Madelyn's Naturally Elegant New York City Abode

Madelyn's Naturally Elegant New York City Abode

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Name: Madelyn Baker
Location: New York City
Size: 900 square feet
Years Lived In: 25 years, rented

As a Stylist for Calypso St.Barth, Madelyn Baker's home is a clear example of her personal style and taste. When she is not using her eye as a stylist she utilizes her creativity helping clients with their home design and taking photos. Her vision is clear and her home feels serene and has a beautiful dream-like quality that can give a dreary winter day in the city a bright and warm feeling.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Madelyn says of her style: "Decorating has always been a hobby of mine and I love creating clean, simple and warm environments with a little Shabby Chic mixed in. I actually used to work at Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture in Soho - so that has been a great influence on my design aesthetic."

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Natural, faded Old World elegance.

Inspiration: New York City streets & windows, museums, my Mother’s love of art and her passion for creativity. The art direction and costumes from The Sound of Music… the way my sister places her pillows — and the ballet and opera. My husband’s sense of clarity.

Favorite Element: The story that my apartment tells. A husband, wife and cat living the simple life in a small sun-filled bay windowed 1 bedroom apt; teacups, lighted sconces, big mushy couches and romance.

Biggest Challenge: To beautify and simplify. No clutter—so that each element in the room can be appreciated. To let go of old habits and styles and keep evolving…

What Friends Say: The biggest compliment of all… “it feels like Paris” !!

Biggest Embarrassment: My kitchen sink. When we first moved in it was a blank space; yes, no sink at all. So we installed what we could afford at that time, a stainless sink and simple white cabinets… the most basic requirement. I have dressed it up a bit with antique glass knobs and a high-end faucet, but the rest remains a work in progress.

Proudest DIY: I wanted my living room to be fresh and clean, though also homey and elegant, as if everything was floating on a white cloud. So I painted the two big pieces of furniture in the room white. They were originally pine, and it took a few coats and lots of butcher’s wax to get the effect I wanted. The white calms the room down and allows all the neutrals, blacks and gold accents to blend.

Biggest Indulgence: This was many years ago, when we really couldn’t afford much. I talked a vendor at the Park Avenue Antique Show to let me pay off an extravagant 19th century mirror that is now over the dining room table. I paid him $200 in cash every week for about three months. It really defines the room and took my design dreams to the next level.

Best Advice: Tell a story, open your eyes and explore the world and all its objects. Think drama and composition… Then come home and add a new element, but always take something away so that your vision stays true and focused.

Dream Sources: Dreams are what homes are made of. I dream of the staircase in Gone With The Wind; Al Pacino’s desk in The Godfather; Rembrandt and Vermeer portraits at the Frick museum; the amazing collection of vintage and antique furniture at ABC Carpet and Home, Italian linens and Bennison fabrics, Farrow and Ball paint, soft antique rubbed out faded anything…

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Resources of Note:


Walls: Benjamin Moore Mountain Peaks White

Trim and woodwork: Pratt & Lambert designer white.


Rug from Bloomingdales

Large white mirror from Anthropologie

Sofa & love seat from RA Shabby Chic Couture NYC

Black metal coffee table from Canvas

Linen Curtains from Restoration Hardware

White boudoir tufted chair from Kathy Kuo Home


Knoll Saarinen marble table

Vintage white wrought iron dining chairs from Lexington Gardens NYC

Chandelier from the Carleton Hotel NYC

19th Century mirror from Park Avenue Armory antique show


Island table is from William Sonoma.

The stove is a Verona.

The bike is a Trek Soho S.

Stainless Steel stools from Gracious Home

2 vintage chandeliers from ABC Carpet and Home


Cast iron bed from Charles P Rogers

Bedding from RA Shabby Chic Couture

Bombay Black dresser from Crate & Barrel

Antique mirrors from RA Shabby Chic Couture

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Thanks, Madelyn!

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