Tara & Ari Living It Up Downtown

House Tour

Name: Tara, Ari, daughter Theory and Jasmine the dog
Location: Financial District, NYC
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 3

Walking into the ground floor of Downtown by Philippe Starck is quite an experience. The chandelier in the lobby is HUGE and more of an installation than just a mere light fixture. Philippe Starck is known for playing with scale and the lobby and other common areas in the building reflect this. Tara, Ari and Jasmine moved in 3 years ago. Their very welcome new addition, Theory, was born 6 months ago. The evolution of the apartment from a home for a working couple with a dog to a growing family has been a study in DIY rearranging and custom projects.

Tara and Ari were lucky to inherit a beautiful collection of Monteverde Young furniture from Ari's grandparents and the collection helped to anchor the rest of the pieces and style they have chosen. Originally, the elevated loft area was an office for both Tara, a doula, and Ari, an anthropologist working in brand marketing. When Tara found out she was pregnant, the obvious choice for the nursery was the upstairs but where would an office go? The innovative solution was to utilize the length of the living room wall and have a custom cabinet built that not only would provide extra storage but house a workstation as well. The bookshelves installed above it complete the functioning but unobtrusive office area.

One piece of furniture in particular has a great story of its own — the changing table in the nursery was a set of tool chests custom made by a shop in Oakland. Ari originally bought them for his own woodworking at an auction when he was living in the Bay Area and they came with tools inside. Later the chests provided perfect desk supports for his office. During the rearranging of office and nursery, Tara discovered that the tops of the chests were a perfect fit for a changing pad and voila — they had their changing table! A perfect example of using what you have already to adapt to changing needs. Pun intended!

Many of the personal touches to the home are items picked up during travels. Ari traveled quite a bit doing research as an anthropologist and started collecting bugs which he would capture and ship home via FedEx to be pinned and mounted later. The textile above their bed was also brought back from a trip and the cabinet under the aquarium and the chair at the end of it were made from wood bought in Bali.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Modern Natural History

Inspiration: Darwin

Favorite Element: Water — The Amano Design Aquarium from Japan. The light casts a water image on the ceiling that dances around the room

Biggest Challenge: open space — where to put an office

What Friends Say: "Very homey for a loft" and "Who is into the bugs?"

Biggest Embarrassment: When the fish tank is green. NYC water has lots of phosphate in it so the right filter is needed and the water has to be changed often.

Proudest DIY: Large framed fern leaf in entryway

Biggest Indulgence: Custom built cabinet throughout living room and dining room space.

Best advice: Start with having a clear reflection of your aesthetic. Kind of like the mood board you would create if you were going to work with a designer. Ours combines mid-century modernism, Bauhaus, contemporary Japanese design, and a touch of 19th Century naturalism. Comfy with a little bit of a museum theme. Once you have your aesthetic, you have to be opportunistic in picking up elements that integrate well. We then extended this look into things like the built in cabinet.

Dream source: Henry Built

Resources of Note (furnishings, hardware, appliances & materials):

Paint & Colors:
Non VOC paint called Mythic available at Pintchick Hardware in Brooklyn
Orange paint is called Sweet Sunrise
Not sure on the grey paint- maybe Grecian Grey?
Paint on closet in nursery and on side of stairs leading up to nursery is black Mythic paint that Ari mixed iron powder in to make it magnetic.

Entry:
Console on side with mirror found on eBay
Chest with large fern leaf on it is Monteverde Young

Kitchen:
Lamps from Flos
Rug from FLOR

Living Room:
Side table Monteverde Young
Rug from FLOR

Dining Room:
Table, chairs and mirror over table are all Monteverde Young
Pendant lamp is Moser by Louis Poulsen

Bedroom:
Nightstands and bed are Monteverde Young
Lamps on nightstands from Ligne Roset
Bed linens from DwellStudio
Crib set from DwellStudio
Crib is Little Kids Manhattan Crib by Litto
Closet from IKEA
Textile over the bed by Elna Kaasik from Estonia

Bathroom:
Shelf brackets from Rakks
Shelves from West Elm

Office:
Long custom built cabinet by Andy Monteleone
Bookshelves from Rakks

Nursery:
Painting by Robert Antler, Tara's stepfather
Dog bed from Bella Dogga
Dark chest is Monteverde Young

(Thanks, Tara, Ari, Theory and Jasmine!)

(Images: Sparrow King, #23 taken by Ari Nave)

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