Name: Rajiv Fernandez
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 540 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years
I am a freelance architect, artist and children's author. I founded my company Lil' Icon in 2017 that does design to make you think and wink. The premise for my design company is evident in the apartment — sophisticated in base palette with pops of fun in the accessories. I originally hail from Iowa and moved to NYC for grad school 10 years ago. I enjoy a good slice of pizza, but will gladly dip it in Ranch, like a true Iowa boy.
It's a 540-square-foot bachelor pad that I renovated from a drab and outdated space to one that is bright and open. It's ideal for entertaining, but the brightness can be rough for a hangover! During the renovation, I reclaimed a lot of unused space in column box-outs and awkward niches. This added more storage while maintaining the same footprint. The palette is monochrome accented with earth-tone materials. The accessories, which are a mix of items from my childhood to new self-designed art, give the apartment character.
What is your favorite room and why? The Kitchen. As a kid I was fascinated by fridges that looked like cabinets! Integrating the appliances into the millwork is a sophisticated solution to having your kitchen in your living room. The fridge/freezer has integrated millwork panels as does the dishwasher drawer beneath the sink. All other cabinets are for storage. The electric speed oven also doubles as a microwave, which is more commonly found in Europe. This was a huge space saver. The adjacent pantry and bar adds more counter space and can be closed off when not in use. The kitchen always ends up being the space where people hang out at parties, so since it is open it feels more like an extension of the living room.
Describe your home's style in 5 words or less: Modern Adult Meets Fun Child
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I wish there was an in-unit washer/dryer because that is the ultimate New York dream.
Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec because it has sophisticated style with elements of sentiment and bravado.
What's the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The large Coogi print and the smaller "Baby to Brooklyn" prints that I designed.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Live in it for a while. If I had renovated the place before I lived here I would have put a partition up where the sleeping alcove is, and that would have made the space feel a lot smaller. Make sure to design for the 50 weeks of the year you live alone, not the two when you have visitors.
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