“Eclectic Chaos” in a Fantastic Feminist NYC Rental

updated Apr 30, 2019

“Eclectic Chaos” in a Fantastic Feminist NYC Rental

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Sadie Stein and Lorin
Location: Upper West Side — New York, NY
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: Sadie: 5; together, 1.5, renting

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Sadie and Lorin joke that if their apartment were personified, she would be a 1970s feminist character named Valerie. She’s bold, she’s not afraid of color (or the patriarchy), and she doesn’t take herself too seriously. After all, she does have a “baby pink” kitchen. As Sadie says, “It is a happy place. Of course everything isn’t all fun all the time, but it’s a place where people seem to like to be. Several couples have gotten together here — one pair of friends even got engaged! (Of course, we do have a well-stocked bar, which never hurts!)”

Sadie and Lorin are both accomplished writers. And it’s hard not to draw parallels between a well-crafted article and the couple’s apartment. Like a good lead paragraph, their entryway — and its bold floral wallpaper — grabs your attention immediately. Walk into the living room, and the apartment unfolds like a juicy, detail-packed narrative. Whether collected from travels, given as gifts from exes or passed down from incredibly interesting family members, everywhere you look, an item has a story. There are even twists in the apartment’s plot — I certainly would have never expected such a perky and pink kitchen!

And like a good book you can’t put down, though there might be a final sentence, there’s really no end to this home’s style. Most rooms are wallpapered, books line the foyer wall, and trinkets are generously sprinkled throughout the space. The apartment is a nostalgic bibliophile’s dream. And their commitment to incorporating what they love into their home has created a personality filled apartment that will evolve as their story continues.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic chaos!

Inspiration: Things we’ve inherited and accumulated over the years: from family living and dead, friends, exes, flea markets…! That, and 1920s lithographs.

Favorite Element: Probably the light-filled living room.

Biggest Challenge: Probably the light-free bedroom!

What Friends Say: “Your apartment is very…specific,” one said recently! They are always amazed/appalled at our bolder choices and like the coziness of the finished product.

Biggest Embarrassment: The peeling paint on the radiators – we’ve got to get on that! The closets, and the old plumbing, which has a bad way of acting up in the middle of big parties.

Proudest DIY: I’m pleased with the recovering I did on the dining room chairs. It doesn’t hold up to very close scrutiny, but I think the range of vintage French upholstery fabrics looks pretty and personalized an inherited set – which initially looked a little forbidding!

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the wallpaper, considering it’s a rental! That and flowers. A late friend of mine once said, “always spend more on flowers than on food: good for the soul, better for the waistline.”

Best Advice: Always have books in a room, also things to write/draw with and a way to make music. That’s what makes a space come alive. Then too, don’t have things for show: if you have bottles, it should be things you actually drink; books you actually read; throws and pillows you actually use.

Dream Sources: All the linoleum rugs in the 1920s armstrong catalogues; the original Dorothy Draper chintzes (and some of the prints Carlton Varney still makes); a fire sale at California’s Irvine Museum; all the glassware at the Neue Galerie.


Living Room — Benjamin Moore copying Farrow and Ball Elephant’s Breath
Kitchen — Benjamin Moore Gentle Blush
Entry — Wallpaper: Spoonflower, Nicolette “Moonlight Garden”
Hall — Wallpaper: Vintage 1940s stripe, Secondhand Rose
Bedroom — Wallpaper: Milton and King “Euphemia.”

Billy Bookcases — Ikea
Settee – Craigslist
Lamp – Kubi Bestlite Table Lamp
Chair – Auction
Henry Miller Poster – My parents’ house
Desk – Flea Market

Sofa – One Kings Lane
Tables – Flea Market/Ex BF
Art – Inherited/gifts from artist friends including Leanne Shapton, David Salle, Happy Menocal, Matteo Pericoli.
Poster – The Poster Lady
7 Brides Poster – Limagerie
Paris Review Poster – Paris Review.org
Tulip Chair – John Derian
Club Chair – John Derian
Coffee Table –John Koch Antiques
Tray – West Elm
Lamps — all vintage/inherited. Shades from Oriental Lampshade Company
Rug — from Turkey
Hoffmann Bell-Shaped Vase — Neue Galerie
Marble Peach — John Derian
Elsa Peretti Thumbrint Bowl — Tiffany’s
Curtains — Bed, Bath, and Beyond, doubled (by dry-cleaner.)

Entire set inherited, commissioned by Lorin’s great-grandparents in France in the 1920s.
Seats recovered by Sadie; antique upholstery fabric from Etsy.
China/glassware — mostly Sadie’s family
Sconces — from my parents via auction.
Sconce Shades — Lamp Shade Pro

KitchenAid Mixer
Cuisinart Toaster
Print from Cool Culinaria
Kettle from Le Creuset
Hanging Baskets — Brook Farm General Store

Bed — vintage from Craigslist
Pond Chaise — John Derian
Shades — Zwick
Clock Radio — Tivoli
Linens — mix of vintage, Schweitzer Scallops, Matouk
Bureau — vintage Long Island (my parents)
Lamp — GreenFlea flea market
Mirror — scavenged from hall of my building when neighbor moved into a nursing home.
Bureau — vintage, Cooperstown, was my mom’s growing up.

Curtain — repurposed hand-me- down Porthault sheet
Towels — all from Schweitzer Linens
Towel Rack — Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Fittings — Estate sale on Long Island

Thanks, Sadie and Lorin!

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