Michelle Lives with Art

published Jan 6, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Michelle
Location: Greenwich Village, New York City
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years

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

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Right next to the front door. Walking stick and boots (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“I love the play between symmetry and asymmetry,” says Michelle. “I tend to prefer the contrast that comes out of the mix of balance and unbalance.” So, when I absent-mindedly started to straighten the stereo on the bureau in the dining room before taking a photo, Michelle explained that she wasn’t too fond of right angles. I moved it back off kilter and took the photo.

For those trying to understand why their homes feel too impersonal or too bare, note all the art in Michelle’s home. Each room is flooded with photographs, paintings, sculptures and unique objects — lined up against the walls, hanging overhead, or resting on a surface. In fact, within inches of the entrance to the apartment, one experiences a beautiful and thought provoking vignette.

One can’t help but be drawn into the space. The runner in the entryway pulls you along its thin blue line and invites you to sit on the perfectly placed single chair to take off your shoes. Once inside the main space, there are any number of visual draws.

Check out Michelle’s kitchen tour on

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: textured eclectic

Inspiration: Well, given that ¾ of my furniture has either been salvaged from the sidewalks or purchased from Housing Works, I guess I’d have to say I’m largely inspired by others’ cast-offs!

Favorite Element: Big sunny windows that look out onto rooftops and a fireplace deep enough to never use a screen

Biggest Challenge: Honestly nothing. I come home at the end of the day, fall into my nest and feel like I’m miles from the buzz below.

What Friends Say: “Ok, just one more mojito.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Not really embarrassing, but definitely the biggest “oops” experience: painting 4 massive swatches of various greys directly onto the original “cocoa” colored walls of my bedroom, only to decide a week later that my favorite shade of grey was the original “cocoa!” (Yes, I had to repaint the whole room.)

Proudest DIY: A 2-way tie: Unstitching a vintage French hemp grain sac on both sides, tossing a rug pad under it and turning it into a hall runner. Finding an abandoned metal console on the sidewalk, de-rusting it, painting it black, buying a thin plank of wood for the top and staple gunning a thin layer of sea grass over it.

Biggest Indulgence: A heavy hand-woven mauve linen bed-throw that I did NOT get at Housing Works.

Best Advice: Fill your space (“decorate” is an awful word — too intentional) with things you love without worry as to whether anything belongs — if you feel like putting it there, it belongs. Once you live in a space for a while, you stop “seeing” things, and it’s easy for it to become cluttered. Seasonal trips to Housing Works with a bag of “stuff” is highly recommended. Lastly, unless you are bumping into the furniture, you don’t need brighter lights.

Dream Source: The curb, followed closely by Housing Works Thrift Shop.

Housing Works: Vassily chair, Saarinan copy side table
ABC Home: Dining table, striped upholstery for 2 large dining room chairs
Dune: couch
Moss: Four small standing lamps (living room and bedroom)
Antique Fair: bureau in dining room and venetian glass mirror

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

See the details of Michelle’s kitchen in her Kitchen Tour at the Kitchn.
Images: Jill Slater

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