have absolutely no idea. I haven't seriously shopped for furniture in my life. Maybe a really high-end kitchen supplier so I could totally redo my space to be a chef's kitchen. There's room, I swear..

For all Inside Out tours, click here!
Originally Posted on June 13th, 2007
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