A Costume Designer and Quilter Share a Colorfully Minimal New York Rental

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Costume Designer and Quilter Share a Colorfully Minimal New York Rental

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Jack Schmitz, Christopher Thompson, and their Frenchie, Edie.
Location: Hell’s Kitchen — New York, NY
Size: 675 square feet, plus terrace
Years lived in: Almost a year, renting

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For creative couple Jack Schmitz and Christopher Thompson, the search for their first apartment together ended up working out far beyond their expectations. Through a diligent hunt, they found their dream duplex in Hell’s Kitchen, and have set about designing it in a way that complements their creative work, as well as their life together with their pup, Edie.

Their home perfectly encapsulates a colorful minimalism—and yes, it is this clean all the time! Since their work and side projects all involve a lot of visual stimulus, it was important for them to find a way to create a space that would reflect their style, while also providing respite. This is achieved beautifully throughout the apartment by careful choices of color combinations and textures, allowing for plenty of white space, and most importantly: meticulously organized storage solutions.

You’d never know from just looking at the space that Jack often designs clothing there, and that Christopher works on his creative side project, The Tattooed Quilter. The couple’s problem-solving when it comes to storing large amounts of fabric, materials, and a sewing machine is impressive, and they handle beautifully the typical challenges of combining clothes and other items when you first move in together.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern romantic, simple and streamlined.

Inspiration: Clean lines, simple shapes, and furnishings with a soul. In curating our home’s style, we’ve let the pieces find us, which has created a genuine space that feels effortless and authentic to our personal tastes. We also are blessed to live in an apartment with a ton of natural light and unobstructed views, so keeping the apartment light and airy was really important to us. We don’t have any artwork on the walls, and we chose to let our touches of color come through in our collection of houseplants and statement furniture pieces.

Favorite Element: Choosing a favorite element is like choosing a favorite child! Different pieces have memories attached to them, and when we moved in together, we didn’t have a ton of “baggage” that we were bringing to the new space. We chose to start mostly from scratch, only bringing essential pieces that felt would best serve as a foundation for a new chapter in our lives. If we HAD to pick, Jack would probably choose the glass-front cabinet that holds our liquor, glassware, and a small sampling of our extensive vintage and antique quilt collection. Chris’ choice would be an antique quilt Jack had given him, acquired at great lengths from overseas after being sold to another person at Brimfield Flea Market.

Biggest Challenge: We both sew outside of our day jobs. Christopher has a successful creative side business, and Jack designs and makes parts of his wardrobe, so finding an apartment that had enough room for us to actually create in proved more difficult than we had imagined. Ample storage and space to spread out to cut fabric, as well as decent light to see what we were sewing seemed like an impossible feat, until we found this apartment.

What Friends Say: Most friends would probably say that it looks like a magazine, because we are both fairly tidy people (Chris is infinitely more militant), but having a young dog can be messier than you think, and we didn’t want to add our own clutter to the mix. Most enjoy our spectacular view, while others can’t believe how quiet it is given our proximity to Times Square.

Biggest Embarrassment: Believe it or not, Edie’s crate is somewhat of an eyesore, at least to us. Most probably wouldn’t notice, but we wouldn’t begrudge her having a space to call her own.

Proudest DIY: We wanted these high-end, wall-mounted lamps next to our bed and Jack sourced an identical option at a lower price point, but customized them by completely rewiring them. He used fabric covered cording and vintage style plugs to elevate an affordable fixture into something much more personal. Jack’s proudest DIY would be his green thumb, and keeping all of the many plants alive throughout the apartment.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence would have to be our rooftop terrace. We know it is a luxury to have outdoor space in the city, let alone a completely private space. Our opposite work schedules leave us with little time together and the terrace is a place for us to connect and decompress. It doesn’t hurt that our friends love coming over and relaxing, too! Jack is quite the bartender.

Best Advice: Our best advice is complex. Moving in with a significant other creates a variety of challenges, especially when mixing different aesthetics. Keeping an open mind and choosing pieces both people can love (or at least learn to) ultimately creates a balanced home. Not everything we own we intend to have for the rest of our lives, but we agree that it is better to save and buy something once, rather than replace it constantly. Nothing in our home is overly “trendy,” so had we purchased something on impulse, we’d have a mix of conflicting pieces. We originally set out to decorate our apartment with a long list of things that we’d like to come across out in the world, and when we came across them and the time was right, we struck. It’s allowed us to have a cohesive space with varying elements that feel truly personal, and we wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Dream Sources: We both hunt high and low to find new ideas! We love going to flea markets, vintage and antique stores, and even Craigslist because you can find some of the most unexpected things. The store Furnish Green has been an amazing resource, as has Room and Board, but places like Heath Ceramics, Vermont Farmhouse Pottery, Hawkins New York, Terrain, and the website Food 52 have given us plenty of things to lust over.


Antique French Armoire Mirror — Craigslist

Box Frame Expandable Dining Table — West Elm
Classic Café Dining Chairs — West Elm
Hernwood 55” Dining Bench — Target
Cake Stands — Mosser Glass
Glass Front Case — Furnish Green
Candle — Le Labo

Keegan Sofa in Peacock — Macy’s
Otis Swivel Chairs in Vance Blossom — Room and Board
Astor Floor Lamp — Crate and Barrel
Terrace Television Console — West Elm
Military Ammunition Box — Antique Store in Tennessee
Brass Fly Ashtray — Family Heirloom
Black Ceramic French Bulldog — Gilt
Cast Tripod Table — West Elm
Candle — Cire Trudon
Floor Rug — Home Depot
Plants — The Sill
Assorted Throw Pillows — Home Goods/Anthropologie/World Market

Parsons Bed with custom frame height — Room and Board
Mattress — Casper
Antique Dresser — Green Flea Market on the Upper West Side
Customized Eyeball Sconce Wall Lamps — Urban Outfitters
Bedside Stool and Louise Tray — Furnish Green and Hawkins New York
Candle — Cire Trudon
Gold Dipped Pink Pinch Bowl — Fisheye Brooklyn
Large Glass Cloche — Home Goods
Pink Globe — Anthropologie
Vintage Desk Lamp — Antique Store in Tennessee
Custom Pet Portrait — The Laughing Nest
Runner — HomeGoods
Quilt — Emily and Meritt for Pottery Barn
Assorted Throw Pillows — West Elm
Mid-Century Turned Leg Plant Stand — West Elm
Plants — The Sill

Milk Bottle Match Striker — Vermont Farmhouse Pottery
Small Glass Cloche — Ikea
Louise Vase — Hawkins New York
Hand Soap — Aesop

Thanks, Jack, Christopher + Edie!

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