Name: Andrew, Paul, Langston, Loki, and Linus
Location: Washington Heights — New York, New York
Size: 1,010 square feet
Years lived in: 4 — owned
Use "Upper West Side" and "Italian Greyhound" to set a New York scene, and the image might be of a staid brownstone, and a life that's a little old school. But when that Upper West is vibrant Morningside Heights, the Italians are high spirited rescues, and the mix is in the hands of a creative couple where saturated color and a devil-may-care attitude are all in a day's work, you get a very different picture. There's nothing still life about it.
Welcome to the home of five exuberant gents... an Oklahoma farmboy, his Texan partner, and those three frisky Italianos. It may sound a little bit like the cast of a questionable DVD, but they're all the occupants of a happy home with a serious sense of humor, and a definite point of view. It's a dog's life, at the home of Andrew, Paul, Langston, Linus and Loki.
Anyone who's met Andrew won't be at all surprised that his world is this colorful. This coulda been a contender in the annual Room for Color Contest, for sure. His longstanding "no-white-walls" rule was set in motion early, when he painted his teenage bedroom a high gloss black. (Note to moms: When your teen asks if he or she can paint their room, GET DETAILS. And veto power.) Every room struts a new hue, including "New York State of Mind," one of three blues in the living room alone. This place proves that designer chestnut: the very best home investment is a can of paint. Color was picked both on a whim and by design. The bedroom is Tiffany box blue just because, but the bright mango was chosen specifically to give an energy-inducing jolt to the home office. A pixilated Endora from Bewitched is perhaps the only image that could hold a candle to the tangerine-electric-dream walls.
Even though wall colors appear in the art, this is no "painting to match the sofa" kind of place. Art is one of the few things taken seriously here, but it's a lively mix, with graphic work of a scale and personality that holds its own against strong color, that long stretch of brick and the home's animated inhabitants.
Against the painted walls, the furniture shines, too, the pale wood of the dining table and chairs against vibrant blue a perfect example. Color contrast isn't the only reason this blonde bombshell stands out, though... the Heywood Wakefield set is one of the only splurges made in pulling the place together. Most everything else hails from the Unofficial Apartment Therapy "Shopper's Hall of Fame:" Craigslist, eBay, IKEA (note the ubiquitous PS Locker), and CB2 (the living room Suzani-patterned rug, on clearance, even!). Andrew's been known to do a little celebrity design stalking... he had his eye on Jonathan Adler's ceramic greyhound, and pounced when it went on sale at a rare Gracious Home closeout. "I always want a deal. I'm not sure if that means I'm savvy or just cheap," jokes Andrew, with his trademark laugh and twinkle.
Andrew is a longtime Apartment Therapy fan, with kitchen cabinets to prove it. He found his own Cure, Kitchn style, and like many readers, he's a fan of the creative home hack... like papering the inside of those cabinets with wallpaper remnants from a client photo shoot— Andrew is a well-connected home décor PR industry insider (with Strohl&Co.). But even with ready access to the real deal, he's happy to go with the faux: a too-good-to-be-true Craigslist deal for a Phillippe Starck golden gun lamp turned out to be a spray painted counterfeit, but Andrew shows it off, and tells the story, without apology or hesitation.
While Andrew is the hardcore interiors enthusiast, Paul's own decorating hand is highly evident in the transformative power of light fixtures to set the tone of a room. This Texas boy wasn't afraid of a little bling… a modern chandelier in the kitchen, traditional in the master bath and office. In each space, the fixtures shine, and with a definite wink. This is not your Grandma's crystal. That chandelier, and a shower curtain are the only real add-ons in the Master Bath, but they turn the room from builder basic to highly personal. That's a valuable lesson to the renter, since both changes are easily reversible when the lease is up.
Their longtime commitment to rescues means considerable puppy proofing, but Andrew and Paul have not sacrificed style for practicality. FLOR tiles (in a handsome wood grain and funky paisley) and an indoor-outdoor recycled plastic rug in the office were choices where style refused to be upstaged by function. But the racy Italians have more than just the run of the house; they are very much part of the culture here. The dogs appear in a most stylish game of "Where's Waldo?": found in Schumacher fabric on the dining room chairs, the Alder figure, a John Derien plate and high-style photography.
It's no wonder these dogs are idolized in art and image here as they have been through history. The Italian Greyhound breed is stylish, sophisticated, sleek and whistle-worthy, but a little devilish, boisterous and playful. The apartment is of the same breed, and come to think of it, so are Andrew and Paul. Woof!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: "Frat Boy Chic." Modern, whimsical with a nod to the traditional, liberally peppered with a sense of humor.
