Location: Upper West Side, NYC
Size: 650 sqft. rental
Years Lived In: 2+ years
During an eighteen-month stint in Boston, Marina acquired 95% of her current furnishings and nearly 100% of her design awareness, knowledge, and inspiration. She lived in the South End and spent most of her free time in the design shops, where she got to know the inventory and the owners very well.
When she moved back to NYC two years ago, Marina had just one weekend to find an apartment! Though it was far from ideal, it was very close to Central Park. Marina signed a lease on a cookie-cutter one-bedroom apartment in a brand new development. Though it was a world apart from the character-rich apartment she had left behind, Marina was determined to create a charming space that would be her home for the next couple of years.
"It's much easier to take [this apartment] and make it modern and crisp. It's much harder to achieve a warmth and elegance more often found in a Victorian." While it may have been a challenge, Marina managed to soften the space very successfully. In fact, within one day of moving in, she had recreated her cozy old Boston home. Since then, she's added a few new details, and continued to search for an apartment that would allow her greater flexibility to create something special.
Epilogue: Marina is moving out in a few weeks, as she has found the rental of her dreams — a loft space with a lot of exposed brick and a landlord who has granted Marina carte blanche on any changes she may wish to make. Stay tuned!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Style: Eclectic modern.
Inspiration: Thomas O'Brien / Aero Studios, Yancey Richardson's apartment — especially the stunning photography, Boston's South End decor shops
Favorite Element: My photography collection.
Biggest Challenge: Adding warmth and character to a cookie-cutter new development rental with a boring layout. Also, luring my downtown-dwelling friends to visit... having a full bar and basic mixology skills helps.
What Friends Say: "Sweet! Can you make me a drink?"
Biggest Embarrassment: Never getting around to installing some sheer drapes in the living room to cover up the views of the dull grey high-rise (a.k.a. "the mothership") across the street.
Proudest DIY: Ok, not a true DIY (I'm decidedly not handy) — but managing to transition all my furniture and belongings from a 1000+ square foot open loft in Boston into a classically small NYC one-bedroom was some accomplishment.
Biggest Indulgence: Definitely the upholstery. Years ago in Boston, I came across an unbelievable floor model sale at an otherwise pricy furniture shop. I came away with two sofas and a bed — hands down my best and most useful impulse buy ever.
Best Advice: Renters — choose versatile, compact furnishings that could suit different kinds of spaces. Unless you have the luxury or ample space and light, low and neutral-colored furniture complements small spaces better and makes the transition from one rental to the next easier and less costly. You can always add color and flair with accessories and interesting details.
Dream Source: Aero Studios, BDDW, ABC Home, 1stdibs
• Sofas: Cappellini, Cassina
• Sconces: Flos
• Coffee table: Oly Studio
• Lounge and dining chairs: Design Within Reach
• Side tables: Moroso
• Media cabinet: Mash Studios
• Dining table: Room and Board
• Credenza: Kartell
• Rugs: Overstock, Cowhides International
• Photographs —
• Bed: Flou
• Bedside tables: Design Within Reach
• Chairs: reupholstered antiques from Hudson Boston
• African stool: ebay
• Mirror: Anthropologie
• Benches: Oly Studio
• Rugs: Scandinavian Made, Pottery Barn
• Photographs —
• Mirror: Mirror Image
• Photographs —
• Pink tree: Uygur Yilmaz (via 20x200)
• Dresser and mirror: Anthropologie
• Linens: Matouk, various Etsy finds
• Pink tree: Jeremy Kohm (via 20x200)
• Lifeguards: Matt Albiani
(Images: Dylan Chandler)
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