Even the most enthusiastic travelers crave the comforts of home. For Lizzie and Kathryn Fortunato, that place is aptly referred to as the treehouse. Nestled on a tiny cobblestone street in SoHo, Manhattan, the two sisters (twins!) describe it as a little gem in the middle of the city, and they’re right. Every square inch of their apartment is bursting with the spirit of adventure and love of beautiful craftsmanship that characterize their accessories line, Lizzie Fortunato. Each object is displayed like a work of art — from the textiles brought home from their travels to exotic locations such as India and Guatemala to family heirlooms and photographs passed down to them through the generations, each has a history and tells a story, much like the jewelry and leather goods they create. Their pieces are handmade in New York City with materials sourced from around the globe. Thank you, Lizzie and Kathryn, and thanks to Max and Bernadette Pascua for the beautiful photographs! — Shannon
Image above: (From Lizzie) We lived in this apartment for over a year before finding a coffee table we liked. Finally, we found this one on a spontaneous trip to the Brimfield Antiques Show with our mom. It works perfectly in the small space, and we can move it easily because it’s on wheels. Our living room is littered with textiles and finds from our travels. The tapestry on the sofa is from India, we have pillows from Turkey, and the block-printed bed sheets (stored under the coffee table — gotta love New York!) are also from India. We bought the Madeline Weinrib rug on major sale at ABC Carpet, and I adore the peach colors and graphic print. Oh, and the tote is one of my designs for the Spring ’13 collection. The bottom portion is entirely hand beaded on looms . . . As you can tell, I love a good print!
Image above: (From Lizzie) This table is right in the entrance to our apartment, and the circus-print Fishs Eddy plate is often where our keys and phones get dumped upon entering. But it also houses some of our favorite keepsakes. We grew up hiking and skiing in Wyoming with our family, and the state map (I found it at Pageant Print Shop on 4th Street, which I frequent often) reminds us that there’s life outside of New York. The polaroid is of one of my closest friends, set designer Kate Dougherty, and I taken right after we both moved to New York City. It’s such a happy, spontaneous shot and reminds me of those unexpectedly great nights that tend to happen in this city. I love the orange hourglass — I bought it for next to nothing at Bloodline, a great vintage and home goods store that used to exist on Forsyth Street and has sadly closed. The old pharmacy jars house change (one for American money, and one for foreign coins), and the hanging plate is from John Derian. The blanket underneath this table is a vintage manta from Peru. We brought it back after a trek to Machu Picchu this spring, and I love the rich colors and extraordinary woven detail.
See more of the Lizzie & Kathryn Fortunato’s New York City apartment after the jump . . .
Image above: (From Kathryn) One of my favorite things about our little treehouse is the exposed brick walls. The apartment is old and creaky but has such great character thanks to the beautiful brickwork. This Crate and Barrel table has two big leaves; it lives against a brick wall in the living room (with the leaves down), but it’s so easy to pull out for dinner parties. We took the crazy candlesticks from our mom’s house (she has the best taste), and we carried the brass pot back from Udaipur, India. Our friend Taylor Patterson (of Fox Fodder Farm) is an incredible florist and, when we’re lucky, brings us fresh arrangements. I think fresh flowers are the best luxury in a home. Lizzie gave me the Anna Wolf photograph of the car a few years back, and I love the sense of uncertainty and adventure in it.
Image above: (From Lizzie) We originally purchased this chair (from the White furniture outlet in North Williamsburg) for our Spring ’12 lookbook shoot, but then we liked it so much that we kept it for the apartment. Kathryn brought back the pillow cover from a recent trip to Istanbul, and the amazing lucite stool is another item we lifted from our mom!
Image above: (From Kathryn) The large painting in the living room is a Robert Motherwell. It was a college graduation present to me from my dad, and I absolutely treasure it. Our apartment is really a collage of eclectic finds and special pieces, but each item means something to us. The space is small, so our approach to decorating has been very deliberate.
