1998’s You’ve Got Mail isn’t only my favorite romantic comedy, it’s mandatory viewing in my household. The picturesque street fest scene, classic soundtrack and irresistible charm of Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox (“F-O-X.”) have yet to be beat, in my book. And that’s saying a lot considering it was released 20 years ago and two of its main plot points – dial-up internet and the reality of a struggling bookshop owner affording a classic studio in the Upper West Side – are ancient history.
The aforementioned studio Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly lived in was a particularly cozy brownstone where English country style and the 1990s collided. Her bed was draped in a geometric quilt, there were layers of cream-colored accessories here and there, and her furniture was perfectly worn in. I could probably sketch it from memory if you asked me, and so could interior designer Justin DiPiero. He loved the feel of it so much, in fact, he looked to its unfussy style as well as that of When Harry Met Sally when redecorating his one-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
This Meg-Ryan-inspired version of Justin’s home came into being after he’d lived there for three years. During that time, he kept the space white and neutral, assuming these colors would make the 500-square-foot plot feel much larger. It certainly did, but it also made it stale and uninviting. This latest round of tweaks, on the other hand, have resulted in a calming retreat from the hum of New York, a place he says “oftentimes feels so alien.”
He’s reinterpreted Kathleen Kelly’s look for 2018 with a green gallery wall and gilded accessories, but all in all, the quaint apartment still captures the welcoming and casual vibe of our favorite bookshop owner’s space. I can just see a modern-day version of Meg Ryan’s character curling up in Justin’s sofa, reading a book or texting away with Joe. Above the sofa hang pictures from Justin’s family and across from it sit a chair from his childhood nursery and a buffet from his great-great grandmother. Kathleen Kelly, whose drive to keep her mother’s store open was unmatched, would definitely approve of these familial touches. Scroll down to look around, and enjoy! —Garrett
P.S. If you want to bring the look of “You’ve Got Mail” to your own home, head here.
Photography by Claire Esparros
Image above: The living room’s 11-foot-tall ceilings are taller than most NY apartments, but the usable square footage of Justin’s home is rather small. It comes in at a quaint 500 square feet. While some would try and squeeze multiple uses into each room to make the most of this smaller footprint, Justin has opted for keeping things simple. Each room has one function.
Wall paint – Behr “River Forest”
Sofa – Interior Define
Coffee table – Akron Street
Custom floral art – Emily Grady Dodge
Green Botanical painting – Jenna Snyder-Phillips
Throw Pillows – vintage mix with custom Zak + Fox upholstery
Footstool – World Market
Accent chair – vintage
Chair’s accent pillow – Bole Road Textiles
Side table A– CB2
Side table B – Wayfair
Buffet – antique
Wall hanging – Target
Brass lamp – West Elm
White table lamp – Ralph Lauren Home
Paint – Farrow & Ball “Setting Plaster”
Bedside light – Etsy
Wall hanging, cabinet – vintage
Bedding – Parachute Home
Accent pillow – Zak + Fox Sauvage
Art – vintage architectural prints
Plant, vase – Sprout Home
Cabinet hardware – CB2
Table lamp – West Elm