Scott Leaves the Suburbs Behind

Scott Leaves the Suburbs Behind

Jill Slater
Jan 13, 2011

Name: Scott
Location: Long Island City waterfront — Queens, New York
Size: 838 square feet — 1 bedroom with 1,400 square feet outdoor garden
Years lived in: 9 months

Some loyal Apartment Therapy fans may recall Scott's incredibly impressive home in Edgewater, New Jersey. Tired of that home's vintage, constraining kitchen, however, Scott decided to migrate to more urban and contemporary digs.

Scott — being nothing if not thorough — spent months looking at apartments all over New York City. He settled on a one-bedroom with the extremely rare combination of vast city skyline views and backyard space. Welcome to the brand new Long Island City waterfront! While living in a ground floor unit with a ton of outdoor space satisfied Scott's suburban sensibilities, the lack of a sprawling basement and multiple bedrooms was a big adjustment.

Minimizing, decluttering, and in the end, selling most of his 'collections' on Craigslist made it possible for Scott to fit his former 1,400 square foot life into his new home. In fact, his weekly Craigslist purges were so fantastic that certain families showed up every week. They knew Scott was a quality seller and that whatever he was getting rid of was in their best interests to buy.

When choosing what to keep, Scott took only "the best of the best." He already owned all the furniture he'd need for his new place, so he put his energy into accessories, organization, and the living room's built-in bookshelves with rolling ladder. Scott makes use of every inch in every closet. His storage system is superlative, to the point that every box, bin, and vessel is labeled and exists in peace with its neighbors.

Scott managed to successfully transform a generic new loft-style condo space into something incredibly designed and well-planned. He may have had to get rid of more than half of his belongings but now, in his new home, he feels the better for it!

Apartment Therapy Survey

Style:: Clean & Comfortable. I like to mix different periods and styles. The uniting theme in my home is that all the pieces are things that I love.

Inspiration:: As an architect, I try to make choices that can best address the space and improve upon it. The tall ceiling heights (12-13'), while striking, required careful handling because the room widths were not huge. The challenge was to accentuate the height while making it properly scaled. To do this, I added higher baseboards, increased the cabinets' heights in the kitchen, did large format art work, added color (warm tones in the living spaces, cool tones in the bedroom and bath), and did extensive lighting work (ceiling fixtures, closet lights, under cabinet lighting, etc.). My next project is to tackle the windows with some drapery hardware and panels. I think I will choose an interesting pattern to help accentuate the ceiling heights while adding scale.

Favorite Element: The wall of books is the best improvement I made to capitalize on the amazing ceiling heights.

Biggest Challenge: Downsizing from a large space into a small space — it was scary but it's greatly simplified my life for the better.

What Friends Say: At first people are taken aback by the view — day or night it's one of the best in NYC. After they take in the view, usually people want to know if the yard is actually private (it is), and the size of the bathroom. It's very rare to find a place where you can be connected to the ground — through my garden — yet have full skyline views and open sky.

Biggest Embarrassment: I had a September housewarming party and my dining table and chairs hadn't arrived. It didn't rain, so we sat outside. I was sure people would pick up on the lack of a place to eat inside but no one said a thing. Such well mannered guests!

Proudest DIY: Every little project I do, I've really enjoyed. The apartment may never be totally complete. I'm always moving things around and experimenting. The lighting was both the physically hardest project and the key to making the space warmer and inviting. I hired an electrician, but I acted as his assistant to save on the cost. Pulling wiring in an apartment with 13' ceilings is not an easy task. It required a lot of up and down on tall ladders and I was worried the electrician was going to have a heart attack on me!

Biggest Indulgence: The book shelves and the book ladder. I wavered for months, searching for an alternative. I love the ladder, but I didn't like paying for it.

Best Advice: Try to purchase things you really love and that really function for your needs. It saves time and money in the long run. Downsizing was a great learning process. I was able to edit my previous purchasing decisions and priorities.

Dream Source: Poliform — the shelving and closets are like art work.



    • Bookshelves and Kitchen Cabinets: designed by Scott manufactured by Craftline Cabinets
    • Book Ladder: Putnam Rolling Ladder, SoHo NYC
    • Baseboards & Loft: materials from Dykes Lumber LIC, built by Zio at Accurate & Reliable Home Improvement
    • Loft bedding: IKEA
    • Dining Table & Chairs: Room & Board
    • Desk: custom made Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    • Sofa: Martha Stewart (out of production), accent pillows Design within Reach
    • Coffee Table: Martha Stewart (out of production)
    • Wood Stools: House Eclectic
    • Rug: Karastan
    • Kitchen Wallpaper: Cole & Son "Woods 2"
    • Art work: Paris Map designed by Scott, framed by Décor Art Gallery, Park Avenue South in the mid 20s.
    • City Plates: Not Neutral, hangers from Container Store
    • Christmas Tree: narrow 10' tree, 52" wide,
    • Blinds: NJ NY Building Service, Morris
    • Lighting: Gracious Home
    • Paint Colors: Tan walls Benjamin Moore Litchfield Gray (HC-78), Doors & Trim Benjamin Moor Cotton Balls (OC-122), Accent Wall Benjamin Moore Caliente (AF-290)


    • Blinds: NJ NY Building Service
    • Bed: Thomasville, Lumine (being discontinued)
    • Bedding, mixed sources, Lands End, Restoration Hardware, Target, Pendleton
    • Bachelors Chest (used as night table), Thomasville, Cinnamon Hill
    • Dresser, Thomasville, Cinnamon Hill
    • Chair, Room & Board (out of production)
    • Oval Book Table, Baker Milling Road
    • Wood Stools, House Eclectic
    • Art work, New York and London prints Ethan Allen
    • Deer Head, Roost
    • Rug, Karastan French Quarter Bluestone
    • Blinds: NJ NY Building Service
    • Lamps, William Sonoma Home & Pottery Barn
    • Lighting, closets & ceiling Gracious Home
    • Ceiling Fan, Room & Board
    • Paint Colors: Light blue walls Ralph Lauren Sea & Sky Colors Basalt (SS01), Doors & Trim Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls (OC-122)
    • Closet systems: Elfa from Container Store
    • Closet wallpaper: Tribeca street scenes by Amanda Paul, Paul Kohn Design
    • Closet tie rack: designed by Scott, made by Woodshed in Weehawken New Jersey


    • Barbecue: Weber Natural Gas Grill from Home Depot
    • Teak: Country Casual, Gaithersburg, Maryland
    • Cushions: Country Casual Sunbrella in Sapphire Blue

Thanks Scott!

Images: Jill Slater

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