Karla's Series of Spare Rooms

Karla's Series of Spare Rooms

Sparrow King
Mar 1, 2010

Name: Karla
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 11

Karla lives in a lovely garden level apartment on the prettiest street in Hoboken. Stepping inside, one experiences a mixture of feeling like one has stepped back in time or stepped into a painting. I was particularly reminded of Vilhelm Hammershøi's interior paintings and the way he captures light in a room. Sadly, my amateur photography skills didn't quite capture this!

As it is a garden level railroad apartment, the light from outside is limited to a large bay window in front and two small windows in the back — but Karla has a selection of vintage lamps and overhead lighting that create wonderful glows emanating from each room through the doorways and the translucent glass of the pocket doors. She also chose a light yellow paint for three of the rooms to add a cheeriness and painted the floors white as well.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Spare Room: I feel the most at ease in a simple space, Free of clutter and collectibles. Cozy yes, cramped no. My Virgo rising prefers a clean, white or light, open area — in this meditative state I can relax and create.

Inspiration: modern museums like the MoMA in NYC…so white, so calm, so clean, so much space, so geometric

Favorite Element: The back yard which is just steps away and which few people in the building use. It's heavenly there in the spring time.

Biggest Challenge: Staying calm when something goes wrong in the building; living in the basement and near the boiler means leaks, smoke, fire alarms sounding, noisy repairs, occasional heat outtages, neighbors visiting their storage spaces at all hours.

What Friends Say: Your house looks like a museum exhibit, even your drawers are organized.

Biggest Embarrassment: The leak from upstairs in the corner of my livingroom…that eyesore keeps bursting through every repair job. I keep choosing new colors to paint my living room but just when I'm sure the leak wont come back I come home to rusty stains on the floor again.

Proudest DIY: Painting the floors white. When I moved in they were maroon and much too dark for a garden apartment.

Biggest Indulgence: Marble-topped armoire in my art room to house art supplies and a mini art gallery

Best advice: Nurture the place you live in and make it your own. When I worked long hours in the city as a full time graphic designer I only saw my apartment between 11pm and 7:30am, I put more time into decorating my desk than my home. Now as a freelancer who works at home most days, I realize how important it is to love this place. Over time I have worked on each room to make it simple, calming, and functional. I clutter-clear and burn smudge sticks often to open up new space and energy.

Dream source: ABC Carpet & Home

Resources of Note:
blanket rack in living room, small rug in bedroom, mirror in art room, two large mirrors/green cabinet/off white chest in kitchen, many small items throughout the apartment including several antique document boxes which I use to organize photos and other items.

ABC Carpet & Home
couch/chair/round, marble-topped coffee table/mirror with gold frame in livingroom, garden chair in bedroom, antique armoire in art room, garden table in kitchen

Michelangela (Hoboken):
Antique oak cupboard with glass sides and door in livingroom

Street Angel finds:
Can't beat these freebees I found on the street over the years! two-door cabinet in living room, magazine table in bedroom, table/chair/cart with wheels in art room, two oak chairs in kitchen, metal towel stand in bathroom.

Paint Colors
Matte yellow in front three rooms to bring a luminous warmth to this garden apartment which can feel dark and cave-like between 11am and 4pm. Matte white in kitchen. Matte whisper of periwinkle in bathroom, Benjamin Moore "Smoked Oyster" used on kitchen cabinets near sink, Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection "Olympic Gold (opaque)" used on outsides of doors to living room and kitchen. They hate me at the paint store because I bring in tiny Pantone chips to match.

Thanks, Karla!

Images: Sparrow King

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