An Interior Designer's Comfortably Polished Chelsea Brownstone

An Interior Designer's Comfortably Polished Chelsea Brownstone

Jordana Longo
Dec 20, 2017

Name: Whitney and Jordon Giancoli
Location: Chelsea — New York City, New York
Years Lived In: 2 years, renting

Whitney Giancoli — native Texan, new mom and interior designer based in Chelsea — didn't always work in design. But after transforming her fifth floor walk-up (hence her social media handle @5thfloorwalkup) on the Lower East Side, she unexpectedly kick-started her own design career. "I realized I had a penchant for maximizing small spaces and designing on a dime — two helpful skills that helped me pick up independent side projects, and ultimately work for Homepolish."

She and Jordon, her Floridian husband, both moved here after college, him for a job and her to follow a dream of living in New York City, "Cheesy, but here we are!" When they found this charming three-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, it was a four flight walk-up, but this time the tree-lined street, original marble fireplace, and rooftop terrace made it well worth the hike.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Comfortably Polished

Inspiration: When you're a renter, you have to take inspiration from the elements that already exist in the space — the ones you can't change. I considered those as my starting points, and from there I made design decisions based on what would be cohesive with — or help modernize — the existing look. Some of those elements for me were a large wall with brick exposure, an original marble fireplace, and tall ceilings — all of which inspired me to select furniture and décor that really made these features pop, while still being a functional and welcoming home to step into.

Favorite Element: Favorite existing element? The marble fireplace. It's original to the building, built in the early 1900s. Favorite added element? The "floating" bookshelves in the nursery. They were a labor of love, but they add nice height and storage to the room and double as a good-looking accent wall as well.

Biggest Challenge: The tall white wall above the sofa in the living room. I didn't want to buy another large-scale art piece since we'd purchased a painting for above the fireplace, so I experimented with the idea of drapery and ended up really liking the look of hanging a modern rug as a focal point. My husband thought I was crazy at first, but he came around.

What Friends Say: "How do you handle the four flights of stairs??" ☺ We live in a walk-up…the downside to an old building. On the upside, the thing people most commonly comment on is the roof deck, so perhaps it's worth the hike!

Biggest Embarrassment: I was equally as determined as I was embarrassed to beg two delivery men to carry the large wooden wardrobe in our master bedroom up our narrow flights of stairs. I think I nearly gave them a heart attack. I was definitely not their favorite person that day.

Proudest DIY: Our trash cans, surprisingly! They sit at the end of our kitchen counter, which happens to be one of the first things you see when you walk in our front door…so I wrapped them each with ¼ inch twisted sisal rope. It was one of those projects that makes you feel completely ridiculous while you're doing it — but it was totally worth it! The cans also sit on a flat, wheeled dolly so we can roll them out of the way and create more bar space when we have friends over.

Biggest Indulgence: The Herman Miller desk in our study. In our last apartment, my husband and I had a vintage, British campaign style desk. It was beautiful, but very bulky and didn't quite fit here — literally or aesthetically. The "Nelson Swag Leg" desk was the exact opposite — sleek, steam-lined, colorful. It was well worth the splurge for a few reasons: it was one of the only pieces of furniture that my husband had a real opinion about, so I surprised him with it. Also, it gave me a reason to tease him about having more expensive taste than me.

Best Advice: Don't get too bogged down by "following the rules." I'm a big believer that you can mix different types of wood, or different types of metals, or patterns and textures. Don't be afraid to do so — just look for balance among the mix.

Dream Sources: ABC Home & Carpet, of course. I could get lost in that shop and come out a very, very poor woman.


Benjamin Moore – Simply white
Sherwin-Williams – Grizzle Gray

Front door #4 – Etsy shop
Mudroom coat rack – Crate & Barrel
Mudroom stone pillars – CB2
Mudroom "sunglasses holder" – flea market find
Stools – vintage Etsy shop
Artwork – Anthropologie
Hanging candle holders – Urban Outfitters (no longer available)
Entry table – One Kings Lane (no longer available)
Mirrors above entry table – vintage Etsy shop
Plant table/step stool – vintage Etsy shop
Light fixture – One Kings Lane (no longer available)

Sofa – West Elm
Coffee table – ABC Home (no longer available)
Drapes – West Elm / West Elm
Navy pillows – Pottery Barn
Black/White pillow – CB2
Fireplace Edison bulb lamp – Etsy shop
Fireplace accessories (jumbo jax & blue/white vases) – fleamarket finds
Accent side table – Pippin Vintage on 17th Street in NYC
Hanging Tapestry – Urban Outfitters (no longer available)
Blanket basket – Anthropologie (no longer available)
White rug – World Market
Green rug – ABC home (one of a kind)
Media console – ABC home
Multi-drawer Console – Urban Outfitters
End Table Tray – Anthropologie
Side Chair – Urban Outfitters (no longer available)
Artwork – Minted /
Accent lamp – vintage Etsy shop

Bar stools – vintage Etsy shop
Pot and pan rack – custom Etsy shop
Cupboard – Crate & Barrel
Clock – CB2

Bed – Overstock
Bedside lamp – vintage Etsy shop (shop no longer exists)
Suit rack – vintage Etsy shop
Side table – vintage Etsy shop
Wardrobe – Crate & Barrel (no longer available)
Dresser – Restoration Hardware
Dresser Lamp – World Market
Drapes – Anthropologie
Bridge Artwork – vintage Etsy shop (no longer exists

Towels – Marimekko
Wall sculpture – CB2 (no longer available)
Clock – vintage Etsy shop (shop no longer exists)
Shower Curtain – Urban Outfitters

Drapes – Anthropologie
Light Fixture – Joss & Main
Daybed – CB2
Daybed Quilt – West Elm
Crib – Babyletto
Mobile – Etsy shop
Bookshelves – Dot & Bo (no longer available)
Yellow rug – Lulu & Georgia
Sheepskin rug – Pottery Barn
Throw pillows – World Market, Lulu & Georgia, Urban Outfitters
Dresser – Déjà vu Decors
Artwork – Joël Penkman

Dresser and Bookshelf Accessories – flea market finds
Knit Taxi Rattle and Bear – Estella
Throw blanket (black & white) – Anthropologie
Throw blanket (colorful) – Anthropologie

Desk – Herman Miller
Table Lamp – Billy's Antiques in NYC (no longer open)
Drapes – Urban Outfitters
Daybed/Sofa – Urban Outfitters
Rug – Pottery Barn (no longer available)
Wall Hanging – Anthropologie
Accent Pillows – West Elm, World Market
Vanity Mirror – Etsy shop (no longer exists)

Table and Chairs – a steal from Craigslist six years ago… they've stood the test of time!
Blanket – CB2 (no longer available)
Side Table – One Kings Lane (no longer available)
Bulb Lights – CB2

Thanks, Whitney and Jordon!

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