The Inside Out: John's High End for Low Cost Reno

Pin it button big

Name: John
Location: East Village/NYU land
Apartment Size: 800 square feet, one-bdrm condo
Favorite: the glass transoms between the bedroom and living room and the bathroom and living room
Motto: "clean, simple, warm"

John is an architect from Bermuda and he has wonderful taste, as all architects should. This being said, he has created a warm and, at the same time, very modern space out of what was a turn of the century converted Merchants Building apartment with dropped ceilings, constricted spaces, an outdated kitchen, and banal floors...

Pin it button big

Taking on the challenge, John knew that the greatest positive impact he could make would be to re-expose the ceiling beams, restore the full ceiling height, and stain the hard wood floors a dark walnut, throughout the apartment.

The second tier of impact comes from breaking out generous transoms between the kitchen and the bathroom and between the living room and the bedroom. Natural light invades darker areas and bounces in as many directions as possible. In the kitchen, there are varying planes above head, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright. John says that the goal was, with each of the structural changes, to make the space seem larger. Indeed, the space has a great feeling of openness and expansiveness.

It is refreshing to experience the components of modernism adapted to foster a softer, gentler, more comfortable environment. John calls himself "a bit of a modernist, but it has to be warm." Thus the liberal use of wood, browns, and oranges to contrast with the clean lines, the white walls and all the stainless steel in the kitchen. As most of the apartment is an open plan, John made sure to integrate each and every component into a unifying and complementary style.

According to John, "The construction took 3 months, the design work about 6 weeks but the
furnishing [of the apartment] has been an ongoing process of experimenting with collecting
pieces that are an eclectic mix of modern, somewhat ethnic/primitive and natural specimen."

As the slideshow will attest, the result is simply stunning. And as John will attest, it cost much less than you think.

Resources:

  • Aronsons Floor Covering For the cork floor tiles in the kitchen. In Manhattan.
  • Smith and Noble for window treatments. This is a very good do it yourself online and catalog shop with many choices.
  • Ikea: for cabinets and bedroom curtains.

Do you have an idea for a house tour? Let me know! jill@apartmenttherapy.com
For all House Tours, click here!
Originally Posted August 10th, 2005