In the throes of organizing a new apartment, I realize I never showed you the old one, not much of it anyway. Remember? It was the one where I did not have to store my luggage in the shower. I miss it sometimes.
It’s all good at the new place, don’t get me wrong. I mean, at the rate I’m going, another four or five years and I’ll be there. Really.
Meanwhile, come on in to the way we were. It’s not that big so it doesn’t take long.
It was a top-to-bottom renovation that took nearly a year. That is New York for you. In the beginning it was colorful with Eloise-ish red striped wallpaper and prints and what-all. There’s still a lot going on with art and furniture, but over the course of 12 years the color and pattern calmed down a bit, as life seemed to get more hectic.
Funny how that happens, but wonderful how our homes can be antidotes, and how they can change to support us wherever we are at that moment in time. I’d love to hear examples of how you may have changed your own homes, or maybe just a room or two, so they could better accommodate where you were in life. It can be a powerful thing.
All the red and pink and green and leopard (I’ll show you another time) gradually gave way to Belgian linen, or similar.
And what, I ask you, is a Manhattan apartment without a silly collection of Eiffel Towers? Don’t answer that. Btw the photo on the right is my mother with Elton John, in Tarboro. (NC, where I am from, for new readers) It’s kind of a funny story…
I have to say I do not miss the plaster walls because they are very nail-un-friendly. When you have a lot of art and change it as much as I do, drywall is your friend.
This isn’t styled worth a dern but you get the idea. Or ideer, as they say back home. And as Rod Stewart says, every picture tells a story.
Longtime readers may recall this portrait of Mama, where she told the artist “I do not care if it looks like me, I just want it to be young and thin.” So here is my 35-year-old-size-4 mother. It is remarkable that when it was painted, I was a 30-year-old-size-8. (Possibly a 10.)
I saw a greeting card the other day that said “I wish I was as thin as I was when I thought I was fat.”
This is the sitting room in its ‘tween stage. The TV is in the corner, so this is the hang-out room.
But then I got a little taupe-fatigue, and the sectional in the sitting room off the kitchen had better places to be, like Hunt Slonem’s studio, where it is now very orange and very happy. My mother’s old red sofa took its place. The scale is better, and I love a little shot of red, baby. The pouf is now at Bee Cottage (though updated photo is not yet posted). Moved the lamps in from the living room, found the wool zebra rug online, and boom.
This shot of the kitchen looks through to the old sitting room. When I renovated I took out the wall and opened the two rooms to one another. It worked beautifully because I could visit with my company while I cooked. The metal grid on the wall was ample storage for pots and pans and then some.
I built the counters up higher than usual because I am tall. The higher counter also created extra drawer and cabinet space below.
Since the sitting room looks into the kitchen, I wanted to hide the kitchen clutter. A curtain hung below the upper cabinets did the trick.
One great thing about this apartment was that it had virtually no halls. All the space was livable. We cut double doors from the living room to the bedroom to correspond with the opposite opening from the living room to the sitting room. The original smaller door to the bath and bedroom was closed off to create a larger closet. Yes!
My friend Atlanta designer John Oetgen figured all this out by the way.
Okay so one day John and I were cruising the D & D in New York, and I saw this red velvet at Dedar. I don’t know what came over me. In that one fleeting moment I thought I was Belle Watling. Who else would have a red velvet bed.
The silk curtains and bed hangings used to be icy pale blue but had faded to a dull, shredding gray, which I convinced myself gave them a certain old world charm.
I loved the wallpaper on my office ceiling. That was John’s idea too. The room went from lime and turquoise to this olive and cream stripe. I had to man it up a little once my cowboy (now my husband) came into the picture.
Not that I still didn’t get nervous when he sat in that little slipper chair.
I saw this desk in the window at Guinevere on the King’s Road in London. I had to have it. I never do things like that, but there was something about that Provencal bureau plat that beckoned me. I should have lashed myself Ulysses-style to the boot of the black cab, but I didn’t.
I had this apartment just about exactly how I wanted it, and then I moved. There must be some profound philosophical significance in that that I have yet to plumb. It’s like how your hair always looks best right before you have to get it cut. If anyone has any insight on this I would be happy to hear it.
Oh, and in case you missed, the deadline for the beautiful wooden jigsaw Thanksgiving puzzle from Liberty Puzzles is Sunday, November 17. Go to the post and leave a comment to enter. I love to hear you gobble.