We are so excited to share the second of Dana Arbib‘s favorite homes to visit, considering her own place somehow manages a crisp and earthy aesthetic all at once. Her work for A Peace Treaty has Dana crossing paths with all kinds of clever creative types, including Christan Summers and Ivan Martinez, who just so happen to live in An Airy Modern Greenhouse in Brooklyn. Across the East River on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Susan Joy — a fashion stylist, creative consultant, and guiding light to developing designers — lives in a 1,300-square-foot penthouse duplex rental apartment with a private roof deck, a terrace, and two private balconies. “When A Peace Treaty was accepted into the CFDA Fashion Incubator,” Dana explains, “I asked the powers that be to have Susan Joy on-boarded as our official mentor. The thing about Susan is that she looks like a sweet Australian fairy, but actually tells it like it is and shoots from the hip like no one I have ever met before. Susan’s apartment is truly a reflection of herself: It’s as artsy and eclectic as her personality. She is not afraid of color, and embraces the unexpected.”
Case in point — when Abby the housecat was left behind after a neighbor moved out of the building, Susan welcomed her with open arms. “Two years on,” Susan shares, “She’s the house guest that never left, happily ensconced in her LES oasis.” Abby isn’t the only one. “I love the neighborhood,” Susan admits. “It’s changed so much since I moved in 11 years ago, but it’s still a wonderful mix of old and new. It’s the old immigrant Jewish LES, Chinatown, burgeoning art district, bustling restaurant scene, young and old all mixed up and changing and evolving constantly.”
The many roommates who have shared the space with Susan have also left their mark on the apartment. For example, Nader Rajab, a digital product strategist, currently mixes his contemporary street art with Susan’s vintage furniture. The pair also have a spare room to rent out to visitors. “The spaciousness comes not so much from the square footage,” Susan adds, “But from the open sky all around — and the ability to open doors and windows. Having a cross breeze in summer is something for which I’m eternally grateful.” Without a proper dining room, Susan often finds herself eating outdoors whenever the weather allows. The entrance to the unit is also located through the terrace, “so you have to go outside from the elevator hallway and then inside again. It’s very special having that connection to the exterior. It’s a fantastic perspective-changer to walk outside and reconnect with the city from a new point of view before entering the apartment. It’s quite magical,” she says.
The perfectly imperfect arrangement provides a welcoming, not stuffy, vibe. With many prized opulent and gilded elements, Susan still hopes that her home feels more like “decaying grandeur” than anything too precious. —Annie