While I like being able to have final say in what goes into my home, I do sometimes wish that I had a partner to bounce ideas off of; someone opposite me that pushes for ever-unique solutions to design challenges. The most interesting creative work I have ever seen was born out of two un-likeminded individuals working together under a shared vision. One of my favorite examples of this is Dior designers Raf Simons and Pieter Mulier. One blunt, one more of a waffler, one caring, the other brazen — they complemented one another so well, that the final collection they created was truly visionary.
Shaun and Astrid’s Harlem, NY co-op is the perfect example of how styles can converge to create something personal. Having lived and worked in California, Shaun has a soft spot for knick-knacks and a laid-back, coastal vibe. His wife Astrid’s German upbringing, on the other hand, has instilled in her a love for clean lines and minimal aesthetics. When they moved into this one-bedroom spot four years ago, finding the right balance of their two styles was a bit challenging, but ended up organically shaping the space’s look. “It was important that our apartment feel like a home and not like something decorated by a stranger,” the two say. In order to achieve this, they draped each room in elements that remind them of travels together and the people they’ve met along the way. This “visual diary of [their] life together” isn’t only pleasant on the inside. It sits on one of the quietest streets in Manhattan with a rooftop garden that Shaun and Astrid call the best part of their home. Take a peek at the rest of the clean and cozy apartment that they share with furry friends Artos, Chaplin and Sanderson after the jump. Enjoy! — Garrett
Photography by Shaun Crowley and Astrid Hanenkamp
Second only to the kitchen in terms of favorite spots, the living room is a family oasis. Whether it's catching up about the day or simply watching some TV, the coziness of the space always draws the couple in. The sofa is from
, the throw blanket is Missoni for Target and the coffee table is from
Crate & Barrel
. The side chair was thrifted at
Angel Street Thrift Shop
Shaun and Astrid chose their home based on its proximity to work, the abundance of light and fresh yet vintage feel.
Shaun surfs at least once a week at Rockaway Beach. Being able to live in NYC, but still have this piece of his west-coast life, is something Shaun will never take for granted. When she flew over, Astrid's grandmother brought the chandelier with her as a carry-on. More light is cast on the space by the
One Kings Lane
floor lamp in the corner.
Right outside the living room's windows is the garden. Flowers, herbs and tomato plants grow in abundance here. Breaking the rules of urban living with their 5th-floor garden is Astrid and Shaun's absolute favorite thing about their home. The little gnome was a gift from Shaun's sister who lives all the way in England.
In need of a place to display her quarter collection, Astrid constructed these state maps herself. The couple's "most prized piece" of artwork is the photo of two people sitting on a bench. Their pal Harry DiOrio took it. "Harry is a dear friend and his ability to capture humanity is second to none," the two say.
These IKEA shelves fit so organically between the bedroom's two entrances, you'd think they were original, built-in cabinetry. The chair is an eBay find, and the small footstool was Astrid's grandmother's.
table's doily was crocheted by Shaun's grandmother, and the couple brought the rusty key and lock back from a trip to Venice. It was found at a church sale.
Astrid solved the couple's non-working-fireplace conundrum by placing candles inside. On the mantel, a wooden hand holds pink silk; inspiration for a pocket-square design.
A piece by Netherlands-based artist
resides above the mantel. The family collects bits of nature everywhere they go. You would think that living in NYC means sacrificing being close to the outdoors, but Shaun says, "there's a lot of nature if you know where to look." The proof is in the driftwood and shells you see here. The fireplace was originally painted white, but Astrid thought a bold black would make it more of a statement piece so the two pulled the trigger and went for it. I love the results!
With all the doors closed, the master bedroom is silent – a luxury in Manhattan.
The credenza from
"suits Astrid's clean design taste" while also giving a nod to Shaun's more rustic sensibility. This area of the bedroom is decked out in a sculpture found in Hong Kong and a vintage Greenwich Village map.
CB2 shelving holds a painting of a windmill – a nod to Astrid's childhood in Germany – as well as work by Brooklyn artists and California origami artist
A Moroccan wedding blanket adds a touch of pizazz to the
IKEA Malm bed
. The bedroom's rug was a hand-me-down from Astrid's parents.
Astrid made the headboard herself by simply stitching fabric over foam core. Astrid's parents gave the couple this lighting sculpture that sits under their
table. The home came with the swinging light fixture, and the couple believes it's from
The bathroom is next on the couple's list of remodels. One element that is sure to stay put is the original door from 1910. Cat scratches and normal wear and tear give it so much character, the homeowners could never part with it.
These acupuncture diagrams from Hong Kong are a "constant reminder to stay focused and centered."
table is a favorite hang-out spot for Sanderson. This kitty was named after Shaun and Astrid's favorite hotel in London. The rolling shelf in the corner was made with plumbing pipes and wood from
The Home Depot
. The cowhide rug is from
. The overhead lighting was already in the apartment when the family moved in. It's another suspected Restoration Hardware piece.
When this vintage chair wouldn't sell, they decided to revamp it with a new coat of paint. Shaun also had the chair re-caned. The mid-century Eames coatrack is a winter-time lifesaver as it keeps all their gear accessible. The vintage lamp, an eBay win, sits on a table from
. Jane Mount is responsible for the small, bird print.
The kitchen is truly the heart of this family's home. Shaun cooks for himself and Astrid nearly every night, so it was important that it not only be functional, but a space that they both would enjoy spending quality time in together. Bar stools by
Mixing modern appliances with this rustic shelf – made with driftwood found in the Hudson River – was an easy way for the two to merge their styles. Tea from friends in China and an oil decanter bought on a recent trip to Florence live here.
Another perfect example of how the couple's styles merge is the interplay of the modern, Knoll dining table and the early-century desk. The gold-leaf mirror was found in the Canary Islands.
The apartment's long and narrow design makes it appear much larger than 850 square feet.
Found on the street and originally painted yellow, the desk was stripped of its paint to reveal this beautiful wood. The wall's artwork has been collected from various art shows around Brooklyn and features
The Hamilton Heights, Harlem home's floorplan.