Inside Out: A showcase for those who transform their residences into homes
via innovative intervention
Jackson Heights, Queens
900 sq ft, 2-bdrm co-op
Years lived in:
Eight years, but family has been here for 55 years total
Lauren walks the fine line
of living in a family heirloom. She has the burdened pleasure of having inherited her grandmother's apartment, purchased by said grandma in 1952 for what was, according to legend, an $800 purchase.
Since then, living in and redecorating her apartment has incurred strong emotions in both Lauren and her mother.
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Lauren's mother considers each undusted surface in the apartment to be a sign of disrespect to Lauren's deceased grandmother. As a result of this and other stong attachments to the place, Lauren's home is clearly more than a place to store her shoes and come home to at night. It is a scrapbook and a repository, a museum, and a memorial to a family's life.
At the same time, Lauren is trying to negotiate her way towards a home over which she can feel a sense of ownership and design prowess. The process is not without a struggle, but Lauren is making great strides. Her home is full of wonderful vignettes that could only come about in a place with so much time under its belt.
Retro grandma plus street scavenger
Grandpa Victor’s paintings, Grandma Bea’s lost German childhood, my global travels, and other people’s discards
My grandparents’ sturdy and simple mid-century couch, which I re-covered in red velvet; a mannequin’s leg, which I use as a vase on top of the television; vintage chocolate molds from Belgium; Lots of color – red couch, green rug, blue wall.
Making the apartment feel like my place, since it had 50 years of family ghosts in it when I moved in. My mother and I struggled over nearly every change I made. It was hard to negotiate the complicated emotions – she had grown up in the apartment, and still grieves for her mother, who spent her last years there.
What Friends Say:
They usually fixate on my grandfather’s paintings, which are moody and surreal. And they gasp at how much space I have.
Piles and piles of magazines and newspapers. I can’t quite conquer them.
: I turned a little metal garden box from Ikea into my spice rack in the kitchen.
The green rug in my living room. Even at a sample sale, at 75 percent off, it cost more than just about anything else I own. But it’s a beautiful green, well-made, and if you look closely you see the unevenness in the color, which gives it depth and elegance.
Take your time finding things that you love and are within your budget. It took years for the apartment to feel like it reflected me, but now it does and I love everything in it.
The streets of Queens and Manhattan; small-town French flea markets (I’ve only been to one, but it was a gold mine); and a little vintage furniture shop on Hampton Street in Sag Harbor – I can’t afford anything in there but I like to visit and pet the merchandise.
Entrance with two little great coin holders on wall as art.