A Lesson in Design Compromise

For anyone who moves to New York City’s West Village, it’s location, location, location – after all, you’re just a stone’s throw from some of the city’s best restaurants and shops. But that premium on location means you sometimes have to settle for a smaller space with a challenging layout. So two years ago when Alisa Richter, of Small Girls PR, and Barrett Sheridan found this apartment, they decided to address the difficult layout by keeping the apartment’s decor pared down. The result is a space that is a true style compromise. Alisa says that it if it were left completely up to her, the space might look like a professor’s library in rural Maine. She has a tendency to bring home things like vintage model ships and vintage flags – she once found a pristine 1950s Helene Curtis vanity on the sidewalk and carried it twenty blocks home. To keep her collecting in check, she and Barret have a running joke that if it looks like it belongs on the set of a Wes Anderson movie, it’s probably too “twee” for the apartment. Alisa likes to call it her “twee restriction.” Twee restrictions aside, it was important to the couple that their space be both dog friendly and great for entertaining groups. So they kept it clean and modern, which works for a small space like this one, and Alisa’s love for everything vintage is kept to little touches – like an elephant on a table or a vintage typewriter tucked in a corner – throughout the space. Quite the attractive compromise.  –Amy

Photography by Charles Aydlett

Image above: “The bedroom is probably my favorite room. It’s full of light and filled with mementos from our travels. We didn’t want it to feel overly girly, so we swapped out an ornate glass chandelier for this industrial light fixture with Edison bulbs,” says Alisa.


Image above: “The vintage table is from Pippin Home, I found it on a sourcing trip with my good friend, interior designer Danielle Arps. She has immaculate taste so I knew it was a good find. The little elephant figurine is from a trip Barrett and I took to Thailand.”


See more of this NYC apartment after the jump!

Image above: “The chandelier actually came with the apartment. It’s a pretty dramatic show-stopper, so we tried to balance out the rest of the room with more subdued, modern pieces so it didn’t feel too formal. We picked this Room & Board sectional specifically with Penny in mind. The fabric is called “Tatum Salt” (it looks a bit like charcoal tweed), it doesn’t show dog hair and it’s pretty stain-resistant. It’s like really fancy airport carpet.”

Image above: “I found this amazing 1940s vintage bar cart on 1stdibs.”

Image above: “Lounging on the couch with Barrett and Penny is probably my favorite thing to do at home. It’s the perfect spot to do the Sunday crossword puzzle or curl up with a good book.”

Image above: “These are a few of my favorite antiquarian books. My mom has been collecting antiquarian books for as long as I can remember, so I spent a lot of time hanging out in used bookstores as a kid. Her love of history has definitely rubbed off on me. She’s an Egyptologist at UC Berkeley.”

Image above: “The diptyque paintings are by Brooklyn artist Erin Lynn Welsh  from Uprise Art.”

Image above: “The pink typewriter was a gift from my sister, Keren Richter, who shares my loves of all things twee.”

Image above: “If you can’t live in the Catskills, I feel like this wallpaper is the next best thing. It’s Cole & Sons’ popular ‘Woods’ wallpaper.”

Image above: “As you can probably tell, Penny rules the house. Clearly, she’s the alpha in this relationship.”

Image above: “When we first moved in, we inherited a few items from the previous owner, including some elaborate glass chandeliers in the closet, bedroom and living room, along with a dramatic, antique-mirrored headboard in the bedroom. It sort of resembled a French chateau (never a bad thing), but it was too feminine for our taste, so we swapped it out for this simple linen headboard from Crate & Barrel. We also added the dark indigo nightstands to the bedroom to make the whites in the room really pop.”

Image above: “Barrett grew up in Southern California, so he loves to be by the ocean. I knew he liked photographers like Slim Aarons so I had a feeling he would appreciate this print by Max Wanger. It reminds me of some of Slim Aaron’s work without being too ‘Palm Beach-y.’ Even though we live in NYC, its nice to wake up to beach views.”

Image above: “Seriously, it’s hard to say no to this face.”

Source List

Headboard – Crate & Barrel
Bedding – Coyuchi
Paintings above dresser – Erin Lynn Welsh via Uprise Art
Accent pillow – Coyuchi
Goldfinch print above bed – eBay
Ocean print above mantle – Max Wanger
Yellow striped vase on mantle – GretelHome.com
Horse bookend – vintage flea in Lake Como, Italy
Dresser – West Elm
Nightstands – Anthropologie
Lamps – LampsPlus
Rug – Schoolhouse Electric
Chandelier – Circa Lighting

Living Room
Lamp – Robert Ogden
Rug – Madeline Weinrib
Coffee table – Cafiero Select
Bird tray – John Derian
Couch – Room & Board sectional in Tatum Salt
Leather chair – DwellStudio Hans chair
Credenza – DwellStudio Claude Sideboard
Framed portrait – DwellStudio
Bentwood Side Table – West Elm
Pillows – Urban Outfitters
Bar cart – 1stdibs
Neon sign – Let There Be Neon
Vintage pink typewriter – gift from sister
Living room chandelier – came with apartment
Antiquarian books – Powell’s Books, Freebird Books, & Argosy Books

Paint – Gray Cloud, Benjamin Moore
White lacquer box – West Elm
Rope mirror – vintage
Elephant – purchased on a trip to Thailand
Carved wood table – Pippin Home

Woods wallpaper – Cole & Son
Bear print – Sharon Montrose

  1. lovely! i adore the bedroom chandelier.

  2. Danielle arps says:

    This apartment is beyond magical. Alisa has an incredible sense of style. Love.

  3. Alexandra says:

    This apartment is stunning. I love the light and the wallpaper – but how it is so compromised and neutral while being so so sweet!

    Warm Regards,

  4. Joanna says:

    This apartment is really stunning (both architectually and design-wise), but it’s hardly a small space by NYC standards in general! I’d even call it BIG for the west village ;)

    Those vaulted ceilings are something else!

  5. Colleen says:

    That’s a pretty amazing lofted ceiling for an NYC apartment

  6. Marcia Sheridan says:

    How cool! They’ve done a fabulous job!

  7. what a beautiful space. love the brick and white.

  8. Naomi says:

    Compromise? What compromise? This space is amazing.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I adore this apartment. The sectional is fabulous, and I love all the artwork. And the amazing natural light and exposed brick? A-plus. Plus I love that Alisa’s mom is an egyptologist! I thought that was a career you only saw in the movies :).

  10. Very Nice NY apartment, even though it is small in size it is large in comfortable style. I was surprised to see the exposed rafter-ed ceiling, it really adds to the charm of this home. I would have loved to see the Mirrored headboard they swapped out.

  11. molly yeh says:

    i cannot get over that pink typewriter!!!!! how cute is that. great space, great photos!

  12. Susy says:

    This apartment has my dream design down to all the little details!

  13. gina says:

    love the chandelier in the bedroom…& the bar cart, awesome! But I must say Penny take the cake….adorbs :)

  14. Sarah says:

    This is a humongous NYC apartment. And in the WV? I can’t even imagine what they pay–nevertheless: dreamy. :)

  15. Courtney says:

    Really beautiful home, my favorite place I have seen in a long time. Love it!

  16. Cristina says:

    Beautiful apartment! I have one question for you – I LOVE the table lamps but have searched through literally ALL the lamps on LampsPlus’s website. Could you please share the maker or any information I could use to find them elsewhere?

  17. stephen says:

    Where does someone gather a neon sign such as that? Amazing space.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      hi stephen

      you can buy custom neon signs on etsy and through a lot of modern design shops now. my favorites are from michele varian:




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