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before and after

Before & After: A Dramatic Redecoration in Astoria

by Annie Werbler

When New York-based actor Wayne Henry was looking for a one-bedroom apartment four years ago, he found Astoria, Queens an ideal option with its 15-minute subway ride into Manhattan, celebrated ethnic diversity, and contemporary cultural renaissance. This particular apartment in a 1930s pre-war building offered him more quality of life for equal money spent elsewhere. “He was determined to find something suitable that he would enjoy turning 40 in,” notes interior designer and stylist Astrid Insieme, who did a fantastic job on her own Before & After: An A-Frame Cottage Gets an A+ Renovation. For Wayne, Astrid created a mature and polished retreat where he could relax and enjoy his surroundings in the cozy space — with an enhanced ability to comfortably entertain guests. She fashioned an “elegant, bohemian vibe throughout that is equal parts relaxed and dramatic.”

New Hampshire-based Astrid handled the budget-conscious decorating project remotely and in stages over the course of a year. She compiled concept boards, sourced products, and oversaw the entire process virtually — from painting the apartment to product placement. The effort culminated in a site visit where Astrid brought in the final round of finishing touches, and installed, styled, and took photos of it all. She transformed the apartment from “one with dingy, yellow walls and a few random pieces of college-era furniture” into a hospitable and eclectic adult pad. Wayne, for his part, is most thankful for the dapper new design and clever storage solutions around his home — a trademark of his resourceful decorator. —Annie

Photography by Astrid Insieme

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In Wayne Henry's Astoria living room, designer Astrid Insieme sought to fill the space with vibrant details reflecting his "quirky and comedic" side, without adding bulk to the relatively small surroundings.
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According to Astrid, Wayne desired the mood in his living room to be "cozy, unpretentious, slightly eclectic, and layered with just the right measure of pattern and color."
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The design is focused on symmetry, layering of textures, an earthy color palette, and a pops of green plant life for a comfortable yet polished vibe.
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A small functional vignette, Wayne's favorite spot is the space between two windows featuring a starburst mirror and small bar atop a vintage demi-lune table.
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"A myriad of textures and deliberate injections of color add a controlled dose of playfulness to the living room," Astrid articulates.
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In the bedroom, crisp white walls provide a backdrop for carrying the colorful, bohemian look into the intimate area.
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The large bedroom functions as a "retreat from the urban jungle," notes Astrid, "incorporating a fusion of globally-flavored accents with more traditional furniture elements."
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Warm, personal details populate the dresser.
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Kilim pillows and an eclectic mix of vintage furniture and fixtures in a bedroom corner.
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"One of my paramount objectives was to transform the apartment's foyer area into a functional and welcoming space that had as much personality as Wayne does," Astrid reflects. "Previously, it was nothing more than a sad and spiritless pass-through."
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A Victorian-style bench with nailheads offers a spot for putting on shoes before heading out the door, and a vintage mirror allows for a final overview while expanding the narrow space visually.
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"Bold, geometric patterns, ethnic fabrics and traditional furniture pieces come together to create a foyer entry that is (hopefully) both global and elegant," Astrid explains.
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Upon entering the apartment, the full foyer and hallway into the bathroom were previously neglected. It now holds a seating area to the right and a "command center" station on the left - a foldable piece that doubles as an extra dining table for guests when entertaining.
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The "command center" station in the foyer is a spot in which to drop keys and display lovely objects, but the strategically-placed raffia fan also hides an unsightly intercom. "It is easily lifted to access the mechanism underneath," Astrid says, "And helps keep the space looking decorated while preserving its functionality."
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A cosmetic facelift with paint, a Turkish rug, greenery, and some framed artwork transformed the previously nondescript bathroom into a more luxurious-feeling space.
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Wayne and Astrid made use of each inch of the apartment's efficient 575-square-foot floor plan.

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Comments

  • Such a difference from what the space used to be! It went from a complete bachelor pad which looked as though the owner only visited occasionally to an actual living space. The layering of styles, patterns and textures really made a comfortable atmosphere where before only existed… space. Of some kind. Very well done!

  • I love Astrid’s style and talent. She did an amazing job with this space! This is such a great transformation.

  • Ditto on what everyone else is saying! Amazing! And the way the colors and textures carry from room to room… just perfect. I also notice how rugs were used to cover up less-than-lovely flooring, yet they don’t look like that’s their purpose. Brilliant work, Astrid! One of the best before & afters ever!

  • It’s true, my apartment is now awesome! Astrid is amazing – so fun to work with, funny, down to earth, and possesses unending creativity. In addition to her styling, she was able to come up with several creative solutions for any “problem” that arose. (Problem means I bought something on my own and it didn’t fit where I thought.) Thank you again Astrid for a beautiful home!

    • BRAVO at last a before and after that reflects a real NYC apartment. So tired of all those modern gentrified apartments we don’t live in. I just started my redecoration process and this before and after was great. Just what I needed to keep going. How do I get in touch with Astrid ? Come on over to my house Astrid lets have fun.

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