A Cozy “Hodgepodge” in a Manhattan Brownstone

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Name: Madeline
Location: Upper West Side — New York, New York

Madeline and Michael have blended their respective styles to make a cozy and comfortable home in a charming brownstone.

From Madeline: It’s a cozy little place on the fifth floor of a walk-up converted brownstone on what we think is the most beautiful street in New York. It feels a little bit like Sesame Street here, with old leafy trees down the block and familiar neighbors, one of whom has dubbed himself “the mayor of 89th Street.” The building was built around 1900 and the apartment maintains some of the beautiful original details, including a fireplace and pocket shutters.

We have lived here just shy of three years and have filled the apartment with things we’ve picked up from our travels. The masks in the living room are from Mali, the Aepyornis egg in the fireplace and the box of butterflies and beetles on the wall, are from Madagascar, the pillows on the couch are made from fabric I found in Yangon, and the pillows in the bedroom are from Spain and made from fabric I bought in Ougadougou. We also have the obligatory IKEA bookshelves filled to bursting with the spoils of two former Literature majors.

We met in Switzerland so have some vintage travel posters of Lugano (the town where we met) and some other maps from places we’ve been and loved, like Mount Shasta and Mount Desert Island. I’m also a bit obsessed with old family photos and have adorned the walls with several photos of my grandmother and her family on horseback as well as a personal favorite, my great-grandmother pretending to shoot my great-grandfather with a hunting rifle in Switzerland in the 1930s (he’s lying in bed with a wide grin on his face).

Michael is from the West Coast, so is less of a fan of the formal Queen Anne couch, but I am an East Coaster through and through so it stays. The trunk is my mother’s from her single days, and the marble top was added later after she and my father married. My dad had it cut specially at a place on the Bowery and carried it back to Washington Heights on the subway in the early 1970s. We picked up the rug in our bedroom from an am amazing little shop in Dorset, Vermont. They only took cash or check, none of which we had, so the very sweet store owner let us take the rug home and mail him a check.

It is a hodgepodge, but it’s ours, and we love it.

Thanks, Madeline !

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