upper west side apartment


I’ve been helping this client get settled into her fantastic new apartment. Wanting a calming, tranquil bedroom we opted for the white bedding and dresser. She found the gorgeous glass lamp at a local shop and is looking for a rug to complete the room.

I was there this weekend to place the new dining table and chairs, the set of bookcases and to finish styling the space. We had a great time putting it all together and in place. 

art covered walls


I helped this couple move earlier this year. They had the dining table + chairs, lounge chair, sofa and area rug and lots of art. Envisioning using this long wall as an art wall, I suggested bright white walls and minimal white furniture as not to detract from the art. We went with the three Ikea bookcases since I knew much of the art needed framing and I know how much that can cost.
I love the way the bookcase came out. Since these shelves are pretty deep I was able to layer some of the smaller books to give it more depth and interest. They said to do it whichever looked best, not necessarily by subject or author. For more pics and info, click here.

visualizing with tape


It can be hard to visualize how something will look in a space, and more importantly how the actual size will look and feel in a space.
Measure out where the piece in question will go and adhere painter’s tape or artist tape, I’ve even used post-it notes. The pic above shows how my mother and I did this to see how an oversized mirror and shelves would look in her living room. This can also be done on the floor to see how furniture will fit.

living / dining room: before + after

You’ve seen other areas of this apartment, now for the main living/dining space.
We did a major edit and mapped out new homes for everything, but just as important, we made a few decorative changes. The major thing was reorienting the rug. You can see in the 3rd pic the rug came out from behind the sofa as it ran lengthwise from the TV. The lounge chair near the windows wasn’t even on the rug; an unconscious message of how the wife hates it. Now the rug runs lengthwise in front of the TV and the husband is happy to finally feel like he’s part of the living area :O)
We also:
– switched out the small metal lamps with large green ones
– installed a sconce over lounge chair
– the only purchase: baskets under coffee table for magazines, books, etc
– moved around art and hung art
– re-styled entire room

my idea of ‘original art’

Since I showed you the art I made for my bathroom, my friend Kate who’s an art consultant, wrote about it on her awesome blog Art Hound. While I appreciated the post, I have to respond to her statement “As Laura would undoubtedly agree, original art is ideal but just isn’t an option for her at this time.”

While I live on a limited budget, it’s not that ‘original art’ isn’t an option, it’s just not a priority and that’s a big difference. Art comes in many forms, not just paintings, drawings, or sculpture. The ‘art’ that is most relevant to me and I opt to invest in is the design of everyday things, clothes and jewelry. Case in point, my recent purchase of this necklace by Etten Eller.
Not saying that Kate meant the statement viciously, she’s very lovely and I didn’t take it that way. I just thought it was a good opportunity to repeat what I’ve said before and will say again; figure out what matters to YOU, whatever that may be, and don’t be overly influenced by what other’s think is important.

affordable art my way

As many of you reading know, I don’t have unlimited funds. Accepting this, I’ve taken the time to determine what’s important to me and what I prefer to spend my money on (which is my wardrobe for those of you who couldn’t tell).
While I know there’s affordable art out there, it’s just not a priority for me right now so I’ve been making my own.

For the bathroom, I hung frames I already owned without anything in them until I figured what I wanted visually. For the large frame I thought something simple, graphic, and black + white, so I purchased a piece of fabric that I cut to fit. For the white frame, I wanted a bit of color, so I pulled a page out of a small art book I had, “Testing” by the artist Jaq Chartier.
striped fabric: 1 yd $8
metal frame: existing $0
art book: given to me by a client $0
small white frame: existing $0
total cost: $8
loving my bathroom: priceless!

keeping artwork level

There’s two things you need for your artwork to stay looking neat on your walls. First a level (something everyone should have in their tool kit!), though if you live here in NYC where nothing’s level, you may have to eye it to make it ‘look’ level. Then Stik-Tak to hold the frame or art piece in place for good. A putty-like substance that can easily be removed or washed off the wall if you want to move the frame. Almost any hardware store carries it.
It’s these little things that make your space looking polished and finished…

q + a: when to say no


(photo and interior by vicente wolf)

mri asks
“When do I say no? I can’t afford to put in a new ceiling, buy all new furniture, and install a new bathroom–but I’m getting well-meant advice from friends and family all telling me to. Whenever I say no, I get inundated with dire predictions of doom and regrets. The easiest thing to do is to just ignore everyone but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has that little voice in back of my mind going ‘Are you SURE you don’t want to do that?’ (argh!!!)”

This is similar to mri’s last question, but wanted to address it separately. I started this blog not only to counter all the bad advice out there, but the (conscious and subconscious) influencing of every aspect of our lives from what to wear, to eat, how to decorate, how to live. We need to stop listening to others and start listening to ourselves; organize, simplify, and create a space around YOUR life and how you want to live it.
Everyone has an opinion, so when taking advice think about who’s giving it. Not to say your friend’s and family’s advice is bad, but is it good for YOU? Try at first not to take so much advice so you can learn to listen to yourself, but when you do, target people who’s opinion on the subject you respect and is relevant to your lifestyle and taste (which most likely eliminated 95% of the people you know).
As far as figuring out what to do, planning is key. This guide* should help you separate out what you need to do versus the things you think you should do. Things you need to do are those things that will greatly impact how you function in the space.

q + a: deciding which design elements work for you

(interior by mario buatta, photo by gordon beall)

mri asks

“What is a good way to decide which design elements are going to work for you? With all the design blogs and other media available on design it sometimes feels like there’s too much information. I know a few people who tried to ‘buy into’ all the things that were touted online (i.e., mid-century modern is the ONLY way to go, no popcorn ceilings, concrete floors are desirable, paint everything white, etc.) and ended up being unhappy and uncomfortable. I am interested in design and usually have strong opinions (I use your “what don’t I want” technique) but when I stare at the empty apartment I just can’t decide. And I must be a mutant because although I am an artist, those inspiration boards and scrap books do nothing for me.”

I’m going to give you a pretty simple answer. FYI, I look at home design very similar to the way I build my wardrobe. Never let trends dictate your taste. You should never ‘buy into’ anything. And never listen to someone who says that ‘this’ is the ONLY way to go.
No matter what you do, people will question it and/or have some opinion about it (have you seen some of the comments on my Apartment Therapy House Tours) but really, who cares? Learn to trust your eye and identify what you like. There is an infinite amount of things in the world, so your home should be a filled with a collection of YOUR favorite things.
The easiest way to design a space is to look at how you want to function in it. What do you have to store, and what do you want to do in your space; entertain, watch tv, play video games, read, do crafts, paint, exercise, cook. Look at your space through your desired lifestyle (how you want to live in it).
It’s ok that an inspiration board doesn’t work for you, nothing works for everyone. The question is, as an artist what is your creative process? And let me know if this helps!!