About a year ago, I moved out of my duplex in Brooklyn. I’d been spending most of my time with Zach at our house in Amagansett, and found that keeping that big apartment had become a burden. I was tired of the the overhead, the maintenance, the stuff, the neighborhood, the space. Craving simplicity, I needed a drastic change.
Zach suggested we transition our city life into a railroad apartment in Chelsea he’d had since grad school. The idea was certainly scary: could we coexist in such a small space?! But the idea of staying stagnant was even scarier, so together we made the leap. I did a major purge, getting rid of at least 80% of everything I owned. Together, we gutted the little studio: ripping out the horrible kitchen cabinets and replacing the factory-issue appliances with elegant vintage alternatives, installing glossy new black floors, applying fresh coats of paint throughout, and hanging wallpaper in the bedroom.
With a little creativity and elbow grease, we transformed a narrow-but-long, cozy-but-light-filled, pre-war apartment into the perfect pied-à-terre for our nomadic life. Because of its size, we had to make every item we put into it count, so it’s filled only with things we cherish, memories we’ve collected together. We’ve pumped a lot of love into it, and in return the space has given us so much. It’s allowed us the freedom to keep a house at the beach, to only take on professional projects that we love, to travel whenever we want, and to always have an ideally-located creative soup pot ~ stuffed with inspiration books and simmering with good energies ~ to come home to.In small spaces, ever corner must not only be aesthetically appealing, but also simultaneously provide smart living solutions. In our apartment, there is a dark wood dividing wall that separates the kitchen from the main living area. Besides holding a few favorite pieces of art, objets, and a portion of our overflowing book collection, it serves as a small bar ~ adding a bit of loucheness to the dining area and making entertaining easier.
|ABOVE|Waterford crystal goblet, West Elm earthenware plates, a favorite cookbook and cutting board, Staub tea kettle, brass French press, and handmade Portuguese plate
The kitchen was the biggest challenge, as Zach loves to cook. The small room was choking in big, generic cabinetry and hideous appliances. We ripped out everything but the sink, lining one wall in long, open shelving and bringing in a beautiful antique butcher block, a pretty Smeg refrigerator and a vintage stove that, while compact, boasts 6 burners ~ allowing us to prepare elaborate meals despite the kitchen’s shrimpiness. Zach spent 4 summers running a bustling restaurant out of a 1960’s airstream; if anyone could make this scullery work, it’s him.
|ABOVE| Anthropologie linen napkins, West Elm tassel hand towel, Anthropologie guilded knife, cake server, & corkscrew, Diptyque Feu du Bois candle, and Anthroplogie copper pan set
The door between the kitchen and the bathroom used to be a total space hog, so we replaced it with a sliding door we found at Brimfield Flea Market. I love the amber glass window, which maintains privacy while allowing a lovely, warm light to seep between the rooms.
Considering the apartment is a rental, we could only do so much with the bathroom, but we nonetheless managed to make it more comfortable and workable by replacing the sad medicine cabinet with a grandiose mirror, painting the walls a space-expanding grey, and bringing in a gorgeous gothic cabinet for serious additional storage space. Once a month, I have our florist deliver a fresh eucalyptus wreath, which fills the room with a soothing, spa-like scent. I love to keep our entire space filled with green things ~ hanging plants in the kitchen, fresh flowers constantly circulating, and a massive fig tree in the bedroom ~ to draw a bit of nature into our little patch of concrete jungle.
|ABOVE| West Elm wooden vases, West Elm shower curtain, succulent wreath, Feu de Bois scented soap, alligator pull, and ceramic elephant stool
Speaking of the bedroom, it’s my favorite spot of all. It’s a colorful cocoon, a darling little nest decked out in dramatic wallpaper and luxurious linens. Really special bedding is my favorite interior extravagance; it’s important to begin and end each day feeling like a queen, even in the coziest of castles.
|ABOVE| Anthropologie wallpaper, vintage brass fish, Safavieh tiered crystal lamps, Kudu horns, blue velvet pillow, grey velvet pillow, and velvet coverlet