When I first sat down with my clients to talk about what they dreamed their home to be, they confessed to not knowing what they like, but knowing what they don’t like. So, we started with broad strokes: Favorite (and least favorite) colors. Favorite artists and music. Which movies or shows have a design style that they love? Immediately this seemed to spark something. They both agreed that the iconic apartments in Woody Allen movies held their ideal living aesthetic.
When I think of the apartments depicted in Woody Allen’s movies, I think of the elegant layout of a classic 8 decorated in a mash-up of English country and Bohemian chic. Rooms are filled with furnishings that feel collected over years. But also, there are strong nods to the 20th century (Think Jazz! Think abstract art! Think Eames!) It’s the well displayed clutter of the bohemian artistic intellectual.
I knew that I wanted their living room to have a more eclectic, comfortable and lived in feeling, so the entry and hall were where I thought we could really play up this take on English country.
I found an amazing William Morris wallpaper for the entryway and hall that was over a hundred years old yet felt super modern and cool as hell. We decided to use it on only two of the entry walls so as to not overwhelm the senses. I matched it with Benjamin Moore Pomegranate so the entry was rich, bold and strong. I guess I like my entries the way I like my coffee. I took away two large unnecessary cabinets that were clogging up the flow of the hall. I had the closet and hall doors painted out white and gave them new brass door knobs. I had planned on buying a black lacquer windsor-back bench, but decided instead to repurpose a long, white-washed rustic bench they already had. I had my contractor sand it down and paint it out a glossy black. It’s still rustic, but with a crisp new look, which totally did the trick.
I further decluttered the entry’s “coat area” by taking away the overstuffed coatrack and replacing it with some great coat hooks from Rejuvenation, which I hung to run the length of one wall. My clients asked for light fixtures that wouldn’t be impossible to change out a lightbulb, so two simple porcelain light fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric went up. My contractor said to NEVER get these fixtures again as they were a bitch to put in, but they look perfect, so, sorry! Pretty trumps pain-in-the-ass every time.
Some real work went into the reorganizing of the large built-in bookcase that was already in place. The bookcase runs the length of the hall and is packed to the brim with books, which is great, but the shelves were also crammed with endless tchotchkes and housed much of my client’s vast vintage cookie jar collection. We were building new bookcases in the living room in order to hold much of what was here, so I was able to declutter, and allow what remained on the shelves to be viewable and calm.
I love the look of a well organized bookcase filled with books. As it should be! A great trick is to NOT combine too many books and “things” on one shelf. So instead, you may have a shelf lined with books and a shelf devoted to specific objects, but not a row of books with lots of things in front of them. When you clutter the two together, it can look so messy.
Check out the before and after of the entry. The most important thing for me was that as soon as you walk in the front door, you should feel calm and the stress of the day should melt away. This isn’t how the apartment was before, but it is now!
Up next, the living room. XO.
an upper west side renovation, Bookcase, Classic 8, Coat Hooks, Decluttering, Design, Design Ideas, Electric School House, Entry Hall, Furniture, Hannah And Her Sisters, Home, Lighting, organize, Rejuvenation, Renovation, William Morris, Woody Allen