A Small NYC Apartment Boasts Enviable Natural Light, Lofty Ceilings, and Renter-Friendly Ideas
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Name: Nisha Pandit and husband, Jason Cherry
Location: New York City
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Two years ago, my husband Jason and I moved into our bright one-bedroom apartment in midtown Manhattan. We immediately fell in love with the space for its natural light and lofty ceilings. We both work in finance and decided to invest in our space last year since we would be spending a lot more time at home due to the pandemic. We bought several pieces secondhand and added family heirlooms from the homes that we grew up in. It was important for me to include Southwestern elements in our apartment since most of my early life was spent living in the heart of Texas. Our apartment is filled with winks to our personalities and embodies the things we like doing together, whether it’s playing or listening to music, traveling the world, dancing in our living room, or crafting.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Mid-century modern with a touch of Texas in this artsy NYC abode
We really focused on making our apartment feel like “us.” Last summer, Jason and I had the opportunity to spend a few months quarantining in my mother and stepfather’s home in Memphis, Tennessee. During our visit, I went through the attic and brought back sentimental pieces that embody my Texan roots to showcase in our apartment. The maroon Southwestern rug was chosen by my mother and late father when they decorated their first home together in 1992. It has a rich pop of color and brings bold character to our living room. Growing up, I used to pretend that the rug was lava and would jump on the white parts of the rug to “cross the lava.”
Jason really appreciates well-made furniture and selected the nightstands in our bedroom. After scouring secondhand furniture websites, he happened upon a pair of original vintage nightstands with hardware and dovetail-jointed drawers. After purchasing the nightstands from the seller at an amazing price, we discovered that they were created by a famous architect, Paul Frankl, who designed for Brown Saltman in the 1950s. The blonde mahogany end tables feature Art Deco accents and a hand-carved border.
Jason and I love painting together and taking pictures when on vacation. The small framed artwork in the bar area is from our first summer together when we painted with watercolors while picnicking in Tompkins Square Park. We also made the glam, Rothko-inspired artwork above our bed to incorporate more of our artsy personality into our home. I wanted to create a painting that reflected the same meditative qualities in our room that I felt during my visits to the Rothko Chapel in Houston. The “Nishko” does just that except with an added twist of pastel shades and gold leaf. Ever since I was a kid, I was always fascinated with shiny objects. This was amplified because my parents owned a jewelry store with all kinds of colorful gemstone pieces. In middle school, I became known for my bright clothing, jewelry, and glitter eye shadow. As an adult, I channeled my love for sparkle toward my glitter paintings. So naturally, I had to make one of these glitter creations for our space in NYC. I decided to make a glitter painting of David Bowie because I had just moved to New York, and every time I would plug in headphones into my phone “Changes” would automatically start playing. I took that as a sign for my next painting.
The cactus photograph near our window may look like a stock photo but was actually taken by us on our trip to Arizona for our friends’ wedding. We had so much fun posing like cacti in front of the plants in most of the photos but opted to pick one without us in it to hang in our apartment. Sometimes when we pass it, Jason will start twist his arms in a cactus pose, and we both start cracking up! Instead of wallpapering in the traditional sense, we opted to attach Southwestern-patterned wallpaper to two canvases that we had lying around from unfinished art projects. These canvased wallpaper frames bring dimension to our living room and create the illusion that our apartment is much more spacious because they are placed side by side. An added benefit from this project is that it’s rental-friendly, and there is zero waste because we can take our canvases with us if we move.
What is your favorite room and why? The living room is our favorite space because it’s so airy and bright! During the day, it’s drenched with calm, natural light from our north-facing windows. In the evenings, skyscrapers light up, and you get a city view that is equally beautiful. Our couch is my favorite piece of furniture because it is so cozy and accommodates two of our favorite things: movie nights and naps on the weekends! Our bar area is also a close second favorite since we start out mornings on the golden chairs and drink coffee together. On the days that we work from home, the bar functions as a standing desk space.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We wanted to incorporate as many plants as we could to soften our space and create a relaxed feel since our typical life is wrapped up in the NYC hustle and bustle. Recently, someone in our apartment complex gave away their extra-large Monstera Deliciosa. We are excited to welcome “Grandpa Swiss” as the third member of our monstera family!
Any advice for creating a home you love? Start with one bold item that makes a statement, and add neutral pieces that allow it to shine. Color choice is important in a home because certain colors can affect your mood and make a space look larger or smaller. I would also encourage people to mix different styles. Don’t be afraid to mix Southwestern with mid-century modern, and throw in some glam! Remember that your space should be a reflection of you, so there is no wrong answer.
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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