Deciding where to plant roots can be tough, and for blogger, Kid & Coe community manager and marketing strategist Nicole Gonzalez and her fiancé, Ivan, this choice was made even harder due to the fact that they had their young son, Lucas León, to consider. Both NYC natives, the couple knew all too well the overwhelming possibilities that exist in the city. Initially, when they were tossing around neighborhood names, Ivan — who was raised on the Upper West Side — wasn’t fond of the idea of the Upper East, but it didn’t take long for him to realize the potential that Nicole recognized all along. “What I loved was the proximity to everything,” Nicole shares, “and how family-friendly it was.” Two years and another baby later (a little peach named Lillie Sol), and any hesitation Ivan once had has completely gone out the window.
The family’s light and airy Upper East Side condo is filled with plenty of personal touches, but still imparts an uncluttered and minimal aesthetic in all the right ways. Although their space is only 700 square feet, and even with a big teddy bear of a dog, Humphrey Bogart, having Central Park, their favorite restaurants, and endless options for family outings at their doorstep makes up for the crammed quarters — although baskets can’t be discounted! “I have clutter-phobia,” Nicole declares, “and my best friend[s] are baskets!” Joking aside, when asked what she loves most about their home, Nicole admits “our view gets me every time.” With an unobstructed view of the East River, Nicole relishes in the moment of calm that strikes only in the early morning or late in the evening “when the house is quiet and I have a moment to myself to sit and unwind.”
For Nicole, a house becomes a home when it’s filled with family photographs and artifacts — both new and old. “It brings history and love into the house,” she says, “My most prized possessions are the pieces of furniture and art that have been passed down to us by family members. They are reminders of how blessed and loved we are.” Although their space has been lived in and loved, the next project on the family’s agenda in the new year is tackling their kitchen. “It’s pretty bare bones at the moment,” Nicole explains, “functional but not loved.” On the short-list is a fresh coat of paint, installing shelving to finally display wedding china that was passed down to Nicole and Ivan by her aunt, and a chalkboard wall for the kids. At the end of the day, no matter how many activities they have planned or how many items on the to-do list, Nicole remains house-proud “of our tiny nooks, filled with family gems and pieces that mean so very much to us… I am most thankful for the people in my home,” Nicole reflects. “My family, my loves; they are what bring life, laughter, and joy inside those walls and for that I will be forever grateful.”–Sabrina