800 sq. ft. of Perfection

Ashley-Whittaker-800-sq-ft-NYC-Apartment-House-Beautiful-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJDecorating a small space is usually one of the biggest challenges for city dwellers. Every square inch needs to have a purpose, and multi-functional home decor is not typically the most attractive. Developing a detailed floor plan is essential for any room – especially for small space living – and finding new ways to use everyday items is cardinal. This lovely 800 sq. ft. NYC apartment designed by Ashley Whittaker follows these notions to a T.

02-hbx-striped-madeline-weinrib-rug-whittaker-0713-xln05-hbx-maharani-wallpaper-whittaker-0713-xlnLEFT: The oversized parsons desk doubles as a dining table, and the settee (similar) in the “reading nook” can be pulled up to accommodate guests. The Madeline Weinrib rug defines the work/dining space from the rest of the living room, and the bar cart makes entertaining from the table a breeze.
RIGHT: Ms. Whittaker was even able to carve out an entry in the tiny apartment behind the front door, using a petite demilune (similar) as a console. Osborne & Little’s Maharani wallpaper is a showstopper creating a wonderful first impression, while the bamboo mirror reflects light into the dark corner.

Ashley-Whittaker-800-sq-ft-NYC-Apartment-House-Beautiful-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJThe  clear acrylic coffee table (similar) appears to float in the middle of the room taking up little visual residency, and the pops of pink guide the eye throughout the room.

Ashley-Whittaker-800-sq-ft-NYC-Apartment-House-Beautiful-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ-quadrille-wallpaperAshley-Whittaker-800-sq-ft-NYC-Apartment-House-Beautiful-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ-white-ikea-drawers-d.-porthault-linensLEFT: Hanging the roman shade (or any window treatment for that matter) above the molding is a great design trick, bringing the eye up and making the window appear bigger than it actually is.
RIGHT: White Ikea dressers stand-in as nightstands providing additional storage, and D. Porthault Demoiselles linens add the perfect amount of luxury!

Ashley-Whittaker-800-sq-ft-NYC-Apartment-House-Beautiful-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ-rose-cumming-zebrine-wallpaper-whittaker-0713-xlnAnd how incredible is this kitchen?! White cabinets and light countertops always make the space appear bigger, while the Rose Cummings Zebrine wallpaper and birdcage chandelier (and similar here) add so much whimsy! I love how the designer used a countertop high breakfast table that can double as a workspace, and the stool can easily slide under the table when extra space is required.

Check out more tips for small space living here and here.

John Robshaw

John Robshaw is one of my favorite textile designers. His block print linens are of true craftsmanship – some printed by hand, an anomaly in today’s mass market –  and pricing for the laborious process follows suit. Therefore, I’ve only had the opportunity to use small doses of his lovely fabrics in my designs thus far (mostly in the form of pillows), but I would love to design an entire room upholstered in several of his patterns!

John-Robshaw-Apartment-Upholstered-Sofa-Chair-via-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignMr. Robshaw’s apartment was featured in Matchbook Magazine this month – those sofas are what my dreams are made of!

John-Robshaw-Apartment-Upholstered-Sofa-via-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignHis gallery wall is made up of art collected on his travels!

John-Robshaw-Apartment-Bedroom-via-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignI adore his use of print-on-print in his patterns, a true form of art!

So what’s your opinion? Do you like this pattern-on-pattern look for an entire room? Or would you prefer something a bit more scaled down – perhaps mis-matched pillows on a solid sofa?

Style Profile • Built-In Bunk Beds

BUILT-IN-BUNK-BEDS-VIA-DICORCIA-INTERIOR-DESIGNI’m in the process of helping one of best friends design a nursery for her newborn son. While he’s entirely too young right now, I think built-in bunk beds would be so much fun down the road!

My brother, sister and I would have had a blast playing in these when we were little! Heck, I’d have a blast playing in them now!

If you have angled ceilings and can’t go up, stack them horizontally – a great idea for dead attic space!

While this look could certainly be achieved by purchasing retail bunk beds, I really love the finished look of built-in’s. What are your thoughts? Love them, or way too permanent?

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Azulejo Tile

Azulejo-Tile-via-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignI love using bold color and pattern when designing bathrooms to create little jewel boxes. Statement wallpaper is a wonderful way to achieve the look, but when a bit more durability is required I adore using tile. A good friend recently turned me onto Azulejo tilework, a painted tin glazed ceramic synonymous in Portuguese architecture.

I am particularly fond of the blue and white geometric designs, and especially love when several patterns are mixed together in one arrangement.


Mr. and Mrs. G’s Riverbar designed by the amazingly talented Anna Spiro is one of my favorite examples of this – a modern interpretation on a classic that has been produced without interruption for over five centuries. Thoughts?

