sneak peek: nina of dwellstudio

our second dwellstudio sneak peek (don’t miss rachel’s brooklyn apartment!)  is from textile designer nina shen. nina lives in an 1930s art deco apartment in new york city’s lower east side with her two boys – boyfriend photographer jason gould and cat frank. as a textile designer, nina researches and draws patterns for dwell. even though she lives in a city, nina finds much of her inspiration in nature and has managed to find little ways to bring some of the outdoors in!  {thanks, nina, jason & frank!} -amy a.

[My decorating style is simple, unfussy, and modern. I am lucky that Jason and I share similar tastes. We are drawn to items with a clean, streamlined, classic look, but soften the look with organic items like plants and textiles.]

[photo above: I have the Dwell Studio Hedgerow duvet set on the bed here. This bedding actually makes me happy to make the bed!]

[photo above: This leaning bookshelf is next to the window in the living room. It holds way more books and things than you’d think.]

[photo above: This vintage side table used to be next to the couch but I have re-purposed it as a plant stand to hold all the little plants I have been propagating now that it’s spring.]

CLICK HERE for more of Nina’s peek!

[photo above: This is our shared desktop computer on a 1950s Steelcase desk. It’s a proper work desk because it has plenty of work surface and nice big drawers to stash things, and I love its classic handsome looks. Some of my current favorite inspiration images are simply taped to the wall with artist’s tape – it doesn’t leave marks on the walls so it’s no big commitment – I can just pull off any images and stick up new ones any time I want.]

[photo above: This shelf unit from Ikea is in the foyer. We have 12 of these white boxes that you see in the bottom of the picture on the shelves. It’s a great way to hide a lot of stuff in a small apartment- magazines, fabric, seasonal blankets, etc- while keeping a streamlined look. I use the top of the shelf unit as a little display area. I like to group things together in clear glass containers, such as driftwood collected last summer on vacation in Maine, and a bunch of feathers that my friend Rachel gave me that are leftover from her Halloween costume. There’s also a dried bunch of hydrangea from last summer – it had to last me through the cold months until I can get more fresh ones this summer, but actually I quite like the look of them.]

[photo above: We have a galley kitchen that has floating shelves on one side. I like white dishes with clear glasses, but some of our kitchen accessories add a pop of color, like the green breadbox. The photo on the top shelf is one of Jason’s.]

[photo above: I have so many pillows but I can’t help it! It’s so easy to add some prints to your decor when they are just little things like pillows! At least here I have limited myself to just black and white. The pillow on the left is a gift from our friends at Ortolan. The other pillows are from Dwell Studio. The cactus poster on the wall is from Makelike Design in Portland, Oregon. The other prints and drawings are from friends.

[photo above: It’s so much easier to use a brighter color in a small room, and that’s why the bathroom is painted a robin’s egg blue while the rest of the apartment’s walls are neutral! It’s also nice to add a bold print to a small space. The shower curtain is from John Robshaw.]

[photo above: One of the nicest features in this apartment is the bay windows. There’s lots of nice light during the day. The table is from Ikea and the red vintage Eames fiberglass chairs are a flea market find. The coffee table is handmade by Jason out of curly maple wood.]

[photo above: This is the front door. Jason and a couple of friends stripped this as well as all the door and window frames in this apartment to reveal the original steel frames. I love the patina markings of the old steel, and it’s also great because it’s magnetic! Various postcards and pictures on the back of the door makes this a roving gallery]


I love this! It’s just how I like to decorate – with lots of plants and rocks and antlers and such. Very nice!

Melissa de la Fuente

Absolutely beautiful. So well edited and just lovely. I adore your kitchen and living room( how decent of your kitty to match herself to your decor :) I also love your arrangement of items in clear jars. Beautiful…and the stripped door is fantastic! Thanks for sharing! The lovely designers from dwell have beautiful homes. I am not surprised but, completely delighted!


