Brief Intro + The Study

March 15, 2012 | Alex

A brief introduction: I'm a 24-year-old design novice with lots of ideas of how I would decorate rooms if I had a) money and  b) rooms to decorate. I have a small claim to the latter, thanks to my first design client, a.k.a. my boyfriend Ryan. 

I created this blog for me and for my mother, who is far more wise and experienced than I in the field of design. Her look is fairly distinct too, so it should make for an interesting contrast. (Or perhaps not-- we do share the same DNA after all and frequently gravitate towards the same trends.)

I hope to blog about the progress on Ryan's 1-bedroom duplex in Brooklyn, although a few meandering raves, rants and philosophical musings on design can be expected. Oh, and expect loads of virtual mock-ups (e.g. the below). Because they are free! Gloriously free. And if you screw up and the coffee table you picked out doesn't jive, who cares? Delete it and photoshop in a new one.

The Study

Diving in: let's begin with the study. As with many multi-family Brooklyn brownstones, the ground floor duplex consists of a parlor level and a below-grade second level-- what the rest of america refers to as "a basement." We call it the bedroom + study. Realtors aren't technically allowed to call it that, but they do anyway. Oh the joys of the New York City housing market. 

The bedroom + study is one long room with a windows on one end and a bathroom on the other. At the moment, the wall with windows appears quite bleak and sad. It's covered in that plastic cable-mate tubing because our handyman wasn't able to snake the cable and speaker wire through the wall. Blech. 

What to do to spruce up the bleak wall and cover the wires? Ideally, I'd like to kill both birds with one stone-- or, more accurately, with an array of wood planks. I vacillate between reclaimed wood paneling and slatted wood, but I think Ryan prefers slatted wood. We recently took a vacation to Argentina and dined at Olsen a trendy Scandinavian restaurant in Buenos Aires's hip Palermo neighborhood. It is a slatted wood (and smoked salmon) paradise. I could tell Ryan was digging it. 

So here's my long-term vision:



Aspirational items, i.e. items Ryab does not yet own, denoted with an asterisk.

1. Wood Slats* - custom carpentry work. My first estimate is scheduled for tomorrow. So excited! And nervous! What if it's just to expensive? The truth is, I know it will be out of the budget.. But until I see the four-figured number with my own eyes, I'll indulge the dream.

2. Wooden Blinds* - The Shade Store

in SoHo. The best, in my humble opinion. We tried Smith & Noble first on the basis of their reputation, but I was severely disappointed. The consultant came, measured, we picked out a million samples, etc. The next day she calls and says, "oh shoot, I forgot to tell you 99.9% of the samples you picked out won't work for your windows. Your windows are too wide." Smith & Noble Fail.

3. Art - Girl in a Green Bikini by Nicholas Weber (sigh, my favorite). And totally out of the budget. But my sweet, kind boyfriend Ryan bought me a 13 x 19" print for my birthday. Hooray for prints! Double hooray for thoughtful boyfriends who actually listen when you drone on about art! Contact

Tripoli Gallery in Southampton if you're interested in prints of Nick's work. The owner is impressively young (under 30 I think), cool and crazy talented.

4. Sofa - Ikea Karlstad in Isunda Gray, with snazzy new legs. I won't bother to document the DIY because I'm not even sure swapping out the legs counts as an Ikea hack, and even if it does, it's been thoroughly documented in the design blogosphere.

5. Throw Pillows - Red Pillow: Dash & Albert, Saranac; Cowhide pillow*: anonymous cowhide pillow from google images, ebay? Shoot, can't remember where I found it.

6. Coffee Table* - BluDot Pi Coffee Table.

7. Desk Chair* - BluDot Buttercup Chair.

 Note: this is a perfect example of pure fantasy. The Buttercup is in reality a lounge chair, not a desk chair. I tested in their SoHo showroom and it's too low to moonlight as a desk chair. Until I find a real-life alternative, I'll include it in the mock-up as a placeholder.

8. Desk - anonymous google image search for "contemporary black desk." It looks pretty much like the one Ryan's had for 6 years.

9. Lamp* - Baton Lamp, Design Within Reach.

On sale right now! (If spending $300+ on a table lamp is your thing...)

10. Rug - Dash & Albert, Blueberry Ticking.

Ryan purchased this rug a few years ago-- now looks like it's only available in small sizes.