A 500-Square-Foot NYC Home Is So Beautiful—And Filled with Mostly Secondhand Stuff

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Name: Nick Glimenakis
Location: Washington Heights, NYC
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 500ish square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am a travel and documentary photographer originally from New Hampshire. I studied Outdoor Education in Colorado before setting up camp in New York and have lived in Washington Heights for the last eight years. I’ll celebrate three years in this apartment in April. This is a reflection of my travels, my photography, and my love for right angles. My environment as a photographer is always changing so it’s important to me to have a space that’s both inspiring and calming.

I found the apartment late one night on PadMapper and saw so much potential. I moved in a week before a trip to Cuba and knew I’d return with plenty of inspiration. The first purchase I made was the burnt Sienna sofa, a rare find on AptDeco. At 85″ wide, it was a perfect fit for my long and outstretched body. I had to Couch Doctor it to get it through the front door but it’s been an amazing companion through plenty of Netflix binges. Once that was in and reassembled, I started bringing in blacks and creams to complement it.

Most of the items were purchased secondhand or found on the street. I didn’t have a huge budget but knew I wanted something that felt like an escape from the city. I wanted the tone of the space to match my clothing style: lazy day basics. Nothing too bold or attention-grabbing—less the orange sofa—and something functional and comfortable. I wanted it to look good dressed up and even better dressed down. I hope to one day move all these items into a future beach house but for now, I at least try to imagine having an ocean view out the windows instead of a brick wall.

What is your favorite room and why? I spend the most time in the living room. My favorite aspect is the transition from day to night. In the morning, it’s bright and inspires coffee with The Martini’s “Hung Over” playing in the background. At night, the lighting is low and demands another Negroni, with something like “Che Vuole Questa Musica Stasera” by Peppino Gagliardi playing.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I found a collapsible Domino table in a garbage pile in my neighborhood. It’s probably my favorite thing in the apartment.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Modern Minimalist meets Contemporary Coastal

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t rush it. It’s great to have a plan but the more you live in the space and understand how it makes you feel, the better off you‘ll be in sourcing items for making a home that feels most like you.

This submission’s responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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