When Lex and Lynn moved into their one bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan, the view of the New York skyline took center stage. Their style was minimalistic — graphic black and white were favored over color for a look of grown up chic. But enter their daughter Lucy, and everything shifted. With the birth of their little girl, their style began to open up to include bursts of color and whimsical touches.
This couple proves that having a child doesn't mean having to sacrifice style to make room for baby. Remaining true to their design aesthetic, color and whimsy comes in the form of clean lines and stylized motifs. Colorful pieces such as pillows, carpet tiles and brightly painted wooden dolls from midcentury designers like Alexander Girard cheerfully brighten up the space.
If their home looks familiar, it's because the family was featured as part of our Small Cool 2012 Contest earlier this year. Readers were impressed by their use of small space to comfortably house two adults and a child, so I wanted to get their tips for adjusting to make room for additions to the family without moving into a larger space. They offered four tips that helped them make it work.
Tip # 1: Customize.
Now that a large percentage of their living room would be dedicated to their daughter, they had to find a new place for their computer station. To do this, they customized, renovating the front hall to remove the closet and turn the space into a comfortably sized entrance with enough room for their desk.
Tip # 2: Lighten Up.
They chose a number of pieces in acrylic, which helps to minimize the appearance of furniture and avoid a feeling of clutter.
Tip # 3: Build Up.
Removing the front closet meant losing precious storage space, so they added a closet to their bedroom that uses all the vertical space possible. Take a cue from the city of New York itself: when space is at a premium — build up.
Tip # 4: Multi-Task.
Another way the family has added storage without reducing the amount of livable space is by choosing furniture that can do double duty. You wouldn't know just by looking, but their bed was an Ikea hack that allows for invisible under the bed storage. They used the same concept in the living room. For the twin bed dressed as a daybed in Lucy's area, the same invisible storage system is in place. When a bit of extra privacy is required, a semi-opaque curtain has been installed and can be pulled out or retracted with the pull of a string. Perfect for an overnight guest.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Clean, contemporary and evolving. We used to be somewhat minimalist, too, but since having our daughter that obviously changed.
Inspiration: Living in New York is our greatest inspiration. We are exposed to so many stimuli and so many resources are easily available to us. It's easy to be inspired by this city. One just needs to be creative and have the passion to create the space they desire.
Favorite Element: Foregoing the biggest closet in our apartment for a dramatic entryway/office was a tough decision to make. We felt the need to do this in order to open up the narrow entry space and to create a visual impact when you first walk into the apartment. We achieved this by using the damask wallpaper and by our furniture choices. This area has served as backdrop of numerous self and family portraits as well :).
Biggest Challenge: Having a baby changes everything. We needed to create a space for her to play and learn without completely sacrificing our adult aesthetics. Also, we had our moms come over (alternating) to help us take care of Lucy in the beginning. So this Play area/Guest Room was created to serve both purposes. We are also still in the process of toddler-proofing our home.
What Friends Say: "Your apartment is so clean and organized. Lynn, where do you keep all your clothes and shoes?!?". Our floor to ceiling closets are filled to the brim and every awkward nook and cranny is seen as an opportunity for storage, including hacking our Ikea bed.
Biggest Embarrassment: Moving the living room to create the play area meant moving the TV as well. We didn't want to spend time and money on having electrical work done to have the cables inside the wall. So now we have cable cover kits running across our wall to the outlets. We are embarrassed to admit that working on this is still at the bottom of our priority list. Also, our building has been having façade repairs for months now, which means our little terrace is out of commission for the whole summer!
Proudest DIY: We are not big DIYers, but we are proud of not hiring professional help in the improvements done in our home — wallpaper, painting, installing shades, assembling our furniture, etc.
Biggest Indulgence: Chairs! So many beautiful chairs to choose from, so little space to put them in. This is also why we were ready to give up closet space in the foyer, because the extra space meant at least two more chairs that we can indulge ourselves with.
Best Advice: Like so many things in a marriage, with design it's important to be able to compromise and communicate with your partner. We are lucky that both of us have creating a beautiful and clean home as one of our top priorities. However, we both have strong opinions as well, which can lead to some disagreements. Over time, we learned that most of our successful home projects are true products of compromise.
Resources of Note:
- • Office Desk: CB2 Peekaboo Clear Console
• Office Chair: DWR Egoa Armchair
• Brazo Floor Lamp: Ylighting.com
• Lack Floating Shelves: IKEA
• Sunny Side Up Lounge Chair: White on White
• DNA Double Pendant Light: Interior-deluxe.com
• Fornasetti Rosenthal Decorative Plates: eBay
• Omersa Elephant Foot Stool: Northriveroutfitter.com
• Skjode Skjern Duck and Ducklings: eBay
• Zooline Monkeys: eBay
• Bullet Planter: DWR
• Damask Wallpaper: eBay
• Beocom Phone: Bang Olufsen
- • Hicks Dining Table: West Elm
• Louis Ghost Chairs: Kartell
• Linear Crystal Chandelier: Bowery, NY
• Pasha Transparent Chair: Pedrali Via Fab.com
• White Lacquer Cabinets: IKEA
• Fruit Loop Bowl: Momastore.org
• Clocks: IKEA
• Table Runner: Chilewich
- • Cubitec Shelving: DWR
• Diplomat Sofa: Blu Dot
• Bourgie Lamp: Kartel
• Mirror Side Table: Target
• Barcelona Lounge Chairs: Knoll
• Torsby Sideboard as TV Console: IKEA
• White Deer Head: Zgallerie
• Peekaboo Coffee Table: CB2
• Zebra Rug: eBay
• Maharam Pillow in Agency: DWR
• Bullet Planter: DWR
• Fornasetti Pillow: Barneys
• Baroque Mirror: Brocade Home
PLAY AREA/ GUEST ROOM
- • Carpet Tiles: Alexander Girard
• Cubitec shelving: DWR
• Sultan Alsarp Twin Bed with Storage as Daybed: IKEA
• Bemz Daybed Cover: IKEA
• Vintage Eames Fiberglass Rocker with Alexander Girard Fabric: eBay
• Pillows: Alexander Girard for UO, Missoni for Target, Natori
• Little Friend Adjustable Height Table: DWR
• Elise Floor Lamp: DWR
• Nativity by Alexander Girard: Houseind.com
• Hans Bolling Style Duck and Ducklings: eBay
• Toy Storage: Green Lullaby Via Gilt.com
• Alexander Girard Ply Prints: Maximodesign.com
• Matisse Les Velours Serigraph Print: Momastore.org
• Rolling Shade as Divider: Theshadestore.com
- • Bar Stools: Jensen-lewis.com
• Floating Shelf used as Bar: West Elm
• Subway prints: Pottery Barn
• Piggy Bank: Areaware
- • Malm Bed Frame and Sultan Alsarp Bed with Storage : IKEA
• Chinoiserie Duvet: Dwell
• Landare Tall Dresser: DWR
• Lampshades: Bed, Bath and Beyond
• Acrylic Side Tables: eBay
• George Nelson Sunburst Clock: Vitra
• Pax Wardrobes: IKEA
• Middle Colors Humidifier: Gizmine.com
Thanks Lex, Lynn and Lucy!
Images: Liana Walker
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