Francis’ “Living the Dream” Garden Apartment
Location: Hell’s Kitchen; New York, NY
Size: 560 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; rented
Time Hosting on Airbnb: 3 Months
As a youngster growing up in Greece, Francis says that he was enchanted by Liza Minnelli’s classic “New York, New York” – and always dreamed of living there. True to his dream, he became a professional ballet dancer, studied in Europe, and then finally packed two suitcases and a few thousand dollars and set out across the ocean.
Francis now lives in a dream apartment just a few blocks from Times Square, complete with a backyard barbecue and cozy outdoor breakfast nook draped in ivy. He’s made some nuanced but jaw-dropping renovations to his rental home, and the effect is modern, expansive, and cozy.
A new Airbnb host, he is finding it a familiar role – he loves to have people over, and enjoys sharing his passion for the city with newcomers. If you stay with him, you will not only be treated to a fine cup of coffee, but also an inside scoop on the city that few others can offer (he has performed on Broadway, TV, and also owns a growing interior design company called Greek & Handy.)
Francis first rented out his bedroom when his roommate was home and he wanted to take a vacation to Greece (the money that he made through Airbnb was used to cover his rent and pay for extra amenities on his vacation). His roommate has since moved out, and Francis is now renting his extra bedroom through Airbnb while he looks for a new roommate.
We love how Francis makes the most of his space – both with ingenious storage solutions and with gorgeous art and design. He has created a true oasis in the middle of the big city.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Comfortable luxury with a classic urban feel.
Inspiration: Mid-century influences and New York City.
How/Why Did You Decide To Host on Airbnb? My roommate recently moved out of NYC, so I decided to turn his room into a guest room. I thought it would be a good opportunity to help with rent.
Do you rent out a shared room, private room, or your entire home/apartment? A private room.
Favorite Element: The dropped ceiling in the living room with cove lighting.
Biggest Challenge: Storage and wardrobes – I had to install Pax wardrobes from IKEA with sliding glass doors.
Proudest DIY: Installing dimmers throughout my home.
What Friends Say: “Wow! Your place is nice, Francis!”
How long have you been hosting? Three months.
What kind of guests have you had? I’ve hosted a couple from China, a couple from Ecuador, a businessman from Pennsylvania, and a couple from Pakistan.
Biggest Embarrassment: My doors – since they are 100 years old, they have warped and don’t always stay closed.
Would you recommend others to host on Airbnb? Why? Yes. It’s such a wonderful way to share your home, and let guests experience your city by staying in an authentic home rather than getting a corporate, touristy hotel perspective.
Have you ever been an Airbnb guest? If so, where? Yes, very recently when I went on a business trip to North Carolina.
What has been the most surprising thing about being an Airbnb host? How easy it is to use the website and app, and how well-organized the operation is.
What have you done with your funds from hosting? So far, it has helped pay rent a few times, I was able to treat myself to Broadway show tickets, and it allowed me to take a vacation to Greece where I am originally from.
Best Advice: Don’t fear large pieces of furniture in small places. Contrary to popular belief, larger items in small rooms can sometimes make the place feel bigger when done right.
Dream Sources: Housingworks, Dot & Bo, Dwell Studio, IKEA, DWR, Philip Jeffries, Benjamin Moore, Organic Modernism.
PAINT & COLORS
- Living Room and Francis’ bedroom: Benjamin Moore All White (Farrow & Ball color mixed in Benjamin Moore Natural Flat Finish)
- Guest bedroom: Benjamin Moore Bittersweet Chocolate 2114-10 in Aura Matte Finish
- Crown moulding throughout: Dykes Lumber
- Cove light: rope lighting from Home Depot
- Wall sconces: CB2
- Sofa, credenza, cowhide: IKEA
- Papier-maché animal heads: Anthropologie, CB2
- Throw pillows: West Elm
- Coffee Table: a client was throwing it out!
- Dripping Paint art: DIY
- Egg Chair: Design Within Reach
- Platform Bed and Bedding: West Elm
- Wardrobes: IKEA
- Silkscreen art above bed: ABC Carpet
- Vintage orange wall lamp: Art Fair Hamptons
- Pendant Light: West Elm
- Curtains: Bed Bath & Beyond
- Bed and Headboard: West Elm
- Shelving System: Container Store
- Ethnic Mirrors: Francis’ own collection from world travels
- Medicine Cabinet: Robern
- Brown Storage Cabinets: IKEA
- Shower Curtain: IKEA
Photography: Pablo Enriquez
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