Gary & Chelsey’s Musical & Mod Apartment in Queens

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Name: Gary and Chelsey Knight and their cats, Scout, Boo, Atticus, and Ella Fitzgerald
Location: Astoria, New York
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

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Musicians Gary and Chelsey Knight’s open and airy Astoria flat boasts two features that many big city apartments lack: natural light and space. Before moving here two years ago from Southern California, these two antiquing Angelenos edited down their impressive lot of vintage knickknacks and racks of gorgeous duds to start fresh and make the most of their new Queens quarters. The result is a colorful, tastefully mod home with the perfect amount of cherished mementos, playful humor, and, most importantly, cats—four, to be exact.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Chelsey fronts the pop/folk band Single Girl Married Girl, and if you’ve spotted her around town or on stage, you’ve no doubt ogled her style. She dresses almost exclusively in vintage pieces, and her eye-catching outfits are expertly accessorized and elegantly form-fitting. Her always-witty husband Gary writes for the band and also has a classically stylish streak. From framing Buster Keaton film stills to accessorizing an antique dress form as a piece of art, this duo outfits their home with as much panache as they do themselves.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

For all their love of vintage, Gary and Chesley know when new is best, which is why this music-loving couple has juxtaposed their pristine vintage collection with professionally framed modern band posters and vintage-inspired contemporary pieces. They’ve trimmed the fat, so to speak, so only well-crafted, fully functioning, and/or sentimental pieces have made their way past the threshold.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century modern and eclectic. Our style is predominantly infused with vintage (we’ve been collecting pieces for years and are always on the hunt for new things to put on our walls and shelves). We like color as accents, and love mementos that remind us of being back in California, where Chelsey was born and raised. We also try to infuse personal interests into our style, whether it be artists we love, places we’ve lived or visited, Philadelphia sports teams (Gary), or certain colors (orange!). We like a curated but lived-in look.

Inspiration: Mid-century modern is a starting point, but we don’t ever want to look like we live in a time capsule, or have too much of one thing. Mad Men, classic films (i.e. both apartment looks in Rosemary’s Baby), Design Sponge, Pinterest, and various blogs are all inspirations.

Chelsey: Lately I have been in love with old farmhouses in Upstate NY. There is nothing more beautiful or inspirational to me than an old home that gets a new purpose (I’d fill mine with Scandinavian furniture, and more cats).

Favorite Element: Every piece has a story. We try to avoid certain clichés when collecting and displaying objects (i.e., buying books to group together because they are a certain color). Each object in our home has meaning and/or function and speaks to our personal interests or a time in our lives.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping plants alive! We have black thumbs, and if we don’t kill our plants, our cats do. That said, fingers crossed, we have some new ones that seem to be doing well.

What Friends Say: People always say we have a “grown-up” apartment, that it’s spacious (by NYC standards), and that it’s clean.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our bedroom. We haven’t quite mastered the color scheme and bedding yet. The litter boxes in our office are not exactly glamorous, either (our cats love them, though).

Proudest DIY: Chelsey did the wiring to hang our oversized North Wales print that hangs in our living room (we’re not really DIY people).

Biggest Indulgence: Our Saarinen tulip table from Design Within Reach. We gave up on finding a vintage one at a lesser price, but at least waited until it was on sale. We also splurged on a Tempurpedic bed a few years back, which may be our best purchase ever.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake. If one person in a relationship isn’t feeling something, you should respect that. Take your time with cultivating a look and filling out a space, since there’s no rush (ours is an ongoing process). Also, if you look hard enough and are patient, you can find items you want at a good price. You don’t need to spend a lot on things, or shop at upscale stores.

Dream Sources: Room & Board, Schoolhouse Electric, and Design Within Reach


(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


  • Eames Hang-It-All: Design Within Reach
  • Mid-century credenza/cabinet: vintage shop in Echo Park, CA
  • Art Deco mirror: antique shop in Orange, CA
  • Frame: IKEA
  • (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


