Lauren and Carly's Long, Lofty Living

House Tour

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Designers: Lauren Held and Carly Hammerman
Location: Financial District, New York, New York
Size: 600 square feet

Tricky floor plans. A blank slate. A tight budget, and a tight timeline. And purely fictional clients, offering no style starting point in a range of raw and challenging spaces. These were the obstacles faced by five designers tasked with turning five empty apartments into inspiring (and rentable) homes while covering their past lives as office spaces. First up, Lauren and Carly, who paired up to bring feminine grace and industrial ingenuity to a bowling alley of a studio apartment.

Lauren Held and project partner Carly Hammerman weren't thrown any curves when asked to design one of five model apartments for Manhattan's Metroloft 116 John Street project down in the Financial District, a neighborhood undergoing a commercial-to-residential switch in the shadow of the growing and glittering Freedom Tower. But they were thrown a long lane of an apartment, to be designed for a fictional client on what most designers would consider a shoestring budget when taking a space from empty to move-in ready. How'd they do it? With gauzy sheers, some Miami inspiration, and a soft touch that tempered the apartment's loft character and hard-edged shape.

What floorplan did you get and what was the square footage? The 600 square foot large studio (or junior one bedroom since a resident could add a wall).

What was your decorating budget? $7000, all inclusive.

Who's your fictional client/resident? A single bachelorette or bachelor.

What was your inspiration piece or first decision made? The sheer white at the windows mixed with the industrial feel of the plumbing pipes and the sheer canopy around the bed.

What was your biggest splurge? Why? The sofa. Our goal was to accentuate the long length and narrow width of the space, especially in the 'living room' area. We chose a sofa that had a simple elegance to it and that we thought mimicked the shape of the space.

What "usual suspects" were on your shopping list? CB2, Overstock.com

What source will people find most surprising, given the budget? Overstock… free shipping is key!! People may not realize that this is the perfect place to find great items at a lower cost. Cutting out the cost of shipping is a great way to keep your budget on track… not to mention with Overstock, the turnaround time is very fast!

What were the biggest "builder basic" challenges in the unit? When building the bed canopy, we couldnt find a beam to anchor the pipes to… that was definitely a challenge for us, but we made it work! Plus, plumbing pipes are heavy!

How did you decide what and where to paint? We wanted to keep our space fresh, light and resort- like. We decided to paint just the living room area to differentiate that space from the rest of the apartment and to give it a bit of warmth.

What's the one idea someone should steal from your design? Using plumbing pipes as hardware for the windows for sure — everyone seems to be reacting to the lightness of the sheers mixed with the heavy industrial feeling of the pipes.

Don't miss: The hard/soft mix; the plumbing pipe "canopy" bed; furnishings creating their own zones; the almost all-white base punched up with turquoise accents; the over-scaled living room lamp.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I would describe my style in general as simple elegance with a bit of edge. My number one goal in all of my projects is to create a livable space that my clients can enjoy no matter what the circumstance.

Inspiration: The Shore Club in Miami gave us the grounds to start the project.

Favorite Element: The bedroom area of the apartment. The beauty of the bedroom is that it fits perfectly in a bachelor pad in New York, but it would also look fabulous in a house in Miami!

Biggest Challenge: Again, installing the plumbing pipes at the windows. Also, figuring out a general layout of the space that would make sense to a client coming in.

What Friends Say: They love the space!! The most consistent thing we have been hearing from everyone is that its' a space they would love to live in, and that is how we design.

Biggest Embarrassment:The plumbing pipes were delivered a bit too large, at 1-3/4 inch thick.

Proudest DIY: Putting together the bed.

Biggest Indulgence: Pearl River Mart… that place is accessory heaven!

Best Advice: Try not to buy everything from the same place. Shop around and mix it up to create an eclectic look that embodies your lifestyle.

Dream Sources: We love to shop at Ralph Lauren, and Dakota Jackson is a true favorite for contemporary pieces — also ABC Home.

Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

    • Living area: Benjamin Moore, Cork, 2153-40

ENTRY

    • Carved Wood Mirror: Pearl River Mart
    • Iron and Glass Console Table: Overstock.com

LIVING ROOM

    • Rug: Madeline Weinrib, ABC Carpet & Home
    • Ceramic Tufted Stools: Pearl River Mart

DINING ROOM

    • Ikat Pillows on Dining Chairs: C. Wonder

KITCHEN

    • Glass Candy Jars: Fish's Eddy

BEDROOM

    • White Tufted Bed: Overstock.com
    • Faux Fur Throw: Restoration Hardware

Thanks, Lauren and Carly!

(Images: Patrick J. Hamilton)

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