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Style Profile • Trays

1. Python Trays $50-$60 // 2. CB2 Format Tray $35.95 // 3. John Derian Notes Pencil Tray $92 4. Jayson Home Gold Athena Tray $45 // 5. West Elm Lacquer Tray $32
6. Furbish Paul Marrot Flower Tray $45 // 7. Serena & Lily Teal Pedestal Tray $98-$178
8. Hermes Rectangle Ashtray $830 // 9. West Elm Raffia Trays $29-$59
10. Pottery Barn Speakeasy Tray $49.50

Whenever I select accessories for a room 90% of the time there is some type of tray included. Beautiful as they are functional, trays have so many uses including a place to put your mail in your entry, acting as a bar in a small space, organizing perfume bottles or jewelry, grouping smaller items on a desk or coffee table reducing clutter, and  I love using several small ashtrays on a coffee table in lieu of coasters (I am always on the hunt for them in antique stores!).

Images 1 and 2


I recently started working with a new client designing their living room. The husband and wife radiate a cool-collected vibe as a couple, and also each bring their own distinctive eclectic taste to the table. My goal is to create a cozy and comfortable room that reflects this. Lucky for me, they have started a small collection of art varying in genres from their travels abroad to street vendors in Union Square. We decided to group together a few pieces that are currently scattered throughout their home, add a couple more items from Etsy and create a gallery wall in their living room.

I was going through my Artsy board on Pinterest last night gathering inspiration for the formation of the layout, and came across this image of Bettina Prentice’s Manhattan apartment posted in Vogue’s APT with LSD in April 2012. I had completely forgotten how much I admired the home, and wanted to share in case you hadn’t seen it. I really love how the art and furniture selection truly speaks to who the inhabitants are, opposed to so many other published homes that look like tear-outs from a catalog.

A few tips on amassing your own art collection:

  • Art doesn’t have to be expensive!!! There are so many affordable options out there – Etsy, local art shows and craft fairs are a great places to start. Plus you’re supporting local artists, something I think needs to happen more frequently! 
  • Display your children’s art work in real frames and hang them on the wall mixed with other pieces. You can switch out their creations as frequently as you like, and think of what a great boost of self-esteem it would be to see their own masterpieces hanging on the wall!
  • Buy what speaks to you, not what others say is “cool” or “a great investment”.
  • Always try to collect pieces when you travel to gradually create a layered vibe in your home, and as a consistent reminder of good times. Whether it’s a great antique lantern from a souk in Morocco or a few beautiful shells from a day-trip to the beach, art is what you decide it is!

5 affordable ways to brighten a dark space


Use reflective mediums to magnify the light you have. In addition to wall and floor mirrors, consider mirrored furniture, picture frames, boxes and sconces – candle sconces require no electrical wiring! If possible, try to place reflective surfaces parallel to a natural light source.


West Elm Faceted Mirror Side Table $199 // Ballard Atoll Mirror $199 
Target Mirrored Demilune Console $189.99 // Z Gallerie Mirrored Sconce $79.95


Houseplants have so many benefits: purifying the air, increasing oxygen and humidity levels and they add color and texture to a room! Use low-light varieties where natural light is limited, including: snake plants, philodendron, zeezee succulent, arrowhead vine, pothos, cast iron plant, dieffenbachia, peperomia and chinese evergreen.


Philodendron $16.98 // Snake Plant  $16.96 // Pothos $18.96


Referring back to my Small Space Living posts (here and here), lucite and glass furniture take up less visual residency making the room feel lighter.


Overstock Clear Acrylic Chairs $270.29 for 2 // Pottery Barn Tanner Console $399
CB2 Peekaboo Coffee Table $279


Floors: Paint floors with a quality deck paint containing polyurethane, or use light-colored area rugs.
Walls: Keep in mind dark walls tend to absorb light where bright-colored walls reflect it. In addition to color, lacquered walls bounce light beautifully and are usually best achieved by a professional (which can be costly). I used Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac Brilliant in a small bathroom recently and the results were very close to a true lacquer.
Ceilings: Choose a shade of white with a slight hint of light blue, green or yellow in a flat finish to warm up the room.


Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Solid Deck Paint $45
Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac Brilliant $35 // Farrow & Ball Cabbage White $39.50


Combine multiple lighting sources – table and floor lamps, ceiling pendents, sconces, etc. – to evenly distribute light throughout the room.


Ikea Maskros Pendant $49.99 // Pottery Barn Lotus Table Tamp $199 (on sale!) 
West Elm Branch Floor Lamp $399

What do you do to brighten a dark space? Any tips I need to know?

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Bachelor Pad

Gone are the days of lumpy black pleather sofas and monstrous media centers. Bachelor pads have gained their own status in the world of interior design, while still maintaining the techy-gadgets men love.

Nate Berkus has perfected balancing masculine, sleek and comfortable – the holy trinity for a man’s home – in his Chicago apartment and then again when he moved to NYC (exemplified above).

