For the past two years, Zach and I have spent the majority of our time either at our place in Miami Beach or on the road, and our beloved little New York City pied-à-terre has been woefully neglected. Every time we came home it felt a little more forlorn — a burial ground of never-unpacked suitcases and unopened mail.
Suddenly we’ve been able to be back and forth between the two cities a lot more regularly, so the time was nigh to breathe a breath of fresh air through our NYC home base.
We teamed up with HomeGoods to pull off this fast & furious under-two-week makeover, and the result is absolutely perfect for our peripatetic lifestyle. Read on for all the details! But first, a look at THE BEFORE, below:ABOVE| The ‘before‘ had been good to us — but it was time for a refresh.
Our apartment is a long, light-filled, prewar, railroad-style, West-side situation. Its size is quite cozy, but thus wonderfully manageable for two people who are rarely home. One enters from the front door into its intimate kitchen, with a bathroom to the left and living room to the right. At the end of the living room is a slightly wider ‘bedroom’ space, although a tenant long before our time ripped out the dividing wall and thus created one uninterrupted, ever-so-slightly L-shaped, living / sleeping arrangement. There are no closets.
Previously we had used the ‘bedroom’ at the very end of the apartment as actually a bedroom. For this makeover however, our goal was to create the perfect hotel suite for ourselves — a place to easily travel in and out of. In order to achieve that, we needed some ‘back of house’ space — somewhere to pack and unpack, somewhere separate and hidden from the tranquility we craved in our living area.
So, we dragged the bed into the living room (hotel-suite-status achieved), and had a custom curtain created to hang from the ceiling where a wall must once have been. Suddenly, a whole new room was made!
ABOVE| A luxurious dressing room where the bedroom once was. The closet cabinetry was custom made, the leather dressers, brass chairs, and blue rug are from HomeGoods. The ceiling molding and wooden chandelier are new additions, and we stacked our library of books into the dressing room windows to protect our clothes from too much sunlight and create a cozier vibe for the space.
I was incredibly pleased to have HomeGoods as a collaborator in this, because it is really the only ‘new’ place I shop for housewares. I believe that everything in our homes should mean something, should be special and should enrich our lives with beauty and purpose. Thus, most of the things we own are either unique vintage pieces or mementos from our travels. For practicality of course, we require connectors between these treasures — great chests of drawers, clean-lined trays, chic candles and contemporary cookware. For those sorts of goodies I always turn to HomeGoods. It’s a bit like a modern souk; there’s a bit of everything and you never know what you’ll find.
BELOW| Cabinetry was built into the alcove where our bed once lived — on the closet’s back wall the beautiful old wallpaper we used to sleep below still peeks out between jackets and handbags. ABOVE| It is such a pleasure to now have a sacred boudoir space filled with books, flowers, beautiful clothes and my favorite perfumes. Vase, bell jar, monogrammed jewelry box, bone + brass tray and leather dresser all from HomeGoods.
BELOW| Personal objects throughout the house are collected from our many adventures. We had less than two weeks to pull off this project, and it was a mad dash from day one. First, we piled all of the existing furniture into the center of the space, covered it, and painted the walls and ceilings (‘Mystique’ by Valspar). While new lighting, velvet curtains, and closet cabinetry were being fabricated and installed, we rented a uHaul truck and spent a day hitting up three HomeGoods stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens to facilitate a total lifestyle refresh. Unpacking and arranging all of our finds was so much fun — like putting together a colorful puzzle. ABOVE| In a city like New York, beautiful storage solutions are crucial to one’s sanity. This vintage trunk in our new dressing room hides both a vacuum cleaner and a printer — two things we can’t live without but don’t want to see everyday! For the things we do want to see, we scored an enormous collection of incredible trays (like this malachite beauty!) at HomeGoods, which we used in every room of the house.
This makeover has blown our minds, because suddenly the modest apartment feels significantly bigger than ever — by rethinking the space, we were able to greatly increase its usability. ABOVE| By moving the bed into the living area, we achieved the feeling of a city hotel suite, and allowed for the buildout of a spacious dressing room behind the custom green velvet curtain. That fabric was purchased at Mood, while the paisley pillow, duvet, and furry footstool all came from our HomeGoods adventure! The painting above the bed is by Peter Keil.
BELOW| Throughout the house, we used trays from HomeGoods to collect, organize, and display our favorite things — like this antique brass lamp which has been with me since Brooklyn, and an original Arthur Elgort photograph of Christie Turlington from 1987. ABOVE| Our perfect ‘New York City hotel suite’
BELOW| Filling our home with plants helps us feel connected to nature while living in the big city. Box, tray, yellow-rimmed dish and pink furry throw from HomeGoods. ABOVE| This incredible, carved wood hutch is one of my favorite HomeGoods finds. I love that it connects to the geometry of our vintage Scandinavian rug, but in an airy way that prevents the space from feeling too full. The marble bowl and unbelievable geode were also found at HomeGoods, and the small painting is by the artist Wes Lang.
BELOW| Every piece of art on this living room wall is immensely personal. There’s a series of portraits of Edie Sedgewick that Zach gave me shortly after we started dating, there’s a handmade, hand-painted print that Jamie Beck made for me from this shoot we did together, there are portraits of us by the artist Kesh and there is a framed love poem written to me by my friend Cleo Wade. This wall makes me so happy, especially with touches like the vintage Dalmatian light and the new blue mirror, yellow lamp and lapis-inlay side table from HomeGoods. ABOVE| In all of our homes, I’ve made a signature of filling the bathroom walls to the brim with art and objects.
BELOW| Open cabinetry in the kitchen allows for maximum storage; glassware and candle from HomeGoods.
ABOVE| I live with a very passionate cook, who could never allow a cupboard-sized kitchen to curb his gourmand urges. I adore this kitchen, the way it’s piled high with cookbooks and spices, the herb garden that grows in its window, the vintage stove, timeworn butcher block and glistening copper pots. It reminds me of kitchens I have loved in places like Mexico, Morocco and France — true hearths that are the center of their homes.