Image above: (From Lizzie) This table in my bedroom is perfect for housing books and keepsakes and jewelry. It was an incredible find picked up at Brimfield a few years ago to be used as a kitchen bar in our last New York apartment. I love the diagonal metal rods and wood top. The animal skulls were all picked up around my dad’s house in the Pennsylvania countryside, and my mom gave me the antique wooden toolbox, which I now store shoes in.
Image above: (From Kathryn) The brick walls in our apartment are such a great backdrop for photos and mementos. In my bedroom is one of my favorite pictures of Lizzie and me as young kids alongside a picture of my mom as a teenager with her horse. The folding chair in my bedroom tends to house my scarves and bags of the moment. The purse on the chair is from the upcoming Lizzie Fortunato collection, the scarf is vintage Hermes (from my mom!), and Lizzie gave me the white fur vest for Christmas last year. I’m obsessed with the straw carryall, which one of my dear friends brought back from her hometown in Mexico.
Image above: (From Lizzie) I love displaying the pictures and keepsakes that are important to me, and this corner of my room has become home to all my little treasures. The blue vase belonged to my mom, and the bone cuff that lives on it belonged to her mom. My maternal grandmother had the most flawless style, and this bracelet always reminds me of her. I have a big collection of Western and turquoise rings that are stacked on quills in a old glass jar (another Brimfield find), and my jewelry sits on a number of small plates: the red “E” is from John Derian, and the others are from the antiques section at Fishs Eddy. The silver bag is from my paternal grandmother, the traditional painted wood bag is from Mexico, and the photograph is one of my favorites of my mom as a young girl.
Image above: (From Kathryn) The dreamcatcher is by Electric Love and was a recent birthday gift from my boyfriend . . . My sister helped him!
Image above: (From Kathryn) These are two of our classic styles, which have been living on a ceramic Crate and Barrel tray when I haven’t been wearing them. We encourage our customers to display their jewelry in their homes when not on their bodies; each piece is like a little work of art!
Image above: (From Kathryn) We share our offices with the shoe line Dieppa Restrepo, and I think I’m their number one fan. I live in their loafers and have them all displayed in my room.
Image above: (From Lizzie) I found this incredible pom pom shawl on a trip to Guatemala with my boyfriend. We actually both got really sick on the trip, and when we were finally feeling better on the last day, all I did was drag him around to markets so I could shop for textiles!
Image above: (From Kathryn) My grandfather gave my maternal grandmother this locket a number of years ago, and then she passed it along to me. My grandfather’s picture is still inside . . . I love keeping it out so I can see it daily. It sits alongside a beautiful handwritten card from my good friend and office mate, Elisa Restrepo of Dieppa Restrepo shoes. There’s nothing as special as handwritten mail.
Image above: (From Lizzie) I love the watercolors in the bathroom created by our great friend and super-talented illustrator Bernadette Pascua. I am a diligent follower of Bernadette’s blog and love her work. These particular paintings were inspired by woven African baskets, and the proceeds went to African women’s charities.
Image above: Photograph by Bernadette Pascua
Image above: (From Kathryn) Our kitchen is tiny, but the long bar makes us feel like we have all the space in the world. It was installed by the previous tenant and perfectly breaks up the kitchen and living space while giving us room to cook or work or whatever. Lizzie recovered the stools in a great mustard-hued nubby fabric, and the small white storage unit in front of the stove is the perfect solution for housing cloth napkins and silverware. I also love the rusty license plate on the wall, which we brought back from a flea market in Buenos Aires.
Image above: (From Lizzie) Photographer Youngna Park took this picture of us during an interview about our line. She really caught us in the moment, and I love the way that I’m looking at my sister. We also both just look so comfortable here, which is one of my favorite things about our home — there’s nothing stuffy or uncomfortable about it . . . it’s just a little trove of all our treasures in the middle of the big city.