Johanna & Dennis' Streamlined Victory

Johanna & Dennis' Streamlined Victory

Jill Slater
Jun 29, 2011

Name: Johanna and Dennis
Location: Upper West Side, New York
Size: 1000 square feet one bedroom
Years Lived In: 6.5 years (1.5 years post renovation)

Being a lawyer means that Johanna is thorough and precise by training. When she decided to merge her apartment with the adjacent one bedroom apartment and renovate the latter along the way, she applied these skills as well as a penchant for research.

Johanna's persistence paid off, as did the great friends of her partner, Dennis, a musician and math tutor. Dennis knows a small army of great artists who are also great cabinetmakers, woodworkers, electricians and the like. Johanna added an architect to the mix to deal with all the lighting and structural issues, and together, they created an incredible space that feels so right.

Johanna spent a year sourcing materials and thinking about how the two apartments would be best combined. She kept the back apartment intact — the bedroom, bathroom and large walk-in closet were renovated in a style not unlike her own. The front apartment was used to indulge in a large living area and real sized open kitchen. Once the front apartment was vacant, the renovation took a mere three months!

The strong lines and minimal style are visually arresting and calming all at once. Paring away and slimming down everything from the window frames to the fireplace may seem obvious and an easy solution, but that is only because of how good it looks now. Simplicity is never as easy as it appears to be.

Apartment Therapy Survey

Style: Before Dennis, my style was minimalist accented with international objects. With Dennis, minimalist accented with vintage musical instruments.

Inspiration: Apartment Therapy, naturally. I also spent a lot of time on Remodelista and Moco Loco.

Favorite Element: I am especially grateful for the skylight, our custom concrete countertops, and the extra half-bathroom.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was reconciling my obsession with minimalism with my boyfriend's need to have his entire collection of vintage instruments (20 and growing) within arm's reach. Needless to say, our relationship was saved by the discovery of a 'mini' piano with only 61 keys.

What Friends Say: Dennis's friends are surprised he has such an adult apartment. My friends are happy the renovation is over so we can talk about something else.

Biggest Embarrassment: It's not really embarrassing, but our least favorite part is the hike up four long flights to get to the apartment.

Proudest DIY: Dennis made the wood and pipe shelves over the desk after I found the idea here.

Biggest Indulgence: The Bocci outlets. Unnecessary, impractical, but, as they say, 'God is in the details'.

Best Advice: Invest in pieces you really love, just not all of them.

Dream Source: Moss, BDDW, and Bisazza Tile all remain in our dreams.




    • Toilet — Duravit Starck 3
    • Sink — Lacava Aquamedia 5074
    • Paint — Bryant Peters spent two weeks custom mixing colors and sheens with the utmost patience. All for that tiny bathroom. I would hire him again in a heartbeat.


    • Desk — Blue Dot via sale at Conran Shop
    • Overhead light — Olde Good Things


    • Lights — Artemide Tolomeo
    • Bed — Design Within Reach
    • Bedside tables and cabinetry — custom by previous owner

Images: Jill Slater

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