Maria's Surprise-Filled Classic Home

Maria's Surprise-Filled Classic Home

Jill Slater
Mar 29, 2010

Location: Union Square, Manhattan
Size: 1,760 square feet — 3 bedroom
Years lived in: 2 years

Maria refers to herself as a lifestylist. I see her as a renaissance helper with boundless optimism and an indefatigable seeking gene. Maria is a fierce advocate of dream achievement and won't take no for an answer.

Maria is also full of surprises. The most immediate being that she seemed likely to give birth within minutes of our photo shoot! As Maria showed me around her impeccably arranged home, she revealed unexpected sources for high-end or high-end looking pieces.

"I make sure my clients aren't the suckers who pay full price for an item", explains Maria. Whether it's a designer pair of shoes, a rug, or a piece of furniture, Maria knows how to get a bargain. She is a great negotiator with great connections and she is incredibly charming.

Some favorite haunts are very off-the-beaten-path antique/junk shops, flea markets, eBay, or consignment shops in affluent neighborhoods. Maria finds what she is looking for or knows what to do with the unexpected treasure.

Both she and her husband were raised in South America and share an appreciation for, and expertise in, the finer things in life. Their pooled knowledge of wine, art, and fashion is impressive. Their style is refined but with a heavy emphasis on striking paintings and photography. In the end, the apartment feels great. It was hard to leave it and my host.

Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: Mixing high and low. Eclectic, using pieces of contemporary and modern furniture as well as some Asian, French and English classic pieces and cutting-edge contemporary art.

Inspiration: The streets and people of New York City.

Favorite Element: Tall windows in every room, the warmth of Brazilian cherry wood floors, how I've made everything that we have come together harmoniously in this apartment.

Biggest Challenge: Utilizing efficiently every corner of every room, increasing space within the footage that we have.

What Friends Say: "Where did you get that!!!???" And also "Please help me find/buy art like yours!!!" or "I need a cellar like yours!"

Biggest Embarrassment: Nothing but sometimes having a 21-month old touching everything and banging his toys against everything can make the walls and floors look messy.

Proudest DIY: Building our walk-in closets ourselves!

Biggest Indulgence: All of our art and a pair of antique Deco chairs upholstered with Senegalese fabric.

Best Advice: Mix and match, I have thrift shop finds mixed with contemporary cutting-edge art, I love flea markets and always find something, I walk the streets of New York tirelessly looking for new and unusual pieces and I'm always satisfied with my finds!

Dream Source: Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the best flea market in Paris. In New York, Jonathan Adler, ABC Carpet & Home, all the thrift shops in the Upper East Side. In the Hamptons: Donna Parker Habitat. On the internet: 1stdibs.


Master Bedroom:

    • Art- Sepia Pictures by LA photographer Alysia Cotter found on Etsy – Frames: Chelsea Frames
    • Bed: Williams Sonoma Home
    • Bedding: Restoration Hardware
    • Fake fur throw on bed: Housing Works Thrift shop in the Village
    • Rug: Sample Sale ABC Carpet
    • Antique trunk: Antique shop in Chelsea on 20th street
    • Mirror: Restoration Hardware
    • Chest of drawer: sample sale of Theodore Alexander in a pop up space in the Upper East Side
    • Armchair and ottoman: Housing Works thrift shop Upper East Side.
    • Night tables: Small antique store in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
    • Night lamps: Restoration Hardware
    • Chandelier: Sample sale at ABC Carpet Home
    • Stool:


    •Asian chairs: Vangai Furniture in the Village
    •Console table: Memorial Sloan Kettering thrift shop Upper East Side
    •Picture frames: Collected all over the world, including Mexico and Peru
    •Art: Vik Muniz's "Medusa after Caravaggio"
    •Two untitled wooden panels by French artist Nicolas Pichon

Far Hallway Corner:
    •Demi-lune table: Memorial Sloan Kettering thrift shop Upper East Side
    •White ceramic stool: West Elm
    •Art: Venezuelan-Italian artist Wladimir Pollitano

Living room:
    • Chairs:- Kartell/Missoni fabric: Kartell SoHo
    • Small modern side table: Velocity Art & Design
    • Art: Frida by French artist Corinne Dalle Ore
    • Dining table: Found in antique store in the Hudson Valley
    • Sculpture: Brought from a trip we made to South Africa
    • Deco chairs: Aline Matsika (used to have a store in SoHo, now closed)
    • Side/Tray table: Housing Works thrift shop Chelsea
    • Sofa: Italian sofa showroom/sample sale in Sutton Place
    • Small African side table: Z Gallerie
    • Coffee table: ABC Carpet & Home outlet when there was a location in DUMBO
    • Rug: Safavieh
    • Pottery horse: Jonathan Adler
    • Art: "The Daydream after Manuel Alvarez Bravo" by Vik Muniz
    • Art: Landscape (Untitled) by French artist Jean Marc Dallanegra
    • Art: Horses by New York artist Joe Piccillo
    • Side lamp: small rustic shop in Flatiron, already closed

TV room:
    • Sofa: Showroom in Sutton Place
    • Cowhide rug: Sample sale ABC Carpet & Home
    • Acrylic table: CB2
    • Pillows: Supon Phornirunlit
    • Throw: Missoni
    • Playtable and stools: Giggle
    • Chairs: Louie by Starck for Kartell
    • Side lamps: Restoration Hardware
    • Ceiling fixture: Kartell
    • Union Jack chair: Sample sale at MetroSofa
    • Art: "BENEDIKTINERSTIFT ADMONT", C-Print by German Artist Rafael Neff

For more of Maria's design style, check out her children's nursery on

Images: Jill Slater

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