    • Vintage bar cart: Antique Mart in Orange, CA
    • Vintage glassware: various vintage shops, but the gold-rimmed lowball glasses belonged to Gary’s grandfather
    • Gold Tone banjo: The Fretted Frog in Echo Park, CA
    • Custom TV stand/cabinet: Pepe’s Furniture in Echo Park, CA
    • Couch: Crate & Barrel
    • Vintage Danish side chair: Pepe’s Furniture in Echo Park, CA
    • Side table: West Elm
    • Rug: IKEA
    • Coffee table: Craigslist
    • Overhead lamp: CB2
    • Planters: West Elm
    • Magazine rack: Etsy
    • Shelving unit: Crate & Barrel
    • Hutch: Crate & Barrel
    • Candlesticks: Anthropologie
    • Throw pillows: West Elm
    • Blankets: West Elm
    • Basket: West Elm
    • Vintage pottery: Out of Vogue in Fullerton, CA
    • Darth Vader 12” figure: Etsy
    • Vintage record cabinet: a wedding gift from Chelsey’s sister and brother-in-law
    • Vintage Schwinn bicycle: Craigslist
    • Art Deco leather picture frame: Etsy
    • Select picture frames in hutch: Grey Goose Custom Framing in Los Feliz, CA
    • Watercolor of flowers and watering can: Antique Mart in Orange, CA
    • Oil painting of ship: Antique Mart in Orange, CA
    • Watercolor of Switzerland: Etsy
    • Oil painting of waterfall: Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood, CA
    • Abstract illustration: The Hub Gallery in Echo Park, CA
    • The Detective movie poster: Etsy
    • North Wales illustration from 20th Century Fox’s prop department: Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood, CA
    (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


  • Saarinen table: Design Within Reach
  • Blue Eames shell chair by Herman Miller: Design Within Reach
  • Green Eames shell chair by Herman Miller: eBay
  • Yellow Eames shell chair by Herman Miller: Etsy
  • Red padded Eames shell chair by Herman Miller: Etsy
  • (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


  • Wüsthof knife block and knives: Williams-Sonoma
  • KitchenAid mixer: Macy’s
  • German metal sunburst clock: eBay
  • Jade cake stand: Fishs Eddy
  • (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


  • Bedframe: West Elm
  • Bedding: West Elm
  • Chair: antique shop in Virginia
  • Dresser: vintage shop in Hollywood, CA (now closed)
  • Side tables: vintage shop in Hollywood, CA (now closed)
  • Bedside lamps: Crate & Barrel
  • Mirror: IKEA
  • Naked lady painting (our favorite!): Mystery Spot Antiques in Phoenicia, NY
  • Mid-century oil painting of Paris: antique shop in Orange, CA
  • Photo of Elliott Smith: by our friend Wendy Lynch Redfern for Under the Radar Magazine (from his last official photo shoot at his home in Echo Park, CA)
  • (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


    • Bathmat: West Elm
    • Shower curtain: West Elm
    • Metal shelving unit from Denmark: Mohawk General Store in Silverlake, CA
    • Trashcan: simplehuman
    • Picture frames: IKEA
    (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


    • Allsteel tanker desk: Craigslist
    • Eames shell chair by Herman Miller: Etsy
    • Chair: Hutch in Echo Park, CA (now closed)
    • 1964 Guild Starfire III guitar: Sam Ash in Hollywood, CA
    • Elfa shelving unit: The Container Store
    • Paul Bacon-designed Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. book collection: various online sources
    • Holmegaard glass piggy bank: Etsy
    • Metal containers: IKEA
    • Globe: Etsy
    • Hamper: IKEA
    • Trash can: IKEA
    • Desk lamp: Etsy
    • Harman Kardon speakers: Costco
    • Vox amp: eBay
    • Storage: The Container Store
    • Maurader’s Map: The Noble Collection
    • Vintage Philadelphia Flyers team photo: eBay
    • New York and Paris prints: Fred Flare in Brooklyn, NY (now closed)
    • Belle & Sebastian poster: eBay
    • Dukes of Hazard illustration: Doug Marz, Jr. on Etsy
    • Willie Nelson concert poster print by Kii Ahrens: bought from his nephew at the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood, CA
    (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)


    • Trashcan: simplehuman
    • Photo of Emily Haines: by Wendy Lynch Redfern for Under the Radar Magazine (Gary and Chelsey met at an Emily Haines show at the Viper Room in Hollywood, CA)
    • The Beach Boys concert poster print by Kii Ahrens: bought from his nephew at the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood, CA
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    Gary and Chelsey live on the second floor of this brick townhouse. Here is their entry way at the top of the stairs. (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

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    Thanks, Gary & Chelsey!