It should be made clear that, while I am showing all the things I picked for this renovation, I had nothing to do with installing or building or tiling or wiring or painting a single thing. The contractor and his amazing team made everything look perfect and complete.
Part of the trick for me was to make a space that was super stylish, but not too specific so as to turn away perspective renters who might have different tastes. My game plan has been to create the bones of a classic Manhattan apartment, but I also wanted to keep everything clean and modern to compliment the insane Manhattan views.
The first thing we did was get rid of the popcorn ceilings. Really, nothing is worse. It’s an ordeal to get rid of it, and a big mess, but the difference is like night and day. Now, since the ceilings are on the low side, I opted against crown molding of any kind. I just think when you are trying to gussy up what is basically a box, you don’t want to go too far with embellishment, and you don’t want to visually lower the ceiling. Instead I put in a taller, but not too ornate floorboard. This way there is still nice detail but it’s subtle and clean.
We changed out the windows to make the most of the views. Oak floors were put down to replace the outdated and beat-up parquet floors. The walls were skimmed and smoothed (might seem like a drag to do but the payoff is spectacular. Nothing looks as good as smooth walls). The kitchen and baths got Benjamin Moore Winter Snow and the rest of the rooms were done in White Dove. I have to say that White Dove really holds up as a perfect go-to white. I have said before that I don’t love jumping on decor bandwagons, and White Dove is really on almost every decorator’s “top white paint list”, but it’s for good reason. It really is such a good, warm, comforting white. Really a gun-to-head paint choice for me, The pics above make it look like it’s contrasting color on the trim. It’s not. I had the walls, floorboards and ceiling of the room all painted out in the same color. I like doing this for a more modern look. Also, it visually helps with creating as much height as possible.
California Closets were brought in to outfit the walk-ins. This is a bit of an expense but clearly a great reveal when opening up a closet door. I think the closets look great, although I was frustrated at the limitations the company had while customizing the spaces. I did a few things to keep the costs down, like not having Cal Closet’s backing put up, instead painting out the closet walls in Benjamin Moore’s Shale to go with the linen-front drawers. Also, using the less expensive white melamine shelves and splurging only on the linen front drawers gave a cool contrast while actually saving us money.
Built-ins were made for all of the radiators that sit in front of the windows. Again, it is hard to make a false move with these views. Really, what says, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” like waking to a view looking up the west side of Central Park?
The lighting throughout was classic, too. Everything from the Restoration Hardware round shade pendant in the dining room, to the simple Kovaks sconces in the Living room. Whatever could be put on a dimmer was.
You can see that the apartment is ready to take on any style of decor. These rooms can be sleek, or done family-style with overstuffed furniture. They can be super styled and dramatic or simple and unadorned. Now, if only I could decorate this space! Xo.
Up next: The Kitchen.