I love the ceiling fan near the bay window! Where is it from? I’ve been looking for a tasteful ceiling fan and this one would fit right into my 1937 dutch colonial!


I also love the ceiling fan! It’s so hard to find attractive ones–would also love to know the source. Thanks!


I would also love to learn where the leaning bookshelves are from. Please let us know!


Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the nice comments! The ceiling fan is from a lighting store on Bowery… I don’t know the name of the store, but there are a bunch of lighting stores on Bowery near Broome Street- they are all pretty much next to each other so it’s easy to pop into all of them. The leaning book shelf in the living room is from Room and Board. The one in the bedroom is really just a ladder from Putnam Rolling Ladder Co on Howard Street- the bottom is sawed off at an angle and leaned against the wall.


Advance Web

Is that house for rent? If it is, then I would like to inquire for it. LOL. That house is really one of a kind. It makes me wanna live there.


That stripped steel door is magnificent! Love the bathroom too, the use of the bold colour and the bold shower curtain pattern is super charming. Where did you find that gorgeous mirrored medicine cabinet? want want want!


I feel a design connection with Nina. My house has a similar vibe and I enjoy the same mix of classic streamlined elements and organic textures. It’s funny because my boyfriend actually tends toward more fancy/elaborate items. I’m going to send this sneak peek to him. Thanks for sharing Nina!


I am heartbroken! I recently tried to buy that duvet cover and called every Dwell distributer in a tristate area, not to mention calling every website that was selling it – all sold out! I shouldn’t have procrastinated!


What a comfortable looking home Nina has created. Love the neutral palette with the pops of colour. And I adore all the houseplants. Inspirational!


I also love that medicine cabinet. Would love to know where to get it!


What a great home! I love everything about it, my favourite thing is the finish on the door – it’s beautiful – but the number of locks makes me so unbearably sad.


hi, what color is the grey paint in your bedroom? desperately looking for a good grey color! thanks!


I know you’re fielding a ton of requests…but I love the curved towel rack in the bathroom…any leads appreciated. Thanks for the fun peek!


What a beautiful place! It has a nice warm athmosphere. love all the wood and plants. And your kitty looks like abstract art:)


I fell in love with this side table full of beautiful plants. It looks like small garden in the house, amazing.

Rita Silva

I love EVERYTHING about this place! The presence of nature, even in small details, is gorgeous! Good job!


Lovely home! And that front door is so, so gorgeous, so New York (at least to me that I’m an european girl) !


Love It! Especially the shower curtain …so hard to find good ones! Can you tell who make this one please?


OF COURSE Ikea discontinues something I actually want! ha. Thanks so much for the recommendations, Nina – much appreciated.
Lori- the shower curtain is from John Robshaw textiles, cool stuff:


Hey Nina, where did you get that book – The Story of Taiwan – that’s on your bookshelf? I googled for it, but don’t see it on amazon. Just curious because I like to get books about Taiwan for my parents.

Oh, and love the apartment!!!


What a beautiful place! It has a nice warm athmosphere. love all the wood and plants. And your kitty looks like abstract art:)


Thank you for taking the time to scout out medicine cabinet options-I appreciate it! I love your place and have always loved Dwell. My son has the red circle bedding from years gone by and I spec it for clients all the time!


Did they decorate the couch around that cat? Too perfect for words and the door!! I’m in love with the door.


I am STUPID in love with this apartment. LOVE IT.

Where are the floating shelves from in your kitchen?


what is the grey color in the bedroom? d ying to know!


Hi, I wanted to know the color of the bedroom, as well. What is it?


Hi there, what gorgeously fab place! Amazing details everywhere.

Can you tell me where you got your blue and white patterned rug? Love it.

Jaclynn Cureton

I have sojourned to find a description that closely fits my design style and I have to say this has helped me a lot! I love it! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home :)


Nina, I love, love, love the bathroom! I am wondering what the floor looks like if you would not mind sharing what color/ material type it is?

Thank you very much!