Alex & Jesse’s Artful Adventures

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

Name: Alexandra Hanson & Jesse
Location: Jackson Heights; Queens, New York
Size: 1,050 square feet
Years lived in: 9 months; Owned

Despite having only moved into their co-op in November, Alex and Jesse have already made their new space feel like home, and it’s amazing how similar the aesthetic in this place is to that of their previous apartments. This is because, despite the limitations presented by many NYC rentals, the couple have always prioritized having a home that reflects their interests, habits, and lifestyle. All four apartments they’ve shared have been imbued with their self-proclaimed “eclecto-funk” design, which showcases the life they’ve built together over the past twelve years. Their current co-op, which Alex has taken to describing as their “forever home,” is undoubtedly the best iteration of this style yet.

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The entryway to Alex and Jesse’s co-op (Image credit: Liz Hanson)
(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

Given the state of the co-op before they moved in, their realtor was shocked when they said they were seriously interested in purchasing it. But Alex and Jesse saw the potential in the open space, the great windows, and the ideal location in a neighborhood filled with excellent food, parks, and a seemingly unending selection of subway lines. To make sure the space was ready at move-in, they took the time to upgrade a number of features in the apartment that did not match their style, including painting all the walls and trim (which had previously been lime green and bright pink) and swapping out the (maroon) carpet for hardwood floors.

What they were left with was a blank canvas upon which they have managed to display an impressive collection of objects in a manner that feels inviting, not overwhelming. Immediately upon entering their home, you feel like you know a great deal about the couple. Much of the artwork throughout the apartment was made by Alex or by friends and family. What wasn’t has been collected during their travels both domestically and internationally, or passed down from family.

For the first few months that a print inherited from Jesse’s great-aunt and -uncle was in their possession, they had no idea it was an Andy Warhol. They just knew they loved it, and therefore it belonged up on the dining room wall with everything else. If Alex is right, and this is their “forever home,” there’s no doubt that similar items, whether precious heirlooms or thrift store finds, will be given comparable billing on the walls of their home over the years. The result will be a compelling narrative of their life together, one the current incarnation of their home in Jackson Heights has already started to tell beautifully.

(Image credit: Alex Hanson )

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclecto-funk. And by that we mean a random mix of hand-me-downs, vintage stuff, and things we collected on our various adventures throughout the years.

Inspiration: Trying to fit all our stuff into a fairly small space. And color. Lots of color.

Favorite Element: Nitrogen. Just kidding. We love the random door in the kitchen that the previous owner blocked with a countertop. At first we thought it was weird, but it’s grown on us. We think it adds character.

Biggest Challenge: Envisioning the space. The previous owner had too much furniture and a preference for bright pink and lime green walls with maroon carpet.

What Friends Say: When are you having babies to fill up all these bedrooms? Also, cool art.

Biggest Embarrassment: The uncovered light fixture in the hallway. But let’s be honest, it’s going to be another 10 years before we do anything about it.

Proudest DIY: The art.

Biggest Indulgence: Art (you may notice a theme developing) including pieces by José Rodríguez Fuster, Terrance McIlrath, Jeannie Lynn Paske, and Brian Andreas. We would like to take credit for the Andy Warhol, but we actually inherited it from Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben, along with a few other lovely mid-century pieces. We owe much of our style to their good taste.

Best Advice: Be authentic. Figure out what feels like home. There are many aesthetics — such as minimalism— that are beautiful and we admire in other people’s homes, but would never feel right for us. Being surrounded by objects that represent the people, places, experiences, and memories that are important to us is a central theme in our home.

Dream Sources: Markets in countries we have yet to visit. Artists we have never heard of, whose studios we have yet to stumble upon in our travels. Thrift shops and antiques stores on or off the beaten path.


(Image credit: Liz Hanson)

PAINT & COLORS (All Benjamin Moore)

  • Entryway, living room, and studio: Cameo White
  • Kitchen: Terra Cotta Tile
  • Master bedroom: Coventry Gray
  • Guest bedroom (above): Monroe Bisque
  • (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Bench: Ethan Allen
    • Painting: José Rodríguez Fuster
    • Eagle statue: Alex’s grandfather
    • Bowl: Jesse’s grandmother
    • Mirror: hand-me-down from previous owner
    • Table: DIY from fish tank stand and distressed wood
    • Vintage ads: DIY from magazines at an estate sale
    • Rug: Istanbul, Turkey
    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Couch: Ikea
    • Chair: Ikea
    • TV stand: Target
    • Coffee table: Etsy
    • Mola pillows: Panama City, Panama
    • Rug: hand-me-down
    • Lamps: thrift store in Queens, NY
    • Art: various artists, including Jeannie Lynn Paske, Christine Stoughton, Terrance McIlrath, Alex’s sister, mother, and grandmother, and Alex
    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Table: Alex’s great-grandmother
    • Chairs: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Andy Warhol print: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Baseball figurines: antique store in Pittsburgh, PA
    • Credenza: Alex’s grandparents
    • Louis Armstrong statue: antique store in Newburg, NY
    • Prints and wooden wall sculpture: StoryPeople by Brian Andreas
    • Clock: Paul Schwartz
    • Curtains: Bed Bath & Beyond
    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Wall-storage: Jesse’s brother
    • Golden spoon: prize for winning the 2014 fantasy baseball cook-off
    • I Do mugs: Etsy
    • Green tea pot: Clipper Ship Tea Company
    • Wine glass rack: Amazon
    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Bed: Gothic Cabinet Craft
    • Nightstands: Ikea
    • Hamper: Bed Bath & Beyond
    • Dresser: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Table: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Oyster shell: Savory, British Columbia
    • Ceramic plate: Earth and Water Pottery Studio, Santorini, Greece
    • Curtains: Bed Bath & Beyond
    • Art: various artists, including Gary Armstrong, Bill Keys of Poems While You Wait, Jeannie Lynn Paske, Alex’s grandmother, an amazing artist whose name we don’t know but who sells his work outside of the Met Museum, and Alex
    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Quilt: made by Alex’s grandmother
    • Figurines: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Bookcases: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Dresser: Alex’s grandmother
    • Wood boxes: made by Alex’s father
    • Small mirror: made by Alex’s grandfather
    • Elephants: Butala Emporium, Jackson Heights
    • Curtains: Bed Bath & Beyond
    • Art: various artists, including Jane Heller, Janis Schwartz, and Alex
    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Makeup bags: Pamela Barsky
    • Ceramic doves: Etsy

    (Image credit: Liz Hanson)


    • Chair: Staples
    • Desk: Jesse’s great-aunt Blanche and great-uncle Ben
    • Filing cabinet: Target
    • Shelving: Ikea
    • Easel: Blick Art Supplies
    • Wooden trunk: made by Alex’s grandfather

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    Thanks, Alex & Jesse!