Stephen Improvises a Home

Stephen Improvises a Home

Jill Slater
Feb 3, 2010

Name: Stephen
Location: Chelsea
Size: 750 square feet 1 bedroom
Years lived in: 6 years

Stephen cleans the wooden blinds in his bedroom every morning. He opens the top window, lowers the blinds out over 8th Avenue and gives them a shake. Knowing this makes it easy to imagine how impeccable a home Stephen maintains at all times!

But Stephen isn't only concerned with order and a dust-free home. He also likes to collect things and use his home as a canvas for artistic expression. For example, in the bedroom, Stephen has amassed a large array of crosses. While he was raised Catholic and served as an altar boy growing up, Stephen explains that now he appreciates each object for its artistry and the expression of the craftsperson who made it.

"Your house is your kingdom," says Stephen. "Your house is your home and it must be perfectly arranged." To illustrate his point, books are segregated by subject and located in different parts of the apartment. Clothes are lined up in the closet from light to dark. The dogs leashes are lined up and displayed as if an installation in a gallery.

Stephen, owner of Protein Bakery, exercise instructor at David Barton Gym, and theater actor/director is clearly a person who likes to extract as much as possible out of life. Stephen had the phrase 'the best life ever' written on his chalkboard for a very long time. One day he decided to make the idea permanent and have it tattooed on his wall. So, he commissioned a local tattoo artist to come into his home and inscribe his living room wall.

While Stephen has spent many years designing spaces — he was doing Benetton's windows as a teenager — he has no formal design training. He improvises and is quite good at it. It is easy to be infected by his incredible optimism and enthusiasm for life. His home is a direct reflection of his sincerity, energy and creativity.

Check out Stephen's kitchen at

Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: : San Francisco taste meets New York City lifestyle.

Inspiration: Born in Walnut Creek, CA and lived in San Francisco for many years. I strive to create a sanctuary that keeps the spirit of Northern California in the heart of New York City. No work at home — just a place to unwind and leave the pace of the city behind.

Favorite Element: The sunlight from the airshaft in the middle of the apartment and from the bathroom ceiling.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping the open simple feel of the entire space balanced with artistic expression.

What Friends Say: I have the cleanest apartment they have ever seen.

Biggest Embarrassment: Four flights of stairs about which almost everyone has to make a comment.

Proudest DIY: Paint chip wall and paint color choices.

Biggest Indulgence: Creating a WICKED inspired room with the props from my 40th birthday party and drawing my wall tattoo.

Best Advice: Use creativity instead of money.

Dream Source: The streets of Manhattan.

Images: Jill Slater

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