sneak peek: isabel asha penzlien


as i’m in the process of de-cluttering my own life, i’m instantly drawn to the beautiful simplicity of photographer isabel asha penzlien‘s home in chinatown, new york. in keeping her home minimal and functional she’s also able to use it as a photo studio (oh, and not to mention, a badminton court as well!). isabel was born and raised as one of six kids in hamburg, germany and moved to new york to study fine art photography at ICP in 1995. her work has appeared in various publications, including catholic, the guardian, I-D magazine, index and teen vogue. over the last few years she published a series of photography books and keep your eye out for her latest project – an on going portrait project about music students. she also does commissioned family portraits which she finds highly enjoyable coming from a big family herself. thanks so much for sharing your home with us today, isabel! you can find additional images right here, and don’t miss all of our gorgeous sneak peeks here! –anne

[above: my place gets a lot of sun all afternoon and i painted the floors in a pale  mint color and keep the walls white. less is more for me and i try to keep only things i need.]

on the wall above the chest of drawers are some paintings and photographs of my little collection. i am trying to get back into playing piano and my boyfriend gave me a little keyboard to play with.

in the center of the room is my farm style dinner table and benches by Marc Hundley which i love, they give the  place a real homey feeling.

CLICK HERE for the rest of isabel’s peek (and all the images on one page) after the jump!


my desk is build taller to accommodate my height. above the desk i keep all my negative in gray folders that are numbered.


i like to play badminton in my apartment  and keep the rackets and shuttlecock on the wall because i like the way it looks and they are out of the way.


i also love my bathtub and the little garden of succulents, they make me happy when i take baths.


my bed is on the loft above the kitchen and its comfy up there and i keep my books up there to as well as my clothes which hang from the the ceiling. i keep a very few clothes, only things i love and wear.

  1. Laura says:

    What a lovely clean home! I don’t think i could keep it that free of clutter! I like how everything becomes like a work of art on the walls when they are left white like this.

  2. visualingual says:

    Gorgeous space, wonderfully appointed! You get great sunlight and take full advantage of it with the white walls, precise organization and lack of clutter! Kudos!

  3. Eva says:

    What a great place! I envy your light and very noncluttered apartment. And the fact you can paint your floor any colour you like. Yayy for that!

  4. enhabiten says:

    i was totally in love with this place and then i read-“I keep very few clothes, only what I love and wear” and she totally sealed the deal with that line. My kinda girl. Beautiful light, beautifully spare space.

  5. Sasha K. says:

    Beautiful space. So jealous of how bright and uncluttered it is. And I love the succulents alongside the bath. So adorable.

  6. i love the succulents by the tub! sadly dont think there’s enough light or room in bathroom for that

  7. georgia says:

    Nice pictures…but the living space doesn’t look comfy at all.

    Do you have a little couch or an armchair? If you cook do your clothes or bedding not smell of food if they’re hanging directly above the kitchen?

  8. cara says:

    love the succulents and the loft bed (just got a new tiny apartment and considered building this) but overall not digging the washed out look

  9. Teresa says:

    Wow! What an efficient use of space … Love the eclectic mix of wall art. (and the badminton set!)

  10. suzanne says:

    what a lovely home! i love how clean/organized it is. i sure wish mine looked like that right now.
    i’m currently reading “It’s All Too Much” – a wonderful book about de-cluttering your home (and life) – so maybe soon!

  11. robin says:

    i love it! a minimalist wardrobe that has TWO pairs of pink shoes!

  12. Tina says:

    I like the uncluttered, simple feel of the space. I would suffocate if I had to sleep in that loft. Oh yeah, love the dining table and benches!

  13. I adore the simplicity of this space. It must take a lot of discipline!

  14. Shanon says:

    I love the dresses hanging on the pipe, cute! And those succulents are so simple, yet so awesome.

  15. Marie says:

    This seems more like a work loft with a bed to crash rather than a place to set down roots. I also wonder if there’s a couch or something to relax on. It’s great that she keeps her workspace so clean, though!

  16. greybreaks says:

    great space and light. in one of my favorite ny neighborhoods.

  17. miss liss says:

    Such a beautiful space! Love the minimal look – though it isn’t ever going to work for me, I just attract stuff.

    Love all the repeating lines – succulents, floor boards, table & benches, gray folders, ceiling.

    Only wish there were more photos!

  18. laura says:


  19. I love when everyday objects of one’s life are hung on the wall and life becomes design.

  20. starr says:

    I enjoy taking baths and ONLY take baths. You too have made your bath so very special. I love your style-clean, crisp, yet active. Thank you for sharing.
    I just love design*sponge.

  21. Oh how I wish I was that organized! She’s got adorable shoes too. :)

  22. eco-stylista says:

    Beautiful, organized, minimal yet interesting. The bathtub with the small plants looks awesome!!!

  23. Harper Poe says:

    I love how simple and organized it is! Only keep what you really need and use…good lesson. Oh, and great shoes!

  24. Deadweight says:

    What a neat and orderly home! Very pretty.

  25. Alissa says:

    Such a beautiful place! I love the windows and the floors. The bathtub is so so cool, and I love the fact that she hangs her clothes from the pipe on the ceiling.
    Where do you store all your photo equipment though?

  26. patty says:

    totally inspirational – i am starting a toss-it project NOW.

  27. Isabel Asha Penzlien says:

    i store my photography equipment in cases under the bathtub and in the cabinets under the loft. if i ever need more equipment i rent it for the project.

  28. Marlous says:

    I feel right at home in your pictures.

  29. dyna Herlina says:

    the shoes, jacket and racket arrangement so inspiring..great ide

  30. This Sneak Peek is inspiring me to continue with my own de-cluttering process.

    Thank you, I’ll be looking at these photos all day.

  31. wythe says:

    where are those amazing pink sandals from?

  32. Isabel Asha Penzlien says:

    the pink sandals are from ziginewyork, shoe store on broadway and bleecker street in nyc.

  33. Tone says:

    Those nice lamps in black and in white.. where are they from? I have been looking for them for a while now..

    And lovely lovely place by the way :)

  34. me says:

    the link to the additional images doesn’t work!

    love this sneak peak!

  35. amya says:

    me – it should work for you now! sorry about that!
    -amy azzarito

  36. Annie says:

    wouldn’t mind living like that (when I grow up(…)). Lovely lovely home

  37. Irene says:

    I love these shots, really beautiful.
    Have just found your blog, it’s lovely.

  38. J says:

    Does anyone know where to buy the materials for the wall shelf with hanging closet rod? (the one behind the ladder)

  39. Philippe Laurichesse says:

    What sort of tote is that in the 5th pic ?

  40. Tania says:

    I love this home so much. So much light and it’s very minimal but still has touches of her personality. And her wardrobe looks perfectly edited, small but chic. Love all the white in the space too.


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