A NYC Apartment Has Dreamy Windows, Tall Ceilings, and a Kitchen Ladder

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Name: Nicollette Starnella and fiancé, Magnus
Location: Hell’s Kitchen — New York, New York
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

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Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: This apartment is my fiancé’s and my first place together. We got engaged while living in this apartment, and we are soon to be getting married while living here, as well. The building itself is a boutique condo in Hell’s Kitchen — it’s a renovated schoolhouse from the 1800s. So much rich history in these walls! The way the building was constructed preserved the beauty of the old architecture while adding modern finishes.

For instance, the ceilings are 14 feet high with massive windows and the “island” in the kitchen is designed to look like a teacher’s desk and is on wheels so it can be moved around to suit your needs. There’s a chalkboard in the entryway along with shoe “cubby holes” underneath the entryway closet just like it used to be when you’re in elementary school — so nostalgic. This beautiful home is full of so many memories and I really wanted that reflected in the design.

I have always loved interior design and it is such a passion project of mine. When we saw this place my mind starting running with all of the different ways I could incorporate my design ideas. It’s a perfect space to go wild and experiment with different styles. I definitely have learned that I identify with neutral palettes for the most part and I add in color strategically to make the space feel warm and welcoming. I love vintage-inspired accessories that have a French country feel to them, like our canopy bed in the primary bedroom, the plaid Louis VII chair, and the gallery walls with mixed frames. However, I also mix in some modern touches to balance it out — the travertine side table, our black Anthropologie TV cabinet, and all of our “modern” art pieces are from Andy Blank. I’m a firm believer in never incorporating just one design style to a home. You need dimension and a juxtaposition to create a story, and that’s what I think I have achieved in this space.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Vintage-inspired French country with a modern eclectic flair.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room in our apartment is our living room/kitchen space. First of all — the windows! Second, the seven-foot vintage mirror I was able to fit along the wall has always been a dream of mine to incorporate into my home. This space is so reflective of us and how we live our lives. It’s cozy yet not overdone. We chose an extremely comfy couch since we spend so much time out here, and I basically worked around that to design the rest of the space. Lots of plants to bring color and life, but the space is airy enough not to look too cluttered or overdone. We spend so much time cooking and enjoying our kitchen that I wanted to make the space flow nicely into the living area like it was one — all while still feeling like they are sectioned off. For me, it’s all about creating dimension with different textures in each space. A muted vintage rug and glass details tie in with our cane accent chair, our “picnic” style dining table, and gold accents throughout.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I bought was a hand-blown glass candle holder and handmade terracotta pot from Campo di Fiori. I also just purchased a vintage plaid Louis VII chair from Kaiyo and an incredible travertine side table from Lulu and Georgia.

Any advice for creating a home you love? As long as you’re incorporating pieces into your home that are reflective of you, then there’s no way not to love your home. Find inspiration and then just run with it — the best part is searching for each piece that will be perfect for each space. Go bold and experiment with different styles and you may surprise yourself to find you like mixing and matching different aspects to create your own custom interior vibe.

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