Small Cool 2010: Mary Kathryn's Animated & Organized

Small Cool 2010: Mary Kathryn's Animated & Organized

Aaron Able
Apr 19, 2010

Who Lives Here: Mary Kathryn
Location: Park Slope — Brooklyn, NYC
Size: 660 square feet

What is your favorite element of your Small & Cool home? My favorite aspect of my apartment is that it totally reflects my personality and who I am. Everyone who comes over comments on that. I'm really loud and generally quite animated so the loud prints and colors are fitting, but I'm also a neurotic perfectionist who likes everything to be very organized and have a place. And I dress like this apartment is decorated, too — I love mixing prints, colors, and styles that others might argue clash and finding ways to bring them together (in fact as I write this I'm wearing a ruffled, tiny liberty-print camisole with a navy + white striped cardigan over it and a big-floral-print scarf)…

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…Plus there are multiple references to my childhood in Arkansas, including a pair of framed vintage Arkansas postcards on the wall, a vase filled with cotton bulbs since I'm from the land where "cotton is king" (though unfortunately the cotton bulbs aren't in any of my photos), and pieces of traditional monogrammed china in bright pink. And there are also pieces that reflect my life here in Brooklyn, like a pair of graphic bicycle prints (since I love riding my big red beach cruiser all over Brooklyn). Though the bicycle prints aren't in any of my photos, either, since for the life of me I could not get a good, clear shot of them.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in furnishing your Small Cool home?
I actually don't think of any major challenges in furnishing my home, but I'll tell you what has worked well for me: every time I move into a new home I buy one or two new, key pieces. I've done this with each move from my very first apartment when my parents helped me buy a chair and ottoman, to a move a year ago when I bought my first-ever rug, until this most recent move in November when I got new bed linens and towels and finally bought a new sofa (the time I moved before that, even the movers commented that I should really think about getting a new sofa).

I've always tried to buy really practical pieces that will grow with me over time, pieces that are sized to functionally work in my little NYC spaces, and things that I won't get sick of down the road (which is why you see lots of bold prints on the accents like pillows and drapes and not on the upholstery and bigger-ticket items). That strategy has worked really well for me and has allowed me to make each home slightly upgraded over the last, and it also doesn't require me to fork over tons of money by trying to buy a bunch of furniture at once.

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