This apartment designed by Nicole Cohen has a mid-century edge that screams sexy! I love the emerald green sofa, fur throw, vintage lucite chairs and graffiti on the walls.

The key to creating a masculine space that’s not too cold or sterile is to layer textures. Note the mix of leather, concrete, faux-fur, lucite, natural wood, velvet, metals and wool in the storyboard I created below.

Jayson Home Faux Horns // Target Green Tortoise Shell // Jayson Home Chinnery White Horse
Restoration Hardware Kensington Sofa // Overstock Nova Tilt Arc Lamp // CB2 Element Coffee Table
West Elm Everett Armchair // Stone Textile Studio Tuxedo Pillow // West Elm Obmre Throw (on sale!)
CB2 Prime Media Console // West Elm Glass Bottles with Wood Stoppers // Whiskey Rocks
Crate & Barrel Libations Bar Cart // Ikea Stockholm Rand Rug

 Images: via

Small Space Living • Part 2

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I wanted to share sources for some of my favorite items that help capitalize on small space living. I limited myself to only posting six in each category (which was really difficult) and included a variety of styles and price ranges.

Ballard Design Hayes Round Tufted Ottoman // Crate&Barrel Roll Weave Storage Basket-Ottoman
Overstock Paris Beige Shoe Storage Ottoman // Ikea Kivik Footstool with Storage
Overstock Rose Reims Storage Ottoman // Ballard Nailhead Storage Ottoman

Pottery Barn Bradshaw Love Seat // John Derian Dromedary Loveseat
Ikea Ektorp Loveseat // Crate and Barrel Petri Apartment Sofa
Lee Industries Landau Devan Skirted Loveseat 3093-02 // Jayson Home Louise Sofette

Ikea Expedit Shelving Unit
// Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams Adam 3-Panel Screen
Wayborn Moderage Screen // Home Decorators Aztec Screen
World Market Hara Upholstered Screen // Ikea Stave Mirror

West Elm Jute Boucle Rug // Madeline Weinrib Blue Dragon Rug
Anthropologie Hand Embroidered Giverny Rug // Rugs USA Surya Archive ACH1700 Coral Rug
Ikea Stockholm Rand Rug // West Elm Andalusia Dhurrie

CB2 Peekaboo Clear Console // Wisteria Acrylic Table with Glass
Clayton Gray Home Lucite Bench with Rope Handles // CB2 Vapor Barstools
Philippe Starck Louis Ghost Chair // Ikea Tobias Chair


Z-Gallerie Omni Mirrored 5 Drawer Chest
// Wisteria Moorish Inlay Chest
Williams-Sonoma Hampstead Dresser // Bungalow 5 Brigitte White Dresser
Wisteria Black Bowfront Chest // Ikea Malm 4-Drawer Dresser

Small Space Living

Designing small spaces can be tricky. Practically every square inch needs to have a function (and in most cases at least 2 or 3). As I mentioned last week, the importance of developing a detailed floor plan for any room is essential and this especially rings true for smaller dwellings! However, regardless if you live in a 400 sq. ft. studio or a 10,000 sq. ft. palace, there are few of us who couldn’t use a “little more space”

Here’s what I use most frequently when aiming to capitalize on square footage:

Not only can it function as a coffee table, footrest and/or side table but the storage ottoman is perfect for stashing away shoes, extra throws, toys, Costco-size supplies of toilet paper and the perfect hiding place for your three year old!

From aparatment sofas to love seats, most sofa styles are available in several sizes. Buy what fits appropriately into your space. The last thing you want is your guests having to scale the side of your sofa to get a bite of Manchego off the coffee table! If you end up moving into a larger home down the road you can always pair your smaller sofa with a full size complementary style for a more layered look. Also consider the sofa-sleeper combo. It’s great for overnight guests in your current apartment living room, or future home office/ guest room.

Room dividers, rugs, headboards, dressers, desks and bookshelves all help establish different zones within your home. The power of arrangement is magical for small space dwellers! Strive to have distinct areas for sleeping, entertaining and personal hygiene.

Lucite furniture makes a room feel light and airy by taking up less visual realty. When selecting other items to accompany lucite always make sure to include a few traditional pieces to avoid an overly modern interior.

Dressers can be used for storing sweaters, staging as a media console, organizing bathroom products, or hosting keys, wallets and mail in your entry. This is an item to invest in. Craigslist, eBay and Etsy have affordable well-made options.

In addition:

-Sometimes it’s best to live in your home before you start any form of decorating or demolition to establish how it best functions for the way you live (this is good advise for city dwellers and country folk alike). For example, creating a sleeping zone or bedroom where rising sun shines brightly may not be a great solution for AM snoozers, but can be ideal for early morning meditators.

-Measure!!! – Everything multiple times! This includes hallways, staircases, service entries and elevators.

• Check back in tomorrow for links to my favorite furniture for small space living! •

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14