Blogging about apartment updates have always been some of my favorite blog posts to write. Since I moved to NYC last year I’ve shared the makeover of my (tiny!) closet, shared the transformation of my (also tiny!) bedroom, and blogged the reveal of my (huge!) gallery wall in the main living space. Today, I’m excited to share the final reveal – the main living space. Click through after the jump to see how to decorate an NYC brownstone apartment, join me in a walk through each part of the space and read how we navigated the NYC rental market for the first time!
Don’t believe the apartments you see all those millennials living in when you watch glossy American rom-coms and sitcoms! Those vast lofts are few and far between even if you have several million in the bank. Still, I was determined to find a place with charm and character for my heart mate and I to live in. I remember that we were sitting in my old home office back in London one night when we saw a bunch of potential properties on the rental market. If I had learned one thing from my NYC dwelling friends over the years, it was that you had to act fast when you saw something you liked in Manhattan. So, I used my air miles to buy a ticket to fly from London to NYC the very next morning and I had three days to find and sign a place, while Facetiming my heart mate who was at his office back in the UK! Add in the fact that all my credit history I’d built up in the UK counted for nothing here, it was like trying to find and sign an apartment suitable for two almost thirty year old men with the credit score of a college kid – yikes! Essentially, the pool of available properties (read: landlords that would even give us the time of day) was, um, somewhat dry. Still, we took it in our stride and after literally begging the broker to let us see this brownstone apartment, we managed to jump through the necessary hoops to secure it. Sources: Sofa | Vintage pillow | Stripe pillow | Coffee table | Rug | Armchair | Blinds | Desk | Chair | Lamp | Vase | ArtThis open-plan space had to allow for living, working, eating and dressing (yep, my closet is in this space behind that mirrored door). This corner by the closet was ‘dead’ space for a few months but eventually we decided to turn it into a small dining area. Adding a mirrored door to the closet really helped bounce light into this part of the space, and so it went from being an empty area to one of my favorite places to be in the apartment. Sources: Dining table | Dining chairs | Custom bench | ArtGah! I love this custom bench – the indigo color feels quite timeless and compliments the exposed bricks wonderfully. Plus, it’s a nice introduction of upholstery to contrast with the grey fabric of the sofa. Sources: Typographic pillow | Sand pillow | Vintage pillow | Sofa | Vintage fabricOnto my office space and this beautiful campaign desk. The moment I saw the oversized table lamp in the Anthropologie sale, I knew it was the ideal piece for my desk. As my desk was in the open-plan living area I liked how the oversized lamp became the statement piece on the desk and in turn detracting visual attention away from the Mac. Sources: Desk | Chair | Lamp | VaseMy design direction for this apartment is my most traditional to date but I really like how the pieces feel in the space. There’s a comforting, welcoming and cozy feel evoked by bringing these pieces together, especially when foiled by the exposed brick walls.The three large windows along one side of the living space helped flood the room with light, and I knew before I brought a single piece of furniture into the space that I wanted to have a reading chair by one of them. The vintage painting I bought from Etsy is the perfect partner for the armchair, and I love how the window treatments add color and pattern to the walls. Sources: Blinds | Vintage painting | Vintage measuring stick | Side table | Rug | Armchair | Pillow | Media unit | Lamp | Navy artThis pair of pictures shows how the two facing brick walls are quite heavy – this was the main driver behind hanging large scale pieces of art in a white and navy palette as a way to soften their dominance of the space. Hands down, one of my favorite parts of this apartment is the open fire. Even when we first moved and had literally zero furniture (we sold all of our furniture in London before moving to NYC and came only with suitcases and a few boxes of personal belongings, books etc. that arrived two months later via boat), we would sit on the floor eating takeaway pizza in front of the open fire. I grew up with an open fire in my childhood home so it felt comforting; it felt like home. Still, with so little time to find our first apartment in the city, and with all the complications that came with being first time renters in America, there were a number of things about the apartment that we found frustrating. So, we decided to move when our lease was up for renewal and I’m thrilled that we have found our second NYC rental! I can’t wait to share the new space with you all, but for now consider this post the swan song to #BBbrownstone! What do you like about the space? Have you ever decorated around exposed bricks? // Photography by Will Taylor