Our Pied-À-Terre

16th March, 2015

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.PiedATerre2In 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 knifecake 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.
PiedATerre7Considering 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

|CLICK WITHIN THE IMAGES| to shop the products  PHOTOGRAPHY| by Reid Rolls

  • Fantastic, I love this! You’ve done so well with the small space.

  • Aleksandra

    this place somehow really ‘looks’ like you! 🙂


  • Grace

    This is the post I’ve been waiting for! I love seeing what you do with your home spaces. How did you negotiate making these changes with the landlords? I assume they would not be apposed to a chic upgrades, but I’m curious to know more about the nitty-gritty since I would love to make over my own floors, bathroom and kitchen.

    • Grace

      Also, did you two make the dark wood dividing wall? It looks like a custom piece.

      • theglamourai

        The dark wood wall was an upgrade made by the past tenant ~ who also tore down all the other walls in the apartment to create a long open space, making it feel more loft-like and less railroad. As for the rest, well, if you know NYC landlords you know it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission 😉


        • Grace

          Yes, cheaper too! Well, it’s gorgeous. Maybe I need to take the plunge and start ripping up linoleum.

          • theglamourai

            You know you paint linoleum, right? I have seen people do really amazing patterns over it ~ but even a solid color would be a huge improvement. And painting is obviously so much cheaper and easier than ripping it all out.

          • Grace

            Oh, no…. this linoleum is cracked and peeling in several places. I would LOVE to rip it out!

          • theglamourai

            Oh girl, life is too short to live with cracked and peeling linoleum ~ get it out!

  • Jesselyn

    Wow! Stunning!

  • Veeny

    What a drastic change compared to your previous Brooklyn duplex but you did a great job. This is charming with a great atmospehre! You are now ready for a old and tidy parisian apartment 😉

    • theglamourai

      I have ALWAYS been ready for a Paris apartment 😉

  • Stephala

    Wow, amazing. I can’t believe you guys put that much into a rental! P.S. Where’s the kitchen photo? I’m dying to see it!!

  • lemontrend

    Wow! I know how hard is to get rid off your stuff, but what you did with this apartment is really amazing, the details are great and sincerely a source of inspiration!


  • Daisy

    You guys did a great job on including the essentials yet not choking up the little space! The photos are beautifully composed & the choice of words put a beautiful picture of the rest of the apartment in my mind. I am curious though; how does the fig tree you mentioned look in your bedroom? The idea sounds intriguing.

    • theglamourai

      The fig tree is amazing; wish it had made it in a shot. It sits in a windowed corner across from our bed and makes the room feel like a tree fort. The lack of nature intrinsic to city living is its one main drawback; humans need green things more than we realize!


  • Absolutely stunning- I wouldn’t expect anything less! Amazing! >3

  • Isabelle

    BRAVO! This place is definitely full of beauty and identity. It truly corresponds to the general evolution of your personality already witnessed through your blog. Being a former occupant of several tiny appartments in Paris I definitely prefer old and oddely shaped places which become unique and full of style once ‘tamed’. I admire Zach for being able to simplify the kitchen to its essence, hint of a trrue chef (and I love your SMEG – ours has the same size and we are 4 at home). And mostly I share the love for rooms which are not only functional but also hybrid in their presentations as it adds a bit of magic to the place.

  • can I move in ? This is like my dream home!


  • Well done! I enjoyed seeing how you and Zach have fused your styles together, and how you made such great use of a very small space!

    I’m also in love with the drawer handle on your bathroom cupboard – it’s so you!

  • Mary Ellisabeth

    Your attention to detail is remarkable! and that wreath, pure genius. I love these inspiring peaks inside your real life .. they are just as romantic as the shoots you do. Is it all?!

  • Frank Wetzel

    Bathroom paint color and finish! Gonna soooo copy!

  • Frank Wetzel

    Oops! Could I have name of?

  • Jenn

    Kelly, I love your bed frame! It’s my dream situation. Was it custom? Would love to know where you found it!

    • theglamourai

      Thanks Jenn! The bed frame is from Crate & Barrel. I bought it for my old apartment and unfortunately can’t find it on their site anymore. We had it reupholstered with chartreuse suede when we moved it to this place (originally it was covered in a cream canvas).


  • Hello Miss Tiffany

    I just think that the kitchen (maybe because I would love a love to cook along side me) is the most romantic thing I’ve seen. So different then your other apartment which makes it that much more intriguing.

  • Michelle K. Lee
  • valvacious

    You did a fabulous job of decorating. Where do you put all of your fabulous clothes? I am sure the closets have to be small in your new place.

  • Would love to see how you store your clothes and jewels now in a smaller apartment.

  • Pevita

    What a stunning apartment transformation. I like the decor and setting, so fabulous! http://www.loveyhouse.com/

  • Lovely beautiful interior! Will favorite this post for my inspiration!

    Great post, love it!! <3


TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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