House Tour: Lance & Harry's Merged Mini Masterpiece

House Tour: Lance & Harry's Merged Mini Masterpiece

Jill Slater
Apr 29, 2009

Name: Lance and Harry
Location: Murray Hill
Size: 350 square feet rent-controlled studio
Years lived in: 20 years


One of the first things I asked was how many storage units Harry and Lance rented. Here were two people who had managed to merge their lives, their pets, and their possessions in a less than spacious, late 19th century studio. Built one notch up from a tenement, these Murray Hill units were billed as 'Parisian Flats' — long, narrow apartments with plumbing but no light.



Over the past 20 years, Lance — a very talented prop designer who trained as a milliner — has transformed his miniature home into vastly different sets for living. The previous tenants were interior designers and left him with full marbleized coverage — wall-to-wall trompe l'oeil. For four years, he worked the "french living" style and created something akin to "the dressing room at Bergdorf's." To purge that genre, Lance then painted the entire apartment white from floor to ceiling and lived with "shabby chic" through the mid-90's. From there, Lance finally felt ready to introduce color. He painted the kitchen red and the floors black. According to Lance, the black "pushed the walls out," making the small space appear larger.

The lack of light or any real view convinced Lance to present the space as an "evening apartment," with an emphasis on making the interior the 'view.' Through eBay and local sources, Lance put together a mid-century driven design that celebrated some of the apartment's original architectural features.

Harry moved in a year ago and insisted on a kitchen renovation that would accommodate daily home cooked meals as well as additional storage. Even though this is a rental, they were both fully prepared to invest time and money to make it work for them into the foreseeable future.

As a result, they are the model couple. They claim that the apartment always looks this good and that they have learned the rewards of not acquiring things they don't need. Neither aesthetics nor space has been sacrificed in the combining of their lives. In fact, the home and the couple seem to have benefited tremendously.

AT Survey
Style: Eclectic Modern
Inspiration: British Elle Deco, Ilse Crawford, Axel Vervoordt
Favorite Element: We both love the long corridor filled with photographs as well as the original architecture.
Biggest Challenge: Combining our two lives and two dogs into a 350sq ft. space.
What Friends Say: They're amazed at how we've been able to use the space we have so efficiently.
Biggest Embarrassment: That we haven't gotten around to putting up a shower curtain or installing a proper shower.
Proudest DIY: The hallway lighting.
Biggest Indulgence: Our brand new kitchen and appliances. It was a choice between moving to a new apartment or a new kitchen. We chose the kitchen.
Best Advice:: Edit, edit, edit!! Be ruthless!
Dream Source: Henrybuilt, Moss, BBDW Furniture

living room benjamin moore #1536
kitchen ben moore #2137-40
hallway ben moore # hc 67
trim ben moore decorators white semi gloss

Shelves in living room and kitchen: Moss
Kitchen Cabinets: Renaissance Cabinets (Murray Hill)


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