Inside Out: Elaine's Perfect Finds

Inside Out: Elaine's Perfect Finds

Jill Slater
Sep 26, 2007

Inside Out: A showcase residences transformed into homes via innovative intervention

Name: Elaine
Location: Upper West Side/Morningside Heights
Size: 1370 sq ft, 2-bdrm co-op
Years lived in: Almost a year

Get ready for some serious real estate envy! Elaine scored a very rare median income subsidized 2-bdrm coop in Manhattan. She is nothing if not resourceful.

Not only is the apartment quite a find, but everything in it has been carefully sought, found, and integrated into what is clearly a well curated home.

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Elaine is a natural designer. While not professionally in the design world, she has an innate ability to see what will work and when. Her mom was blessed with what is now a quaint blast from the past of corporate service. In the early 1970's, she bought some furniture at her local Delaware department store and the store sent home an eccentric and a la mode decorator with the delivery. As a result, Elaine grew up in a very ultra cool 70's pad in the suburbs. That environment has been influential, indelible, and in a few cases fruitful in terms of Elaine inheriting some of the pieces from her parents' home.

Elaine doesn't just use shopping to find the right piece for the right occasion. She is also quite good at DIY transformations. My favorite was her ability to turn a $25 Craigslist baby dresser into a sleek mirrored item in her bedroom. She made all her incredible projects sound so easy but I wasn't fooled. It takes inspiration, talent, and dedication and Elaine seemed to overflow with all of the above.

AT Survey:

Style: Chic comfort
Inspiration: Varies by room from Danish Modern to West Elm Asian, but a shocking number of elements are familiar from the house where I grew up! My mother had an amazing decorator (particularly for suburban Wilmington DE) who brought in an organic 70s palette (brown, black and cream), shag rugs and lots of classic pieces I covet, including an original Arco lamp and a Kagan snail coffee table.
Favorite Element: I should say the view, but the honest truth is that it's my 50-inch plasma since I spend more time looking at the screen than out the window. (To be fair, I'm not home much during the daylight hours.)
Biggest Challenge: Working around color schemes and cabinetry which were not to my taste but I didn't have the budget to change at this point.
What Friends Say: That they want me to come over to redo their places. Which I will happily do, because I'm bossy.
Biggest Embarrassment: My shoddy painting skills – try not to look at the ceilings!Proudest DIY: : The valances in my bedroom, which I thought up to block out excess light coming from the edges of the blinds. Wallpaper by FlavorPaper being used to salvage an Ikea TV armoire comes in a close second.
Biggest Indulgence: That my second bathroom is mostly used by the cats.
Best Advice: Don't plan renovations around resale value: You're the one who's living there now, so you should love it.
Dream Source: The Conran Shop and DDC are two of my favorite places to window-shop, but lighting is what I'd really like to splurge on: I keep dreaming about the Kentfield Cascade sconce from Boyd, or a Venetian glass chandelier.

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