Favorite Element: The play of color, of course!
Biggest Challenge: Our three rescue Italian Greyhounds are not 100% potty trained. We bought a wool silk blend rug for the back bedroom but quickly found that the back bedroom/office was where they would go in the house. Our solution was to buy a rug from recycled bottles that could be easily cleaned in the tub. Underneath we put down plastic paint drop cloth to protect the floors.
What Friends Say: Funny, I don't think people can usually say this about a big blue room but what most people say is that our home is "warm." I think warmth is the best thing that can be said about your home. Nice view, good furniture, good design are all great accolades but warm and welcoming is where it's at. I hope that part of our personality lives in the home and that is part of the welcoming feel people get.
Biggest Embarrassment: When we moved in, we were anxious to get everything painted. We thought this was clever to paint before things were moved in. Next time we move into a new space I want to live in it, feel it, understand how it breathes before we choose colors. Overall we did a great job but the kitchen was a debacle. We painted it peach to match the backsplash and cabinets. I found I really hated that much peach and it did not flow with the dark, moody blue hues we choose for the living room/dining room. To make matters worse we picked blinds that matched the peach almost perfectly. I just couldn't live with the peach. I also didn't want to replace the blinds so my solution was to paint the kitchen a metallic grey that brought out the depth of the stainless steel appliances and to leave the interior of the window peach which still accented the backsplash and hue of the cabinets.
Proudest DIY: Painted the entire apartment, including ceilings in both bedrooms, as well as a wall of wallpaper in the bedroom and the inside of our kitchen cabinets.
Biggest Indulgence: Our Heywood-Wakefield pieces.
Best Advice: I love the tip that Jamie Drake gives in interviews from time to time: Re-edit constantly to keep things fresh and new. He says to keep a closet or box of some kind where you put things away but are able to go back to them reshuffle the mix.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- • All paint, Benjamin Moore
• Liquid Mercury, PT-350
• Inside window frame: Whispering Peach, 2014-60
• Wall next to kitchen: New York State of Mind, 805
• Window wall: Mozart Blue, 1665
• Wall leading to hall: Sea Reflections, 1664
• Delightful Yellow, 335
• Sunflower Fields, 174
• Florida Keys, 578
- • Paintings on brick wall: Bill Fiddler
• Carpet: FLOR, Martha Stewart Collection, Faux Bois
• Antique frames from Andrew's grandmother's house, painted Benjamin Moore "Amorous." The photos were taken of a original Marilyn Minter prints at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
• Two oval concentric stripe paintings: Bill Fiddler
• Faux Starck lamp: eBay
- • Sofa: Carter, Craig's List
• Coffee Table: IKEA
• Media cabinet: IKEA
• Rug: CB2 (discontinued)
• Chair: Pottery Barn
• Yellow painting by TV: Painted by Andrew
• Napoleon print: Purchased in an antiques store in the mission in San Francisco
• Jeweled Rubik's cube: Client promotional giveaway
• Fossilized stump table: Clodagh Collection
- • Dining set: Heywood-Wakefield
• Oil painting: Bill Fiddler
• Chair upholstery fabric: Schumacher "Diamond Dogs"
• Curio cabinet: Antique, from the Pearson Estate
• Two oils above cabinet: Joel Grossman, Chelsea flea market
• Orb lamp next to Adler ceramic dog: Gift from the home of Doris Hamilton (aunt)
• Wood stool/table: Clodagh
• Python bowl: John Lyle Design
- • "Wallpaper": Schumacher "New York, New York" from the Saul Steinberg collection
• Appliances: GE
• Dragonflies: Umbra
• Artwork: Fornasetti and Davinci prints taken from books and magazines, an antique from Rome and a dog print from mail order company.
• Black canister set: Jonathan Adler
• Light fixture: Design Within Reach
- • Bed: Gothic Furniture
• Dresser: Heywood-Wakefield
• Bed cover: Overstock.com
• Large silver cuckoo clock: Angel Thrift Shop
• Silver skulls: Vincon, Barcelona
• Bird decals: ferm LIVING
- • Shower curtain: Bed Bath and Beyond
• Chandelier: eBay
• Needlepoint: Andrew's sister
- • Chairs: Dakota Jackson
• Rug: Mad Mats
• "Endora" art: Toban Nichols
• Images on radiator: taken from New York Calendar
• Shelving unit: IKEA
• Simpson's cell: Animation Collection
Thanks, Andrew and Paul!
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