Polka Dots and Hot Pink Help Make This Tiny Studio Quirky Chic

updated Jun 14, 2019

Polka Dots and Hot Pink Help Make This Tiny Studio Quirky Chic

updated Jun 14, 2019
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Name: Carrie Carrollo
Location: Upper East Side — New York, NY
Size: 320 square feet
Years lived in: 7 months, renting

Carrie’s apartment has its own name. Wanting to create a “fun, memorable name, like a wedding hashtag” for her apartment as she began to post photos of her space, Carrie thought of ways to combine her name and different words for home. In the end, she combined a nickname (Spicy Curray) with the word Chateau—inspired by a recent visit to Chateau Marmont in LA—and created, “Chateau Spicy Curray.” The name has been framed and included as part of the gallery wall in the entryway for all visitors to see as they enter the space. This act of naming of her apartment speaks to the way Carrie personalizes and brings herself to the space, which extends to her decor and furniture choices.

Carrie, a beauty editor at POPSUGAR, has had nine addresses in the past eight years. Now, her current apartment on the Upper East Side blends together personal moments and her eclectic style. Selected decor pieces speak to each other in a way that ultimately creates a cohesive space in the studio apartment layout.

In addition to having pieces that are interconnected, her apartment decor and design showcases her life, incorporating people and places that have been influential. Some of the most meaningful pieces in the apartment are tied to Carrie’s personal history and have traveled with her through apartment transitions: an antique clock from her grandparents’ impressive 70-year collection of antiques and a framed card that reads “1. I don’t know. 2. I’m still learning.” imparted to her by her high-school photography teacher. By keeping everything really personal and interconnected, Carrie has created a space that, according to her friends, is so her.

Apartment Therapy House Tour Survey:

My Style: Eclectic. I love color, pattern, quirky accents, mid-century modern influences, and apparently lots of animal motifs.

Inspiration: What I already owned or knew I wanted to own, like the Periodic Table print. Each purchase or find dictated the next one.

Favorite Element: Ironically, it’s either all the color or all the black and white. The most meaningful pieces though are the ones that have been with me the longest—an antique clock from my grandparents’ impressive, 70-year-old collection, the canvas print above my bed, or the framed card on my gallery wall that reads “1. I don’t know. 2. I’m still learning.” It’s survived eight years and nine addresses.

Biggest Challenge: Figuring out a studio layout! I’m lucky that my separate kitchen gave me a fourth wall, but it also meant I truly had one “big,” open room to work with. I wanted each area to feel separate without physically separating them, but for the whole space to feel fluid and cohesive.

What Friends Say: First, that my apartment is “so me.” Second, that they’re jealous of all the closet space (I have four). Then they recruit me to help with their own decor projects.

Biggest Embarrassment: That the only real plants in my apartment are small (…and mostly dead) succulents.

Proudest DIY: Finding a use for that zebra wallpaper. I knew I wanted it the moment I saw it, but the end result was quite different from my original plan. I was initially going to use it on the back of a built-in bookshelf in the hallway (now a shoe closet with a door), then ordered it to fit an IKEA BILLY Bookcase. When that was backordered, I ended up with a similar Wayfair option, but realized the back of each shelf had to be applied individually. Honestly, I still can’t believe everything lines up!

Biggest Indulgence: Price-wise, my West Elm couch. This is the second apartment I’ve had it in and it’s 100 percent worth the investment! Really though, the biggest personal indulgence was the (ultra-affordable and extremely vibrant) green oriental rug—my all-time favorite color. I briefly considered getting a neutral rug and just using green accents, but ultimately decided to go all in. It paid off in the end; the rug set the tone for my entire apartment.

Best Advice: Use Pinterest and other people’s spaces for general ideas and help figuring out your layout, but buy (or thrift, find, or inherit) the pieces you really like. Even if they don’t flow together right away, you’ll find other pieces that help them work and ultimately end up with a space that feels like you. Also, there’s a DIY and a second use for everything.

Dream Sources: Thrift stores that make you search for hidden gems, over-dyed rugs from around the world, and virtually anything Jonathan Adler makes. Quirky chic is very much my style, and I’ve never met a piece of his that I don’t love.


Life’s a Bitch Print — Society6
Runner — Now House by Jonathan Adler
Eye Mirrors — H&M Home
Green Letter Board — Amazon
Assorted Gallery Wall Pieces — Mix of self-produced/printed pieces, collected objects, and prints from flea markets or Society6. Amazon/Target frames.

Gold Bistro Table — CB2
Chairs — Amazon
Lamp — Target
Vogue Print — Etsy
Poster Hanger — Amazon

Marble Contact Paper — Amazon
Bowl — Target
Lemon Towels — HomeGoods
Striped Mat — Amazon
Van Gogh Sunflower Canvas Print — Joss & Main

Couch — West Elm
Rug — Joss & Main
Coffee Table — Joss & Main covered in Amazon marble contact paper
Credenza — AllModern
Lamp — AllModern
Mirror — Thrifted in Brooklyn
Clock — Antique from grandparents’ clock collection
Gold Marble Tray — Target
Zebra Knobs — Anthropologie
Gold Handle — Anthropologie
Faux Birds of Paradise — Target
Faux Monstera Leaf — CB2
Fuzzy Pillows — Target
Printed Pillow — Ikea

Ugh, Shut Up! Print — Society6
Girls & Fruit Print — Society6
Girls & Leafs Print — Society6
Periodic Table of NYC Trash — YoungBlanks
Bench — Hayneedle
Arched Mirror — World Market
Shelves-Turned-Plant-Holders — Target
Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig — Target
Faux Hanging Plant — Amazon
Assorted Faux Plants — IKEA, Target

Bed Frame — Amazon
Fuzzy Pillow — Now House by Jonathan Adler
Circular Pillow — Target
Cat Pillow — Urban Outfitters
Tassel Shams — Wayfair
Duvet Cover — West Elm
Pop Art Canvas Print — Self-Printed at Costco
Striped Curtains — Wayfair
Kris Jenner Print — Society6
Gemini Print – Canal Street Market
Pig Print — Love Menu Art
Gold Square Frames — Amazon
Bookshelf — Wayfair
Zebra Wallpaper — Etsy
Faux Ferns — Amazon
Lamp — Target
Rug — Overstock

Thanks, Carrie!

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