5 December 2018

First Best Nest

Contemporary art and traditional furnishings come together to create a colorful hideaway from New York City's hustle.

It’s time for a trip down memory lane! A few people have asked for more specific information about my old apartment (if I still live there — I don’t!) and I love any excuse to talk about this space since it was the first that my husband and I lived in and decorated together. The apartment was in a house that was built in the late 1890’s by architects Clinton and Russell with the original interiors designed by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr (you can imagine how fast I jumped when I saw this listing go up). While the building was originally a single family home (can you believe it?), it was later converted into separate apartments (about 20 of them). All of the apartments have wonderful high ceilings, huge windows, and working fireplaces — it definitely doesn’t feel like New York! The apartment itself was about 850 square feet with a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. My husband and I have lots of books that we wanted to be able to live with, so I really designed the living room to feel like a library. I wanted it to have a cozy, lived-in feeling where you could curl up and read a book, enjoy a warm fire, and leave after a few hours feeling inspired and ready to take on the city. As a result, it really does feel like a hideaway. My husband, Chris, is an avid art collector and the pieces that he brought to the apartment helped enormously in giving the traditional furnishings a feeling of relevance. While the living room has lots of pattern and color going on, the bedroom is very simple. Below, the bookcases in the living room are filled to the brim with as many books as we could jam in!!

The deep and cozy tufted chair in front of the window is a custom piece that I upholstered in one of my all time favorite prints from Quadrille called Jardin des Plantes. This fabric was the launching pad for room’s scheme.

My mom and I have a love affair with slipper chairs, they are an essential piece for us. Originally I had nothing in front of the fireplace, but it was feeling a little bit empty and we needed to incorporate some additional seating that could be easily moved around the room. We often put slipper chairs on casters for this reason. I also wanted to add another soft color into the room, so upholstering the slipper chairs in a lavender linen was a nice way to balance the chocolate brown velvet pillows and neutral sofa. The coffee table was a piece that I designed based on a popular form from the 1970’s; I had the table made and then had a decorative painter faux finish it with a tortoiseshell top and horn sides and legs. I gravitate towards more traditional forms of upholstered pieces (I find them most comfortable!) so I wanted to incorporate at least one very modern element in the room — and of course the art is all very contemporary!

The sofa cushions in a different fabric from the body of the sofa was done for two reasons. First, our dog is very rambunctious and loves to jump all over the furniture–especially the sofa! The fabric of the body of the sofa is 100% linen which is beautiful and textural but not particularly durable if you use your sofa every single day and have lots of wear and tear. Second, it was an excuse to add more pattern into the room. The seat cushions made out of a leopard print are my ode to Madeleine Castaing.

The sisal carpet is really a non-event. I just needed something to put down on the floors and didn’t want to spend a lot of money since this apartment was not meant to be forever.

A print by Jonas Wood, which now lives in our sun room, hangs above the sofa.
The mirror above the mantle belonged to my great grandparents and I've brought it (and one of their dressers) with me to every apartment I've ever lived in.

The bedroom was left simple and everything in it was designed to be flexible and easy to move in the future. This apartment was a rental, so we couldn’t alter the walls with paint or wallpaper. In the end, it turned out to be a very calm and soothing space–and, as it happens, there’s no better wall color to show off art than white!

I’ve always loved this desk from the original Mark Hampton collection for Hickory Chair. It’s just a great piece that can live in your home in so many iterations with many different functions.

This space came and went with the blink of an eye but I feel so lucky to have the photos that our friend and wonderful photographer Lucas Allen took to remember it by.  Let me know if you have any questions!

— Lauren & Suzanne
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Thank you for following! The sofa is from CR Laine and the armchair is Lee Industries.
Hi Lauren and Suzanne, I've been an avid follower of yours for many years, and love this project. Could you provide the source for the sofa and armchair on the far right (the one upholstered in a stripe)? I love English roll arm sofas but have yet to find the perfect one. Many thanks.
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