Name: Stella Rose Saint Clair and cats Inch, Filbert, and Beeboo
Location: Bushwick — Brooklyn, New York
Size: One bedroom
Years lived in: 2 years, rented
Pink covers nearly all the walls of this Brooklyn rental, the home and fashion studio of designer, stylist, model, and cat-mom Stella Rose Saint Clair (yes, that's her real name). Glance quickly at items currently for sale under her line "It's Stella Rose" and you'll spot an out-of-this-world array of faux fur poms, rose embroidered items, plant prints, and lots of biting wit. The same themes are displayed around her one-bedroom apartment, too: Printed curtains from her collaboration with Print All Over Me bring a verdant garden vibe to her living room window. Hats adorn the wall as decor, not hidden away in storage. Faux plants and flowers festoon a bedside nightstand and the kitchen dining table. Stella Rose is certainly not lacking in creativity when it comes to coloring her world.
This self-styled punk, who has collaborated on some pretty outrageous fashion adventures throughout her career, is almost always dripping in glam and glitz. But her home and personal style spark inspiration beyond surface adornments; the way she lives a life authentic to herself is something worth emulating. As she speaks about in the video tour above, drugs aren't her thing, and as you can see on her Instagram, homemade smoothies and vegan eating are how she fuels herself.
Allowing yourself to evolve—to be curious and play around with different things that interest you—seems to also be a running theme: Apartment Therapy photographed still photos of Stella and her home on a different day than the video shoot, and in the short time between the two, both her space and person look different.
Currently, you can find her working with good people at Manic Panic as a day job and selling her own wares on her website (as well as some hand-curated vintage goods). It's maybe not what you would consider a typical career. It might not be for you. It's probably not considered "the norm." But the very fact that Stella's building her own fashion empire and designing a happy apartment in her own unique way is evidence that you should never let "not fitting in" get you down—do it your own way. As Stella writes about in this blog post, there's no "right" way:
"...I think what keeps a lot of us from reaching our biggest goals is the idea that we're not doing it 'right' from the get go. We don't want to take a plunge until we feel everything has fallen into place, but as you've probably heard before–if you wait for the right time, you'll be waiting forever. Learn to love and accept your crazy, stressful, messy, and totally imperfect current situation until you have nothing but pride in what you've created–it's all yours after all! It may be 75 percent stressful, chaotic, and totally not 'aesthetic,' but I run my dream business from my living room right now and so can you."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Retro/Punk/Kawaii.
Inspiration: The 1960s, cult movie sets, LA aesthetic, and a cake.
Favorite Element: My pink walls. Every apartment or room I've lived in in the past few years I've painted this same color.
Biggest Embarrassment: My bathroom door doesn't shut all the way and every time I'm in there all three of my cats manage to end up in there as well.
Proudest DIY: My pink walls, again! They took a long time to paint, even with a few loyal helpers.
Biggest Indulgence: A nice, long bath.
Best Advice: You can make even the shabbiest apartment look incredible with the right styling.
PAINT & COLORS
Benjamin Moore — Blush Tone everywhere...
Rococo Sofa — I bought this beautiful piece off a divorcée in Staten Island. My old roommate found it on Craigslist (she's a Craigslist master). The home it came from looked exactly like the sofa with stone cherub sculptures and a spiral staircase; it was like a fun house of bad taste, which is also how I would describe my own living quarters, but for different reasons.
Angry Animal Cushions — These are illustrations I created for a series of t-shirts, but I had them blown up and made them into cushions to decorate a pop-up shop I hosted last summer. Cute and scary is a combination I relate to on the regular.
Tropical Curtains — I designed these curtains in collaboration with Print All Over Me. I've always loved pink and green together. In high school I helped my best friend paint his whole bedroom pink and green. I've since been hard pressed to find a better general color combination, except for maybe pink and red.
Kitchen Table — My friend Marijana found this amazing vintage table on the street in Queens and my friend Gooby helped my haul it home. Nobody in my neighborhood throws anything good away so I have to travel to find the cool street furniture.
Kitchen Chairs and Cactus Lamp – Amazon
Wall Paper – Flavor Paper
Vanity – My friend Sara and I had several friends over to admire this vanity when we bought it together years ago. The mirror on it cracked before our eyes as we sat in front of it. I'm still not sure what it was trying to tell us, except that its screws were in too tight.
Lamp – Vintage
Hat Collection – I've been collecting hats for ages. Some even belonged to my mom or to my late step grandma who was a stewardess in the early 1960s. Hats should be stored on display because they are art.