Wendy's Shoebox Studio

House Call

Name: Wendy
Location: Hell's Kitchen — NYC

My apartment is a 350 square feet studio apartment located in the heart of Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. I recently moved in back in February of 2010, so I've been living here about 4 months. I think it would make an great Apartment Therapy House tour because of the limited space as a studio. As most New Yorkers live in small spaces, I think it serves as a great example of how even a small shoebox of a studio can carry a sense of style without being cluttered beyond belief or bare walled and empty.

Apartment Therapy Survey
My Style: My style has evolved apartment to apartment…and trust me, I've been through quite a few in my 3 years in New York City. I would say right now it's a mixture of romance and country cottage — clean, simple and inviting.

Inspiration: My last few apartments have been very loud and bold (read: bright orange and green walls with zebra rugs etc) so I really wanted to create a "getaway" in a sense for my new apartment. I was very fortunate in finding a Manhattan apartment that actually faces the inside of a garden courtyard instead of the loud bustling streets. I wake up to sunshine filtering in through the trees which casts a lovely light into my apartment in the early morning. Not to mention, the birds (not pigeons) are always chirping. In that regard, I wanted to mirror that same sense of calmness and escape that my surroundings offered me.

Favorite Element: I'm a big fan of exposed brick. I think it brings a certain romantic yet raw edge to any apartment, so I was very pleased when I found this studio. Right now my exposed brick wall is a collecting a series of mismatched IKEA and vintage frames of friends and my own photography. Originally I had a somewhat straight line of frames in the same size/color but decided that was a bit too boring for something as beautiful and unique as exposed brick.

Biggest Challenge: When you've got the decorating bug and live in a 350 square feet studio, you've got to be careful in that you don't over decorate to the point where things stop looking perfectly placed and start looking cluttered. Storage also becomes a challenge too as space is severely limited and often is taken up by the big ticket items such as your bed, couch, desk etc. My solution to this was to get a desk with shelves that mounted to my wall which took advantage of the vertical space available. In terms of storage, I took advantage of the space above my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. I found that wicker baskets were perfect in terms of storage and carried more style than regular baskets. As you can tell, I'm also a big fan of wicker baskets.

What Friends Say: Most my friends think I am slightly insane for decorating to this extreme when I tend to move every year. I actually finished decorating this apartment (painting, assembling furniture, hanging up pictures, unpacking etc) all in one weekend. The few friends who have actually seen my apartment in person have actually asked me to come evaluate their apartments, so I'll take my insanity as a compliment.

Biggest Embarrassment: My bathroom. It's tiled black and pink. As hard as I've tried, I just can't get it to vibe with the rest of my apartment. For now, I just keep it clean and try to ignore it.

Proudest DIY: Bringing my apartment together in one weekend. I moved in on a Saturday morning to a blank canvas and by Sunday evening, it pretty much looked the way it does in the pictures. I'm very type A when it comes to finishing a project like home decorating. I really can't stop until it's done!

Biggest Indulgence: I am pretty thrifty as most of my home accents are furnished by IKEA, Craigslist, and random vintage shops along the way. That being said, my biggest indulgences are things found in vintage shops that have character. It could be $3 or $300. My latest purchase was a porcelain rose vase for $3.

Best advice: Treat your home like your dream mate. Make it into what you would like to come home to after a long day and what you would like to wake up to in the mornings. Both should bring a smile to your face immediately. That's exactly how I feel.

Dream source: I love anything vintage and old. There's a great shop in the East Village called "The Upper Rust" that I love and would love to outfit my entire apartment in all their unique pieces, however, I'm limited by space so that will have to hold off until I can upgrade to at least a one bedroom.

Thanks Wendy!

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