Interiorssneak peeks

A Tiny Upper East Side Gem

by Grace Bonney

Lizzy Oates knows a thing or two about making the most of a small space. She and her husband share this beautiful 650 square foot apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Three years ago, while apartment hunting, Lizzy’s rental agent mentioned a great new space that went on the market, but didn’t have the big kitchen that Lizzy, an avid cook and entertainer, wanted. Undeterred by the kitchen news, Lizzy and her husband decided to see the space and ended up signing on the apartment the next day. While the space didn’t have the full kitchen Lizzy was hoping for, it did have big beautiful windows, a wealth of natural light and a porch that would make any New Yorker jealous. When Amy, Max and I went to visit Lizzy’s apartment to take photographs, we all agreed it was the sort of small but perfectly chic space that reminded us of Sex & The City. High praise from this team.

Newly married, Lizzy and her husband, “Didn’t have much to [their] name.” So rather than spending too much on all new furniture, they worked with pieces that were given to them from friends and family. Lizzy recently started her career in interior design and describes her style as “traditional with a twist”. To me, their space is warm, welcoming and timeless. It’s the sort of apartment any city-dweller would be lucky to have and we are so thrilled she was kind enough to share it with us here today. Thanks so much to Lizzy and her husband for letting us into their beautiful light-filled home.

Photographs by Maxwell Tielman

Images above: “In my opinion the Audubon swan print adds a lot to our living room. It is a wonderful statement piece that gives a focal point to the room. It came from my husband’s grandmother. The mirrors in the hallway make the apartment feel much bigger than it is.”


The full home tour continues after the jump!

Image above: Lizzy’s small but super-functional kitchen.

Image above: The shelves in our “kitchen” have made living with a galley kitchen doable. They add so much storage and they are very inexpensive (from Ikea!).




Image above: The yellow tufted chairs came from an antique mall in Connecticut. They add a bit of formality to our little space.

Image above: My husband loves to garden. Being surrounded by flowers is divine!

Image above: The terrace is the reason we took the apartment. It feels like we have a whole other room to our apartment. Also it makes entertaining so much fun!

Image above: Delicate watercolors of meat Lizzy painted herself.

Image above: The beautiful white lanterns in Lizzy’s home were part of the original space.


Image above: His and hers dressers

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  • Is that “kitchen” in a closet? They’ve certainly made the most of it. Says more about NYC property and what is becoming more typical. The fireplace and terrace are amazing. What a lovely place.

  • Wow what a cool space! Could use a little more “youthful” touches, in my opinion, however I love the yellow tufted chairs, love the art above the dining room table/dining chairs, also very bold/daring fabric on the couch. That really makes the whole space, to me. Very cool! -Jon

  • This home is so beautiful. My favorite things are the colors of blue used throughout and especially I love the blue rounded party table benches on the lanai. So sweet!!

  • Absolutely adorable! I love the chair under the meat paintings, the hanging original vintage lantern, the yellow dresser (I had a bright orange one when I was a kid), and the use of rounded benches to make more space for friends outside. Well done! Enjoy your dinner parties!

  • I live in NY too and I definitely know the talent of making small space look like big space. You did an excellent job of decorating your apartment. It is super cute and I love the terrace!

  • I love that their bookshelf includes both a book about Jerusalem and one about bacon.

  • Beautiful Decoration, NY a Combination of the Classic and Contemporary I like how you mix everything with the place.

  • The spelling of the artist should be “Audubon.” Such a beautiful, warm space — thanks for sharing it!

  • So this is what a grown-up apartment looks like! I really like this sneak peak. It’s the perfect mix of tasteful vintage. Please say a little more about the couch- I love it!

  • Ditto all the positive comments above! Honestly, I can’t believe how small your apartment is — it feels spacious, beautiful and comfortable. Where did you get the mirror panels? I know mirrors can expand a palce, but I also would have thought a mirrored wall might look cheesy. I love yours. Why do you think it works?

  • Beautiful use of space, love that two can live in a small space and have it so airy and neat. Makes me homesick for NY–briefly! (Actually, this site gives me that old NY thrill quite often!)
    The sofa fabric is gorgeous. Lots of lovely things arranged to please the eye. I like the drawer on the shelf of the side table. I have a drawer sitting in the attic waiting for a good idea like this to come along. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I love the color of the pillows on the bed. That makes it look so cheerful. The whole apartment is cheerful really.

  • Lovely place that makes the utmost use of space. I would have a very hard time dealing with a kitchen *that* tiny but I can see why the terrace sold you! :)

  • Lovely! Who makes the credenza/chest with the Stainless steel drawer fronts?
    To die for!!

  • I LOVE their apartment! It is great to see how they complimented the existing characteristics of the space with their design choices. Their place looks so warm and inviting.

  • This small space feels like a small single family home…very warm and personal. I would appreciate better pictures of the tiny kitchen solutions.

  • There’s something to be said for living life more simply, these people have shown that they know how to do that beautifully. It seems that they follow the rule to keep only what you love and know to be useful. This home is just beautiful, the terrace and the light filled rooms would have sold me too!

  • Lovely!! Is there any way to find out the paint color used on the gorgeous sunny yellow dresser? Pretty please? :)

  • 60 square metres is considered “tiny”?

    Man things are so different in London. This would be considered a decent size apartment over here.

  • Lizzy and Nick, congratulations on your absolutely lovely and warm home being featured! So so cool! As you know, I love everything about it – especially the fabric on the sofa. Lots of love to you both! xoxo, Amanda

  • Lizzy and Nick, Jill led me to this article on your lovely home! I love it! You have such flair, dear!

  • Hello Lizzy!
    It doesn’t look like you’ve been interacting with the commenters, but just in case, I’d absolutely love to know who your real estate agent was. I love your place! My husband and I are moving back to the US from abroad, and want an agent who handles excellent properties!
    Thanks so much!