Elizabeth & Nick’s Attic Apartment in Manhattan

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Andrea Sparacio)

Name: Nick and Lizzie Johnson
Location: Meatpacking District / Chelsea, New York City
Size: 1 Bedroom
Years lived in: 18 months

Nick and Lizzie relocated from London to New York during a rough week; Hurricane Sandy had just hit and they were about to face some apartment-seeking challenges. Narrowing their search to areas unaffected by the storm, they fell in love with Chelsea and the West Village. The place they were about to settle into came with its own set of challenges though: an old attic space with sloped ceilings and dark corners. Despite this, the couple really made it work as the inside feels tall, bright and airy.

(Image credit: Andrea Sparacio)

I was drawn to this unique space back in May from Elizabeth’s House Call. Lizzie had talked about the decisions they made and their evolving style. Once inside, you are greeted with beautiful natural light and an adorably friendly cat named Oli. The sun drenches both rooms, pouring in from the slanted windows at its highest peak, opening up what could otherwise feel claustrophobic. The white walls and minimalistic design keep things light. The choices they made were thoughtful to fit size, budget, and decor taste. Oli enjoyed having his photo taken and was eager to show me around. Even his litter box in the bathroom is modern and sleek; the cat enters from the top rather than side to keep litter traction at bay.

Nick, Lizzie and Oli have since moved back to London, but I’m glad they shared their NYC stay with us. Nick Johnson works in finance with small start ups; Lizzie Johnson is a pediatric physical therapist and can be found on her blog Sunny State Up. Best of luck to you both!

(Image credit: Andrea Sparacio)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style has changed and evolved over time, especially since living abroad. I guess right now it’s a mix of country and vintage but we also love our trusty Scandinavian ikea pieces.

Inspiration: Pinterest has been great at inspiring us and really helped problem solve some of our storage and space issues. I also love blogs like design sponge and of course apartment therapy for great ideas.

Favorite Element: Lizzie- I love the light that we get in our bedroom and how the sun streams through the windows in the summer.

Nick – I love our ceiling, its so quirky!

Biggest Challenge: Making the most of the space because of the ceiling height was challenging at times and choosing furniture that would fit but also that we could take with us when we move. We had a play around with furniture placement in order to maximize our space but we found this arrangement works best for us.

What Friends Say: It feels so homey and ‘British’!

Biggest Embarrassment: I stained our wall shelves a dark wood stain but found that it made that corner of our apt so dark, especially as there is no natural light in that area so I decided to paint them white. I never got round to finishing them off, so the bottom shelf behind the sofa is still dark wood stain!

Proudest DIY: I think it was the TV cabinet that I found on the street that was originally purple with silver fixtures so I spray painted it. I didn’t do a great job and you can tell if you get too close, but it completely transformed the trunk and is so useful to store all our, I mean Nick’s, wires and cables, etc!

Biggest Indulgence: We had a very tight budget as we had just relocated from the UK, so I don’t feel like we had many big indulgences, apart from maybe our sofa which is a sofa bed, a worthwhile investment though for all our guests we’ve had to stay!

Best Advice: Take your time to furnish and decorate, finding pieces you really love. My natural tendency is to rush into buying the furniture, whereas Nick is much more thoughtful and cautious which has meant that we really value what we buy.

Dream Sources: I wish we’d have discovered West Elm whilst furnishing our apartment!

(Image credit: Andrea Sparacio)

Resources of Note:


  • Rug-Overstock
  • Sofa Bed-Ikea
  • Coffee Table trunk – Housing Works
  • Wall shelves – Ikea
  • Chesterfield Chair – found on the street in London
  • Stool/side table beside arm chair –handmade by a friend


  • Stools- thrifted
  • Plate rack -Ikea

  • Bed-Ikea
  • Wardrobe-Ikea
  • Chest Of Drawers-Originally my Dad’s desk as a young boy
  • Desk – Ikea
  • Rug – Ikea

  • Bath Mat – Target
  • (Image credit: Andrea Sparacio)

    Thanks, Elizabeth & Nick!

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