Lauren’s First Solo Flight

published Mar 17, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Lauren
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan
Size: 800 square feet studio rental converted to a temporary one-bedroom
Years lived in: Less than a year

After a couple of years of ‘roommating’ in New York City, Lauren leaped out on her own and rented a studio apartment. Fortunately, it was large enough to put up some temporary walls and create a generous looking one-bedroom. Within a couple of months, it looked like it had been lived in for years!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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front door enters into picture wall gallery (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Lauren is a talented designer. She studied textile design and now designs shoes for Nine West. She had been dreaming of what her own apartment would look like for so long that it took only a couple of months to set it up.

Taking advantage of any and all low-cost but good quality resources, Lauren hunted and gathered. She loves flea markets but she also loves her parents’ basement. Every time Lauren has had the opportunity to travel, she’s made sure to bring back something unique to, and evocative of, that place.

Once Lauren amassed all her elements, she added her own ingenuity to bring the pieces together into her own style. That meant making some adjustments to certain hand-me-downs. For example, a set of dark wood dining room chairs donated to the cause by her parents’ neighbor were transformed into shabby-chic decor through a painting/sanding/decoupage technique and scattered throughout the house as decorative seating.

The building is pre-war and originally served as dozens of music rehearsal studios. It’s hard to think of a more advantageous precious use for a home than that! To attenuate sound as much as possible, the floors are hearty pieces of redwood on their ends, and the walls are thick plaster.

Lauren is confident about her taste while being cognizant of her budget. She appreciates what other cultures have to offer, aesthetically, and has seamlessly integrated a number of influences into a home that feels cohesive and looks great.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: Eclectic/Bohemian

Inspiration: I gather inspiration from many sources (magazines, websites, shopping) but my favorite, by far, is from travel. I love to travel to new cities, near and far, to gather design and decorating elements from different cultures.

Favorite Element: I love my piano and the photos above it. My grandparents were both in the entertainment business. My grandmother was a Broadway dancer/actress and my grandfather directed the Honeymooners as well as other TV series. I inherited many of their photos from the 40’s and 50’s, which I display above my piano. I also love the Middle Eastern and Indian Textiles I found in flea markets throughout the world.

Biggest Challenge: Space! Apartments in New York are very small. I got lucky with this studio because it is decently bigger than most. I was able to convert the space and create a small bedroom. The major space challenge I have is in the kitchen. I just don’t have enough space for the amount of cooking I do.

What Friends Say: Friends that see my apartment cant believe I have lived here for less than a year. I wasted no time decorating and setting everything up. I have had one friend say that my apartment is like the dwelling place of an eclectic bohemian traveler.

Biggest Embarrassment: Dust! It is so hard to keep a NYC apartment dust free. I clean and dust weekly and still have a problem.

Proudest DIY: A $75 dresser I bought at a yard sale. I painted it white then sanded it down to give it a shabby chic look. Then I added some appliqués to the drawers. I also got a set of four hand-me-down dining chairs that I painted green, sanded down, and reupholstered myself.

Biggest Indulgence: My Piano.

Best Advice: There is no reason to overspend on decorative accents for your home. Flea markets, antique stores, eBay, and Homegoods are among my favorite places to find fun apartment trinkets.

Dream Source: Anthropologie, Designers Guild, ABC Carpet and Home.

Living Room:

  • Slipcover Fabric: Linen by Fabricut
  • Slipcovers made by: 6K Interiors Bronx, NY
  • Window Treatments: Fabric Duralee trim Fabricut
  • Window Treatments by JoVin •Carpet Indian Jaipur
  • Lamps Tag Sale
  • Lampshades Anthropology
  • French small chest: Braswell Antiques Stamford, Ct
  • TV stand: IKEA
  • Bookshelves: IKEA
  • Chairs: Hand me downs painted and sanded by Lauren reupholstered by Lauren in Robert Allen fabric
  • Trunk: Parents’ Attic
  • Pillows: Flea Markets in Israel, Turkey, Columbus Ave Flea Market, Fabric from Mood Fabrics
  • Frames: KMart

Hallway Dining Area:

  • FlipTop Table: Country Willow Katonah, NY
  • Chairs: Hand Me Downs painted and sanded by Lauren reupholstered by Lauren in Robert Allen fabric
  • Lamps: HomeGoods
  • Mirror: TJ Maxx
  • Madeline Weinreib Rug: ABC
  • Chinese Garden Bench: Home Goods


  • Iron Bed: Sleepy’s
  • Bedding: Home Goods
  • Shelf Units: DB Imports
  • Carpet: Brimfield Antiques Show
  • Bed: Lights Potttery Barn
  • Trunk: Columbus ave Flea Market
  • Dresser: Tag sale refinished by Lauren
  • Mirror: TJ Maxx


  • Dhurrie Runner by Madeline Weinreib: ABC carpet and home
  • Photos Taken from Travels
  • Frames: KMart
  • Mirror: HomeGoods
  • Entry Commode: Dad’s Baby Dresser
  • Shell Table: Home Goods
  • Lamps: Flea Market
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Images: Jill Slater

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