Katie & Matt’s Washington Heights Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Name: Katie and Matt with their cats, Fritz & Pepper
Location: Washington Heights, New York City
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: Katie 2.5 years, Matt 6 years; Rented

When Katie moved into her two bedroom home in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, she had her work cut out for her. At the time it was occupied by her fiancé and two roommates—the living room doing double duty as common space and as a bedroom. Two and a half years later, it’s difficult to imagine the space as a crash pad. Transformed by modern pieces mingling with vintage finds and charming details that allow for a touch of femininity (without being girly) give this home a feeling of grown-up elegance with a playful side.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

One of Katie’s favorite pieces has a special history. The pine console in the living room makes an eye catching side table, but more than just a beautiful piece, it is also functional, becoming a dining table when the drop leaves are opened. The piece was built in a joint effort between Katie, her fiancé and her father from scratch over a Christmas holiday several years ago.

The apartment is clearly filled with love, but the charm extends beyond the walls of her home. Katie explains: “Besides the inside decor, this apartment feels so special because of the views. The the living room windows overlook the Hudson River into the Palisades and the George Washington Bridge and we can also see downtown as far as the Empire State building. I’d love to give Washington Heights more recognition as an affordable place to live with pre-war charm buildings that are just waiting for the inspired to move in.”

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Pre-war bohemian with a dash of mid-century

Inspiration: Elle Décor, Domino, Apartment Therapy, Pinterest, Etsy

Favorite Element: The windows. We have views from every room and natural light that they bring in is something very priceless; especially for an NYC apartment with no outdoor space.

Biggest Challenge: Working with a pre-war apartment where nothing has been renovated. A few years ago we convinced our landlord to re-do the broken tile floor in the bathroom. The result was 3 days without a functioning bathroom, right after I moved in. Nothing is a better testament to a relationship than living through a renovation with no bathroom plumbing.

What Friends Say: “The light in here is unreal!”

Biggest Embarrassment: The blue chair in the living room. It was actually an impulse buy and when it was acquired it was a upholstered in a mustard colored shag fabric. Our cats loved it. We had it for multiple months before we found a place to reupholster it for an affordable price. However, when we got it back the seams started to rip (the fabric quality we chose wasn’t the best for its round shape) so we returned it again to get fixed. Fast forward 7 months of back and forth between Washington Heights and East Brooklyn, now it’s proudly displayed in our living room. So far, we’re happy to announce that the cats seem less than interested in it but we still cover it with a blanket when we leave the house just in case they change their minds.

Proudest DIY: That is between the card catalog in the bedroom which we turned into a jewelry box, or the long console table in the living room that which can double as dining room table when we extend the long horizontal leaves. Both were winter projects intended to help us beat the blues and while the card catalog had a good foundation (the actual catalog box) the console in the living room was built from scratch on somewhat of a whim.

Biggest Indulgence: In terms of money, our couch has been our biggest indulgence. In terms of continual indulgence that would either be kitchen gadgets and supplies and/or random objects for styling and vignette setting.

Best Advice: Make the best with what you have and never underestimate the impact a weekend project can make. We actually bought pre-fab cabinets from Lowe’s and a butcher block counter top from Ikea to make bar-top eat-in space in our kitchen. We painted the new cabinets white to match the original built-ins and then switched out some hardware to make everything look like it belonged together. We also cut to size additional butcher blocks and pieced them together on the far side of the kitchen to make everything look intentional and matching.

Dream Sources: ABC Carpet and Home and treasures from far off places.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Resources of Note:


  • Bedroom- Behr: Pewter Mug
  • Foyer – Behr :Dusty Blue

  • Mirror: Found
  • Liquor cabinet/console: Found
  • Rug: Homegoods
  • Starry night/Hamlet Quote painting: DIY

  • Couch: Raymour and Flannigan
  • Console: DIY
  • Console décor: Homegoods
  • Side table: Found
  • Black chairs: IKEA
  • Area rug: Homegoods
  • Artwork: Mix of found framed art and DIY projects
  • Barrister bookcase: Ebay/State Supply Props in Harlem – refurbished with custom mirrors ( and hardware from Anthropology
  • Pig bookends: CB2
  • GW framed postcard: Thrift store find
  • Blue carpenter’s box: Thrift store find and then repainted
  • Curtains: Target
  • Pillows: Society 6
  • Coffee table: found/DIY
  • TV stand: IKEA

  • Glassware: Homegoods
  • Butcherblocks: IKEA
  • Newer cabinets: Lowes
  • Black rubber flooring: (cut to size upon arrival)
  • Benches: IKEA
  • Skinny chicken artwork: Etsy
  • Wine rack: IKEA
  • Teal tray: CB2
  • Slabs: Found and from Homegood

  • Sleighbed Bed: Craigslist
  • Mirrored Side Table: Homegoods
  • Chandelier: West Elm DIY
  • Dresser: Furnish Green in NYC
  • Card Catalog/Jewelry Box: Vintage DIY
  • Wardrobes: IKEA
  • Rug: Home Depot
  • Lamps: Homegoods/ Home Depot
  • Metal gray radio box (on dresser): Brooklyn Flea
  • Glass head: Pier One

  • Desk: Ikea
  • Curtains: Homegoods
  • Lamp: Homegoods
  • Wall shelves: Elfa -Container Store
  • Rug: Ikea
  • Faux Lucite desk chairs: IKEA

  • Rug: Ikea
  • Curtains: West Elm
  • Shallow shelves: Ikea
  • Extension Mirror: Ikea
  • Soap/Lotion: Homegoods
  • (Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

    Thanks, Katie, Matt (and Fritz & Pepper)!

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