sneak peek: abbey nova

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we have the wonderful joanna goddard to thank for the tip on our next sneak peek: abbey nova. abbey is a master’s student in the history of design at the cooper-hewitt national design museum in nyc, and is currently researching american silversmiths for an upcoming catalog for the metropolitan museum of art. much of her inspiration is wrapped up in her delightful blog, abbey goes design scouting, and etsy shops featuring vintage accessories and stationery designs. we hope you enjoy her beautiful home as much as we did, and be sure to click here for more, full-sized images (including more great descriptions and product information from abbey). [thanks, abbey!] -anne

[Above: Our apartment has really high ceilings and a huge double mantel over the fireplace. When we first moved in we were intimated by all the white space. I’ve collected prints and paintings over time (and painted some of these myself) and it just seemed natural to put them together like this and to have the ability to add and subtract as we like. We keep the rest of the apartment really spare, otherwise I think the effect would be cluttered. But this way, the fireplace and mantel are the focus of the room and a burst of color. Visitors love looking at everything and learning a lot about us in the process. Many of the decorative items came from our honeymoon in Paris – I dragged my good-natured husband to literally every flea market in the city. So, it many ways, it is a living reminder of that trip and our early marriage in our everyday. Something I value in this apartment is that because we took time to select each piece, almost everything represents something special: a memory of a trip, a great meal, a sunny afternoon or maybe a place we’ve lived.]

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Having enough work space has always been a struggle as we both tend to do a lot of work at home. We finally created a “partners” desk with two lovely desks from Room and Board pushed back to back. I like that we can be social while working.

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I love to garden (left over from my childhood spent playing in the dirt in Vermont) and I spend a lot of time in the spring and summer bringing our narrow balcony to life with greenery. I also use plants as decoration everywhere I can.

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We splurged on a few new items, including the blue velvet sofa , our desks (both from Room and Board) and solar shades from the Shade Store, but almost everything else is the result of vintage sleuthing or a family hand-me-down. My mother’s style and ability to mix vintage items and funky furniture into a cohesive, welcoming space has been a huge influence on the decoration of the apartment. Case in point: our plant sanctuary, which is one of our favorite areas. We saved the green wooden table, a sweet chair and a copper boot tray from the trash pile when my parents moved out of my childhood home in Vermont. Now, the tray sits on the table filled with plants and a Chinese wedding basket and the chair is extra seating at the dining table when we need it. A painting of my great aunt peeks out from behind the greenery.

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My husband and I live in a one bedroom apartment in New York that we chanced upon just over a year ago. When we walked through the front door and saw the morning light streaming through the windows and washing over the walls, we rented it on the spot. The building, lovingly owned by the same family for generations, used to be a single family house and our apartment was originally a set of parlors (separate for ladies and gents, thank you very much). It’s the third floor of a four story prewar building and the apartment has barely been renovated. On the positive side, that means it has beautiful hardwood floors, high ceilings and tons of light. It also means the kitchen is tiny, I regularly have epic battles with the oven and there are no electrical outlets on the entire left side of the apartment. This has lead to a lot of creativity in terms of furniture placement and candle lit dining (since the dining room is on the left side of the apartment).

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We wanted our bedroom, more than anything, to be an oasis. We’ve kept it very simple and soothing, without a lot of decoration or clutter. The painting between the widows is by Michael Abrams and the two smaller Wolf Kahn pastels on the mantel were wedding presents. We purposely hung the curtains low so that when we’re lying in bed we can watch the swaying tree tops from our neighbors’ gardens. The chair is a vintage find of my mother’s that she decided she didn’t like after she slip covered it. Naturally, I snapped it up and I absolutely adore it.

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The bathroom has the original sink and tub, which is a treat. The storage unit and tin buckets are from IKEA. The faux bois towels are Martha Stewart at Kmart and waterworks (snagged at the ABC home warehouse). . . This treasure chest was a gift from my mother (who has a similar one herself) and I tuck the little ephemeral bits of life I just can’t bear to throw out here (like a silly plastic duck, or the first little gift from my husband or various sea shells and rocks…you get the idea).

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The entry way wrangles coats, mail/keys, recycling and shoe storage in a very small space. I’m particularly proud of this solution, because the console is actually a repurposed West Elm desk that otherwise would have been tossed! The wooden crates are used for recycling and were themselves recycled from a local wine store. I adore photobooths and love having a collection of photobooth pictures of friends and family on our door (many of which were taken at our wedding). You can’t help but walk out with a smile on your face.

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Tin Trays: Ebay, Desks: Room and Board Basis desk in walnut, Bag: Jack Gomme, Red Trash Can: Office surplus that I spray painted red

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Decorating non working fireplaces can be a challenge and when I saw these milk glass balls in the window of ABC home I just knew I had to try them in our fireplace. In the bedroom fireplace I’ve been experimenting with planters, as plants give a bit of life to an otherwise very calm room.

  1. Michelle says:

    What a gorgeous space, I love all the natural light. The fireplaces are fantastic too, love the tile detailing.

  2. claire says:

    Last week, I saw the exact same magazine rack in a garbage pile on my street and thought about salvaging it on my way home. I totally forgot and now I regret it…

  3. Whitney says:

    where has this blog, which tOtally just reinvigorated my creative senses, been all my life? while I wouldn’t choose apt life again, I would, however, love that interior. nice!!

  4. smariel says:

    there are apartments like this in new york? which neighborhood? must be upper east side…

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