Jackie Takes Innovation to New Heights

Jackie Takes Innovation to New Heights

Jill Slater
May 25, 2011


Name: Jackie, Matt, Miles, and Putty the cat
Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan
Size: 1,300 square foot 2-bedroom rental
Years Lived In: 10 months

Jackie is an interior decorator who takes innovation to a new level. When she and her family moved into a somewhat nondescript apartment, she saw its potential and ran with it. She tackled the challenges with poise, taste, and brute strength!



Jackie doesn't just look for doorknobs with a history, if she sees the right door laying at a curb, she'll carry it home, skillsaw the edges to size, paint it, find the perfect hinges, and hang the door to perfection. Suddenly, one can't imagine having lived without that door in that very spot.

The apartment has to perform as well as look great! Jackie's partner plays dozens of instruments and has thousands of cd's and LP's. Her son has toys of every size and shape. Jackie keeps chaos at bay with ingenious storage solutions — either custom built or found in someone else's trash heap.

The apartment literally glows because of Jackie's innovative lamp conversions. It is cozy and mysterious. There are an infinite number of items at which to marvel. Jackie's attention to detail makes her home feel well cared for and comfortably beautiful, as opposed to stuffy or pretentious. And absolutely everything has a story!


Apartment Therapy Survey

Style: I like a balance between the clean, efficient lines of mid-century masculine leathers and chrome, and the warmer, rough edges of American colonial. For my home, that translates into distressed wood pieces as artistic or practical accents — like trunks, tables, instruments and ceramics. I love reflections and thus use the light and shadows of mirrors and chrome to create textures. In New York — where access to nature is limited — I prefer to use natural textiles and a repetition of complementary colors to create the feeling of an extended landscape. I like to create flow between rooms. I use walls as opposed to floors, to store items to ensure that everything has a place, even in small apartments. I aspire to make my home logical, such that anyone from my child to a guest, can navigate with ease.

Inspiration: I look for the visual equivalent of the 'thin wild mercury' Dylan sought. The personality of the inhabitants dictate the temperature of the place and are my inspiration. My house is a literary, musical and culinary artists' home. The clean lines and organization balance the constant stimulation of color, sound, image and taste in each room.

Favorite Element: This is tough, because I love my 70s mirror wall sculpture and the abstract triptych in the dining room, and the wooden Nakashima style living room table... But what I love the most are the shadows cast from my four matching mid-century wicker lamp shades. They're a classic Tambourd design, but when I remove their interior linings, and use low wattage bulbs, the perforations in the shades cast shadows on the ceiling and the walls, mimicking the Biedermeier striped wool carpeting. At night, the house is awash in floor to ceiling texture, and warmth. It is as if you are never alone.

Biggest Challenge: To to do it all myself — with efficiency, sensitivity, and intuition.

What Friends Say: "Where do you find all this great stuff for so little money?"

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitty litter tray in the bathroom. Why can't she do her business in the toilet?!

Proudest DIY: Lovingly coating the walls in colors that connect one room to the next, and staging the lighting such that it adds dimension and flow to my home.

Biggest Indulgence: The black wool curtains that separate the foyer from the living room and the dining room. I would not have thought to hang them had I not had the challenge of creating an office in which my partner could see his patients, out of what is ordinarily the apartment's generous entryway. By using curtains on the French glass doors and on the archway to the living room, I've created a womb-like space entirely severed from the private space that lay beyond, but easily adaptable to dual uses.

Best Advice: Know what mood you want to manifest in your home.

Dream Source: Flea markets, demolition depots, Ebay (don't be afraid of shipping)



    • Lambertville, NJ: Golden Nugget Flea Market, Peoples Store, Bucks County Dry Goods, Rago Arts & Auctions, Studio 62, Kleins Music, Pedersen Gallery

    • Brattleboro, Vermont: antique and fabric stores
    • New Milford Conneticut: Flea Market and surrounding area antique stores

    • New Hope, Pennsylvania: Love Saves the Day

    • Brooklyn: Horseman antiques

    • Manhattan: Demolition Depot on 125th street, Housing Works, Gracious Home, Doyle Auctions, Stanley Schoen Glass & Mirrors, Street finds on the Upper East Side, 26th street Flea Market, ABC Carpet, Design Within Reach, Richard's Interior Design

    • Vermont Country Store

    • Tri state area Craig's list

    • Ebay and more Ebay

    • Countless additional thrift and small antique stores throughout the metropolitan area
    • Contracted carpenters and artists from Lambertville NJ and New York City
    • Canyonpost.com
    • Benjamin Moore Paints

Images: Jill Slater

For details on Jackie's kitchen check out Jackie Gives Life to Her Rental Kitchen on theKitchn.com.

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