Fanciful Trompe-l’œil Murals Make This 500-Square-Foot NYC Studio One-of-a-Kind

published Dec 12, 2022

Fanciful Trompe-l’œil Murals Make This 500-Square-Foot NYC Studio One-of-a-Kind

published Dec 12, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft
House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Name: Calvin Hrezik and diluted tortoiseshell cat, Disco Stardust
Location: Manhattan, New York City
Type of Home: Studio Apartment
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

When interior designer Calvin Hrezik moved into this 500-square-foot studio apartment a year ago, the space was a perfect “blank canvas of a box” that Calvin could turn into anything he wanted.

“With pretty original hardwood floors, a view of a garden for my cat to eyeball the pigeons, enough closet storage to make Carrie Bradshaw swoon (and perfect to make sure a studio isn’t cluttered), and a kitchen that’s tucked away for my minimum cooking skills, I was sold,” he explains. While it’s an undeniably small home, Calvin didn’t limit his imagination. Instead, he filled the compact home with a ton of his “opulent cozy maximalism” style, including inviting his muralist friend, Colton Ackerman, to create fanciful trompe-l’œil (French for “to fool the eye”) adornments everywhere.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Well-traveled opulent cozy maximalism. For furnishings and decor, I found that I gravitate toward clean, modern-lined pieces with rich color and patterned vintage textiles to keep it layered and balanced between fresh and soulful. My motto in design is that every space should have a story to tell, and every piece that I’ve collected in my home sparks joy and has meaning to me. I found my love for interiors from my grandpa taking me to flea markets as a kid and being surrounded by beautiful vintage finds that had many lives lived of their own. My home is filled with vintage pieces, some that I bought with him scouring the flea markets in Cleveland at a young age and some that he even sent over as my own little personal shopper in his final years.

I layer in whatever art and curiosities gave me a smile on my travels, and maybe even something cheeky along the way, because I always like to keep people on their toes. The main statement of the living space is the Hay Mags Sofa that I scored from HD Buttercup in L.A. that perfectly stamps the bold, colorful, casual, and comfortable life I like to design for myself, adorned with pillows galore and my cat to cuddle with.

Inspiration: My admiration for Indian block-print textiles led the color palette, creating a rich yet cozy feeling throughout the home.

Favorite Element: I brought in my oh-so-talented muralist friend Colton Ackerman to collaborate on trompe-l’œil (“to fool the eye”) paintings throughout, but in a cartoonish, campy, “Mary Poppins” way. The tassels dance on the tops of the Benjamin Moore “Coastal Cottage” walls around the main area, tying off a faux curtain into the entrance and closet hallway, complete with a painting of my cat, Disco Stardust, participating in her favorite pastime of pawing at pigeons.

I wanted a dramatic and bold entrance to the apartment in the hallway to transport you once stepping in, painting it a moody and peachy Benjamin Moore “San Antonio Rose” and carrying through the cartoony elegance dichotomy with trompe-l’œil Frenchy trim along the Carrie Bradshaw length of closet doors and walls on either side.

I added Etsy @Lakehousetreasury custom door knobs made from perfectly imperfect stones to play up the wonkiness of the paint strokes, which just so happen to be collected from the Cleveland shores of Lake Erie where I grew up. Finally, Colton topped off the bathroom shower with painted Benjamin Moore “Gentleman’s Gray” frames filled with a few of my favorite things, inspired by the idea of flooding all of the bathroom walls with my queer art collection.

Proudest DIY: The 10-foot ceilings and paper-thin walls led to the idea of placing acoustical panels on either side of the walls on the bedroom side of the home. Covering up the panels sparked a creative way to turn functionality into a highlight of the space, and adding the “Aviva” curtains from Anthropologie all along the bedroom area was the perfect solution. It not only hid the panels, but gave a visual divide of separating the living and bedroom space. It also played up the height of the ceilings while also adding another layer of opulent coziness.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I love for friends and family to see is that a space can be inviting and cozy while also being rich in color, layers, and visual interest. I love my home to be a mix of my own past and my own fantasies. So what’s your story to tell?



  • Entry Hallway — Benjamin Moore “San Antonio Rose” in Eggshell
  • Main Area — Benjamin Moore “Coastal Cottage” in Eggshell
  • Bathroom — Benjamin Moore “Gentleman’s Gray” in High Gloss




  • Curtains — Anthropologie (Sold Out)
  • Sage Linen Bedding — CB2
  • Embroidered Lumbar Pillow — Aelfie
  • Vintage ’70s orange table lamp — The Hartville, Ohio Flea Market
  • Wood Planter — Jamali
  • Vintage Faux Bamboo Painted Nightstand — Dobbin St. Co-op
  • Vintage Rug — The New York Chelsea Flea
  • Custom Murals — Colton Ackerman
  • (In Bookshelf) Vintage Fan lamp — Chairish


Thanks Calvin!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form